The Art of the Spyro Reignited Trilogy

During my time at the Toys for Bob studio, I had the pleasure of speaking with several members of the team behind the Spyro Reignited Trilogy. Throughout the week I am going to be posting different articles covering different aspects of the game and things that I learned while out there.

Today I am covering the art direction the team took for Spyro. Josh Nadelberg is the Art Director on the Spyro Reignited Trilogy, and he showed us concept art, how the dragons are brought to life and gave us a glimpse behind the curtain at how something like this is made.

The biggest takeaway I got from not only Josh, but everyone else as well, is that Spyro Reignited is a game made for the fans of the series, by the fans of the series. Every person working on this game is a Spyro fan, and they all want the game to be perfect. Josh and his team took the original intent and designs and turned them into the full realizations of what they wanted to be 20 years ago. Every one of the 80+ Dragons is 100% unique, each of them has their own depth and character, regardless of how much screen time they may receive.

The art team wanted each one to look like their personality while sticking again to that original intent. I will circle back to intent a lot in all of these articles because that is what the Spyro Reignited Trilogy is built on. Executing on the original intent of the developers 20 years ago and capitalizing on areas that were lacking due to hardware constraints at the time.

Not only are all of the dragons unique, but each enemy and each interactive character is also unique. Josh specifically spoke about the Gem Thief. He said in their minds, the Gem Thief is a sneak, someone creeping through trying to steal the gems and stay hidden, so his character model reflects that now. Each enemy, even within their type, is a unique character with depth and purpose in their design. The character of Spyro and his dragon buddies are just part of the whole picture, with the enemies and the environment design playing another huge role. The focus on getting all of that right goes to show the dedication and understanding these folks have of the game.

Every little detail has been combed over looking for ways to improve the feel of the game. Loading screens in between areas could have simply been screenshots, or something static, but Toys for Bob decided to show Spyro flying from point A to point B, while giving the player the control to fly him up and down and side to side. It is a small feature, but one that really added something more to the loading screens. Spyro has AFK animations as well. If you leave him to stand alone without moving the controller for a bit, he will move, scratch like a cat or even sneeze and burn all the grass around him away. This adds more character to Spyro and is yet another feature that could have been easily left out, but was added and truly adds something to the Reignited Trilogy.

Every one of the characters and environments has been built from the ground up, working off of rewatching and playing the original trilogy. These are not upscaled textures and environments with new paint, these are completely faithful recreations designed after the originals. Josh and his team have done an outstanding job of taking what could have been a simple remaster and elevating it to something much higher.