The purple dragon turned 25 years old this month – a fitting time for the developers to look back.
The first “Spyro” spin-off was released in North America on September 9, 1998. Over the years, the purple dragon has developed into an iconic video game character that almost every gamer should know.
In keeping with the recent anniversary, Insomniac Games and Toys for Bob are looking back at the platformer series. The former studio invented the series, while the latter developed the Spyro Reignited Trilogy.
At the time, Insomniac was just releasing its first studio game, “Disruptor.” The developers then thought about what could happen next. Mark Cerny, now known as the lead system architect of the PS4 and PS5, pointed out the PlayStation’s weak family segment. Therefore, Insomniac decided to produce a corresponding game.
At the time, developer Craig Stitt expressed his idea of making “a game with a dragon”. And that’s exactly what Insomniac did.
Insomniac learned a lot through development
An easy development was not in store for the team at that time. After all, 3D platformers were a relatively new genre back then, which came with many challenges. Two of them: Enabling quick movement without making the player sick. They also had to create intuitive controls without an analog stick.
Hastings explains: “Many of the lessons we learned from developing the first Spyro the Dragon trilogy influenced later Insomniac titles. And certain aspects of the original level design are still reflected in Insomniac’s approach to exploring game worlds today.”
Today, most people know Spyro the Dragon as a PS1 classic. However, the game was not an immediate success. Ultimately, however, the risk of creating a new franchise was worth it. Because the little dragon became more and more popular among PlayStation players over time. As a result, two sequels were later released.
How does President Ted Price explain the success? Thanks to the simple controls, fun and varied gameplay and the successful level design. In addition, as with “Crash Bandicoot”, all age groups were addressed.
Much praise for Toys for Bob
Many years later, the Activision studio Toys for Bob started a remaster trilogy. It was important to the co-studio head to do justice to the original trilogy. However, the optics turned out to be a big challenge. It was difficult to recreate the charm and personality of the heroes.
The development team exchanged ideas with Insomniac to better understand the design. This meant that the usual “Spyro” feeling could be retained despite modernization. Hastings praises Toys for Bob for this and describes the graphics as “simply outstanding.” John Fiorito also sees it that way, saying there was “no better team” for the new edition.
The sales of the remaster trilogy speak for themselves. Just earlier this month we reported on the latest sales milestone.
Towards the end of Anniversary contribution Ted Price briefly addressed the fans: “To all the players who have been with Spyro since day one, and to all the new fans who are experiencing his adventures for the first time: Thank you for making Spyro so magical over the last 25 years !”
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