With the massive success of Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time, many avid fans have been asking the question, is Spyro next? So today, let’s say hypothetically, a new Spyro game is in the works. What should it be like and what direction should Activision take? Here are my thoughts!
Recapturing the Magic
Spyro is a beloved franchise with a dedicated fan base who have seen the rise and demise of their favourite purple dragon and as a result, they’re both enthusiastic and very cautious about its future. Toys for Bob struck gold with The Reignited Trilogy and managed to perfectly recapture the heart and soul of the original games, breathing new life into them without taking anything away. Going forward, I strongly believe that Toys for Bob are the perfect developer to develop the Spyro series as they have been working with the brand since 2011’s Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure and love it or hate it, those games garnered a huge audience and introduced a new generation of fans to the dragon.
Due to this and their success with Reignited and Crash 4, they have demonstrated that they are a talented studio with an awareness of what made the original games special. As outlined in The Art of Reignited book, they had to actively hold themselves back from going too overboard with ideas in their pursuit of maintaining that faithfulness to the original games. If Toys for Bob were given full reign on a brand new Spyro game in the style of Reignited, I strongly believe that they’d be able to maintain that level of quality and produce the best game we’ve had since the original trilogy.
Keeping it Simple
Back when they released, the original trilogy were pioneers in making the most of the limitations of the PlayStation hardware. They were some of the first games to be able to render in an entire world with no fog effects and still be able to see all the basic geometry of the world around you. Because of this, the worlds are compact: bite-sized but bursting with secrets and collectables so there’s always something to find. Yet due to their length and scope you can easily run through a level in 10-30 minutes (depending on your knowledge of the games) which makes for a very accessible pick-up-and-play experience.
In the modern age of gaming, developers seem to have the ideology that ‘bigger is better.’ But as we’ve seen with some of the Spyro sequels, too big can lead to plain and empty environments with little cause or reason to explore. I strongly believe that maintaining the small size with minor expansions is the way forward and if they wish to expand the scale of the worlds then proportionately more secrets only accessible via power-up or an alternative character (such as Sgt Byrd) would be the correct way to make the levels feel fuller and promote organic exploration from the player.