Reigniting Spyro: How Toys For Bob Remade a Legend

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Reigniting Spyro: How Toys For Bob Remade a Legend

In honor of Spyro Reignited Trilogy’s PS4 launch November 13, Toys For Bob shares an inside look at the remake's development.

The team at Toys For Bob has been thrilled and honored to be able to play our part in the Spyro universe, and we can’t wait to share Spyro Reignited Trilogy with the world when it launches on PS4 November 13. Since the launch is just around the corner, we thought it would be fun to give you some perspective from team members here about their experiences working on these beloved games.

Peter Kavic (Senior Producer)

What has been your favorite part of bringing the first three Spyro games back to life in the Reignited Trilogy?

Peter: For me, it’s probably the degree of inspiration and passion this game brought out in the team and the fans!

When you get to go into a discussion with the team, for instance, that ‘enemy X in level Y should be reacting sassy, but cautiously, because A, B, and C is going on with other enemies and NPCs in the level’… you’re transported to this place of creative depth and problem solving.

In instances like these, the team was able to rely on their experiences with the original games to infuse additional humor and help make the world feel more lived-in. Add to that the stories of how Spyro and his adventures have meant so much to so many people over the years… people doing some amazing fan art, getting tattoos, and sharing opinions so we can make the experience feel as accurate as possible.

On a personal level, that all was fuel to make thoughtful decisions and keep the player experience at the forefront – that’s easily my favorite part.

What do you think the fans will be most surprised about when they get their hands on the Reignited Trilogy on November 13?

Peter: It’s gotta be that pang of fond memories – it’s profound! There’s a reason these games are so beloved, and having them fully scaled up on today’s consoles just makes it clear that the Reignited Trilogy is a really memorable experience.

Spyro Reignited Trilogy

Stephan Vankov (Music Remixer)

How did you approach bringing the soundtrack of the original Spyro games back for the Reignited Trilogy?

Stephan: The original Spyro trilogy holds a special place in people’s hearts, and a large part of that is due to Stewart Copeland’s memorable, bold, and innovative soundtrack. We felt a great responsibility in making sure we shepherd his amazing music into a new generation with care and respect in the Spyro Reignited Trilogy. So, setting out on the Reignited Trilogy, we had an interesting challenge on our hands – how do we give players a new way of experiencing the themes they love so much, while staying true to the original music’s intention and style which gave the franchise so much color and vibrancy.

What was the process to make sure you achieved this?

Stephan: To create the “reignited” music, we reconstructed all 120+ themes from the original trilogy, transcribing each piece note-by-note. This gave us the flexibility to update some of the instrumentation and also gave us access to individual instrument parts for use in our dynamic music system, which allowed us to add a whole new dimension to the music experience. Our goal during the production process was to stay faithful to the energy, feel, and instrumentation which gave the original music its distinct flavor, such that without a direct A/B comparison most fans wouldn’t immediately recognize that it’s been touched.

We met with Stewart several times throughout the project to share progress, and we think we even managed to trick his ears on a couple of tracks! In general, our mantra was “how would Stewart make this music sound, were he composing it with today’s tools?” In most cases, we strictly used the original music as goal-posts, constantly switching back and forth to make sure our rendition was capturing the essence of the composition accurately.

In cases where appropriate, we referenced the awesome level art that our team was creating to see if we could gently nudge the composition in a direction that would better match the aesthetic of the remastered levels.

Exclusive clip from the Frozen Altars realm in the Spyro Reignited Trilogy, showcasing the remastered soundtrack

What was it like working with such a beloved soundtrack, and getting feedback from such an iconic musician as Stewart Copeland?

Stephan: Working with Stewart Copeland throughout the project was an amazing experience. He’s such an approachable, fun guy, and his enthusiasm is infectious. This energy permeates the music he has created for the original Spyro trilogy and we wanted to make sure that our work accurately captured this spirit.

So, we met with him several times throughout the project to share progress and get his feedback. We also showed him what we were doing with dynamic music and were happy to find out that there were discussions about having dynamic music in the original games but they were unable to achieve it at the time due to technical limitations.

We’re honored to bring such an iconic soundtrack into a new generation, and we think fans too will appreciate the love and care that’s been poured into the Spyro Reignited Trilogy music experience.

Jan Stec (Senior Technical Designer), Russell Vaccaro (Senior UI Artist):

Why do you think fans connect so much with these games, and particularly, with the Spyro character?

Russell: Players really like that Spyro is an underdog, he is a small dragon that is taking on the world. For me, playing Spyro makes me feel like when I was younger, fun, carefree and courageous. There’s something timeless about a journey like that!

Jan: I think it comes down to creating lasting memories. Character-based games create deep connections between players and protagonists, because we’re bringing those characters to life as we play. Spyro in particular is super playful and fun to move around, and I think those feelings of happy muscle memories are really sticky, even 20 years later.

