If you missed the news a few months ago, the original Spyro the Dragon trilogy is getting a remastered release the same way the equally popular Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy did. Given the raging success of the latter, it makes sense that other popular games would follow suit.
We got to give the new remaster a whirl at E3 last week and apart from the obvious graphical upgrades, the game feels just as fun as the original. According to Toys for Bob co-studio head, Paul Yan, the team took a very similar approach to Crash’s remaster studio, Vicarious Visions.
“When we were younger playing these games, our imagination filled in a lot of the details,” Yan said. “So getting back to that richness and putting in the individual blades of grass where [originally] it was just a flat surface and a painted on texture, now actually rendering it and making it interactive, having it burn when Spyro does his flame breath, even fleshing out the rest of the background so that you actually get a richness to the world that was never actually there.”
And it’s those details that bring the game into the modern age. Essentially, the world interactivity present in the games of today has been implemented into a classic childhood game. That being said, it’s still important to strike a balance between additional features and maintaining accuracy to the originals.
“We have to have accuracy as well, it can’t just be about the aesthetic feels,” senior producer, Peter Kavic, said. “If you hit the jump button, it has to feel right, it has to feel like how you remember it. So the challenge we faced was, we didn’t have the data from the original game to make it from, so it wasn’t taking and polishing some existing assets, we had to start from scratch.”
To ensure they got it right, the Toys for Bob engineers made a tool called Spyroscope with the help of emulators which was used as a benchmark for precision in things like jumping or height in ledges and steps. It even helped to identify the correct colour of certain gems and enemy placement around the world.
“Those are the little details that really go far to make this feel like the loving remaster we’re trying to bring to fans,” Kavic said.
To allay any concerns you might have, it all feels exactly how I remembered it being back in the day, only way prettier. The controls are almost identical, but with added modern touches, like being able to control the camera position with the left control stick.
Current gen technology also allowed the team to add more life and backstory to the dragons you rescue around the world, such as adding that character’s own artistic flare to the world in which it resides. Little tweaks to the game’s audio will also enhance the experience.
“First off is music: just standing here and letting it sit, the music will dip down a little bit, so this happens as well when you’re inside caves or castles, you’ll get a little bit more echo, a little bit more ambiance, just to make it dynamic,” Yan said.
“If you go to a boss fight, you’re gonna hear extra instrumentation come in and it’ll get a little bit louder, so you just get the feel of the intensity building up around you. Even as Spyro charges, we layer in a little bit of percussion and bongo, just so that it doubles up the tempo and you get that sonic feedback of speed.”
Amazingly, they even got the most popular voice of Spyro back to re-voice the entire trilogy.
“So Spyro himself is voiced by Tom Kenny, and Tom Kenny did Spyro 2 and 3, we brought him back to re-record for all three, he’s clearly the fan favourite and it was really great that we could connect with him and have him revisit Spyro,” Yan said.
And you can expect animated film-quality performances from Spyro thanks to his increased geometry, which is 100 times more detailed as he was originally. Most of this is in his face, giving him a wider range of expressions.
If you were a fan of Crash’s N. Sane Trilogy and also loved the Spyro games, you’re gonna have a great time with the Spyro: Reignited Trilogy, folks. It’ll be released on September 21st for both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.