When fans saw the announcement for the Reignited Trilogy, all those feelings came back, and though we each experienced the original games in our own way, we’re all bound by the same happiness. When I’m walking around with a Spyro shirt on, I’ll get excited comments from complete strangers from all walks of life. We don’t know anything about each other, except that we share the same happy memories. Isn’t that wonderful?

Spyro Reignited Trilogy

Above all, what is the one thing that you hope the fans take away from the Reignited Trilogy?

Russell: I hope people feel like we were honoring the original games, because we loved these games, too.

I got to work on a game that inspired me when I was younger and hope we did its justice for today’s audience. If I had to boil it down, the details that we wanted to fold in, like the minimap across the three games or the different color theming between the titles, that you can see on the game select screen… little touches like that were our way of adding life. It felt like we got to restore a treasure of the past.

Jan: We hope both returning fans and newcomers feel the same magic and sense of wonder we all felt 20 years ago when we first played Spyro The Dragon, through the amount of love, passion, and attention to detail that we put into bringing him back to life. It really mattered to us that this was done the best possible way, because we’re huge Spyro fans as well!

On a personal note, I hope fans enjoy how Spyro controls in the game. When reimagining Spyro’s controls, our goal was to design them in a way that felt familiar, yet fresh and modern.

In addition to nailing details like how high he jumps or how fast he runs, there was a lot of art, math, and magic put into modernizing how the player interacts with Spyro, and how Spyro interacts with the world. Some things will obviously change in a remake, but the magic stays the same!

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  • Looks like lots of fun. Too bad only the first game will actually be on the disc though.

  • Spyro was my favorite series as a kid. I used to play through them over and over again. They were the first games I ever 100% completed. I pre-ordered this collection the second I could and I’m taking a day off just to relax and enjoy them all over again. Spyro has been my avatar and theme for months now and I have so much anticipation to play them again. I lost my original PlayStation and all my games for it in a flood 7 years ago and I’ve been dreaming of the chance to play Spyro again ever since. Thanks Toys For Bob for remastering these games and putting real effort and care into them. They look absolutely fantastic and I’ll be making sure to get a platinum trophy in each one.

  • I can’t wait to play this trilogy… when it’s either all on the disc or $20. You have literally no excuse not to do this. Red Dead Redemption 2 did it. The Bioshock Collection has its games on multiple discs.

    Hell, with the Crash Trilogy you reprinted it and put all the DLC on the disc. There is no reason why the Spyro trilogy shouldn’t be released this way. I’ll be waiting next year to play this.

    • Lol this game is only 28 sterling at in Europe which works out at around 33 euro. Isn’t it around 30 dollars in the US. So you want to destroy the chances of Spyro’s future because of 10 bucks?

      Here are some eye opening reasons why it isn’t all on one Bluray disc.
      1. Stop treating this like it’s an actual PS1 game, it’s a remake built from the ground up for current gen consoles.

      2. Activision messed up by making the game so cheap at its reveal and pre-order commencement. Do you want it to be full price instead? Pick your poison with that one although CLEARLY the price is very important to your from your comment and you wouldn’t have touched it at full price if 30 bucks is grinding your gears. And please don’t compare the situation to a game that is literally going to make 100 times more money at least over little Spyro. You are damn right Rockstar better have put that on 2 Blurays with the amount they were going to be making on the game.

    • 3. It’s on Unreal Engine 4 because it was the best the Dev could go with for easy simultaneous multiplatform development. This engine is a hog for storage usage. Why is Tekken 7 and Soul Calibur VI, 2 current gen games that look like last gen games, clocking in at 50gbs each on a disc? Tekken 7 doesn’t even have full CG cutscenes for every characters ending this time and it’s still a hog. Now compare that to Spyro that has ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY LEVELS that all look completely different. I think they said there are 400 enemies across all the games too. Crash by comparison has about 6 or 7 levels in each game that get reused with different layouts and routes.

      Please consider buying this game at launch and helping any future Spyro games like a brand new Spyro 4. I HATE downloading anything and have never bought a full retail developed game digitally before and wouldn’t buy one unless it was less than 5 quid. And it’s not “sending a message” to Activision that this “practice” is okay, it just happened this way, it wasn’t meticulously planned like I pointed out above.

    • 1. So was Crash.

      2. Okay and? That’s not my problem. You CLEARLY missed my point on why I’m buying it at $20 so let me fill you in. Only one of those games is on disc. ONE. And stop it with the “It would be $60 if it was multiple discs” argument. The Mega Man X Collection launched on multiple discs at $40. It being a remake won’t make it $60. This is a tired argument. BTW the game at launch is $40 not $30. FYI I bought Crash at launch which was also $40, but that was worth supporting at launch. And yes I CAN compare it to RDR2. R* didn’t have to add the second disc. They could’ve forced everyone to download the rest of the game digitally, because they knew people would run out to buy the game regardless, but they didn’t go that far.

      3. You act like I don’t know how UE4 works. I know EXACTLY how it works and what it is capable of. Yes it allows for fast accessible development. Yes it’s a resource hog. These things have been known for years now. Again, an engine is not an excuse not to have the entire series on disc. They delayed the games only to STILL not have them on disc.

    • Sorry but I refuse to support a terrible practice like this. Ever heard the saying “do it right the first time or don’t do it at all?” Let me repeat they DELAYED this and STILL didn’t put this on disc. We voiced our concern about this MONTHS ago. I would rather have another delay than to buy a part of a game on disc. It makes no sense. I want to support Spyro but Activision would rather rush out these games than honor the wishes of their consumers. I will support the Spyro trilogy when they do right by the gamers FIRST.

  • My favorite thing about the new Spyro collection is how much discussion about the inability to put all the games on a disc without a day one download. My second favorite thing is how everyone at Activision and Toys for Bob ignores this. /s

    • I know right? 400 character models for protagonists and enemies, 120 completely unique levels and textures and the lot.

      Then we get Tekken 7 on the same game engine, looks like a last gen game barely better looking than Tekken Tag 2, has about 15 stages that are tiny enclosed restricted areas, only 30 characters and then for some REASON, the game manages to take up 50gbs on a Bluray disc.

      I’m actually more concerned that nobody is talking about THIS.

  • wasn’t “all games on the disc” the reason for the game’s delay?

    • That’s what I thought, too. But it really doesn’t matter to me, as I buy all my games digitally, so I just got screwed over on the release date thanks to the physical version.

    • Yes, now instead of 2 and 3 not being on the discs at all, they are mostly on the disc.

  • LOL at people who are actually skipping this incredible game because of disc BS. If you want to be stupid and skip it fine, go ahead. Your loss, not ours. Just don’t try to sit there all high and mighty and act superior, just because you “think” you know why they didn’t include all games on the disc. No one knows but them, not I, not you, not your grandma, ONLY THE DEVS. Just getting tired of all the fuss over a 20 year old game, that I add may not come back ever again if this game doesn’t sell well.

    • Technically it is our loss though as there certainly won’t be a Spyro 4 if it doesn’t sell well. Luckily the price is very attractive so even the casuals won’t mind an automatic update for 2 and 3 while they play the first game.

    • We already got Spyro 4 in the early 2000s. Anyone remember Spyro: Enter the Deagonfly? The first non-Insomniac developed Spyro game that also had Stewart Copeland as a composer.

  • No purchase unless all three games are on the disc. All three games on the disc, no exceptions.

    • Wow, some people don’t deserve to have such games. I get wanting to have all three games on the disc, but boycotting this fabulous work they’ve done just because of this is just sad. This whole thing has been blown out of proportion, and for the sake of Spyro, buy this gem for the budget price you’re asked.

  • The amount of salt about the download issue is unbelievable. Stop being so immature and support the devs if you like their work.

  • Honest question: why do y’all care about the games being on the disc? I see anger over it, but no reason why it’s important. It still takes up just as much space whether it’s on the disc or not. As someone who quit buying discs as soon as they could during the PS3 era I’m honestly just confused as to why a few people are making so much noise over this.

    If it was the Switch and the cart only had one game with the others downloaded to on-Switch storage, I’d get it, but the PS4 installs everything from the get-go so… Why?

  • Stop the ranting please its Childish Be happy hes Back From the dead with a burning heart. If not please suck on a pacifier so we don’t have to here you rants and complaints! comment to me if you agree? so these ranters and complainers can rant and be childish somewhere else Please and Tank you!

    This is for the ranters when I was yung my Grandma got me a very special gift on Christmas and ya it was a Dragon Onesie Pajama siut I know I kind of had the reason to feel a bit old. I told her that I didn’t like it. my dad Grabbed me by the sholder and Took me in a nother room and watched me take off all my cloths with only my underwear on and told me to go out side so I could respect the things are given to me and this is what it feels like to be with out anything I stood Out there for 10minutes it was Cold. I learned my lesson that day! And even still wear the Dragon Onesie and am glad she didn’t trade it in because I live in montana now and right now its cold :)

  • I don’t know. I bought the X Collection on Switch for the portability even though the last 4 games had to be downloaded. But with every game needing to be installed on PS4, everyone who has a decent size collection needed to buy an additional external drive. So, sure, it takes the same amount of space. But most people like the option to trade physical games, whether to trade with friends or sell/ trade it for a new game after they’ve played through it. I know I’ve regretted downloading certain games that I wish I could have traded for another. At least the PS Store often has good sales/ bonuses for digital titles if you go that route.

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