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Spyro the Dragon: Reignited Trilogy - November 13th, 2018 (PS4, Xbox One)

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I do hope they do their research and follow the Greatest Hits version of Spyro 3 when remaking it.

Buuut I wouldn't be against a fun little reference to it, like the Sorceress' Lair theme beginning with the first few notes of Sunrise Spring.

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1 hour ago, Ratcicle King said:

From what I've heard, it's from the PS3's PSOne Emulation, not the game itself. If you use a PSOne disc of the game, there's no slowdown.

That's slightly annoying. I do have Spyro 2 on disc, but I have no idea where it is, and it hasn't been a big worry because I had gotten all of the trilogy digitally a few years ago so I assumed that I could use that whenever I play it.

That's a bit annoying.

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2 hours ago, Ratcicle King said:

I do hope they do their research and follow the Greatest Hits version of Spyro 3 when remaking it.

Buuut I wouldn't be against a fun little reference to it, like the Sorceress' Lair theme beginning with the first few notes of Sunrise Spring.

This is an absolute must.

I remember back in the day I borrowed YotD from muh broseph and holy shit Evening Lake music... MMM MMM MMM das the good shit son.

Then I try to play the PSN download years later... And it's the shitty fucking not greatest hits edition that gives Evening Lake the fucking Sunrise Spring music

BULL
 

FUCKING

SHIT

Toys For Bob, right these wrongs forever

Tho sadly it sounds like the music is gonna be kinda worse which is lame, but for gods sake do a worse remake of the proper GOAT song

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I decided to put my differences with Carlos aside and play the original Spyro again ^^ I bought the PS3 version some time ago, but since ya'll saying that version is shitty, I don't see a problem in using the PSX emulator on my PC :)

Also, the emulator allows some anti-aliasing filters, so this game is looking gooood. Let's see how this go!

 

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Thought I'd post these Spyro 1 comparison screenshots I saw on a Gamespot article:

Artisan Homeworld:

3372362-spyro+reignited+trilogy_004_press+release.jpg

 

The infamous Treetops stage where you use the super-charge and have to time your jumps just right to get to the hard-to-reach platforms: 

Notice how the screenshot (on the left) does not have the green grass around Spyro which is in the screenshot on the right. 

3372363-spyro+reignited+trilogy_005.jpg

 

Artisan Homeworld:

3372364-spyro+reignited+trilogy_006.jpg

 

Treetops again, I think.

3372365-spyro+reignited+trilogy_007.jpg

I'm very impressed with just how much detailed the Reignited environments are. Looks so much better.

 

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I've played up to Ice Cavern in the Peacemakers home world, and I gotta say, the first Spyro is very modest compared to 2 and 3 especially. The first levels are reeeeeeaally short, yet still fun and engaging. They're not like a big slice of chocolate cake with strawberries and cream, but rather a little glass of chocolate pudding, which is still delicious, but not as much. It's like small doses of joy.

Anyways, this remake is doing WONDERS to the first game, and I can't wait to see 2 and 3.

Speaking of the remake, one thing I haven't seem anyone brough up yet, and I really hope Toys For Bob keep this intact, is the sparkle effect every gem has. It's a trick that the original developers used to help players see gems from any distance, even when they're not rendered at all, you can still see something shining indicating a gem from afar. And considering that now the grass isn't just a flat green texture, it will be pretty damn easy to miss gems in the tall grass, especially if you're without Sparx... C'mon TFB, don't fix what isn't broken.

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Now that the trailer's out, and I've watched it a couple of times (along with CrystalFissure's analysis of it), part of me feels like I should do a video on my issues with the visual direction. Not just what I originally said, but I'd also like to cover a couple of other things, such as:

1. The nature of Toys for Bob's intent (which is to faithfully recreate the games), and why this is presents a bit of a quandary given the vast changes.

2. The difference between remasters (which this is being advertised as) and remakes (what this actually is), and how that's important to understanding and acknowledging these changes.

3. The fact that since they're not the original developer, what they're presenting in the remakes as a recreation is actually more of a reinterpretation (e.g. the brighter, less depressing makeover they've given to what seems to be the Beast Makers world, which was originally inspired by Apocalypse Now of all things) of the source material, and why that matters.

4. The overly aggressive lighting and the new skyboxes being very literal and removing that abstract feeling that helped make the original levels so memorable or distinct.

But my question is: should I cover it? Or should I do so right now? We've only got one trailer and a bunch of screenshots, and I'm not sure whether it's the right idea to go critiquing the game when we know so little about it. At the same time, with the footage and screenshots they've put out with the announcement, this is them putting their best foot forward to show us what they can do, and I feel like it shouldn't just be blindly praised because of nostalgia or some other such feeling.

Again, I don't mind these changes out of principle, but I do want to be sure (or at least 75% sure) of what I'm doing. Can y'all let me know what you think? Thanks.

(Also, for those who didn't see my initial thoughts, they're in the spoiler below.)

Spoiler

This will be a bit of a long post, since there's a lot to get out, so bear with me on this.

For context, the original Spyro the Dragon trilogy ranks as one of my all time favourite game trilogies, damn near as much as the Mega Drive Sonic the Hedgehogs. I love how good the controls are, Stewart Copeland's music is one of the quintessential PS1 classics, and I especially love how simple, but beautiful the graphics are. It's still impressive after all this time how the games even run to begin with, considering that free-roaming 3D environments were impossible to do on the PS1 (at least, compared to something like the N64).

However, I've never been on here to discuss the PS4 remakes. This was for two reasons:

1. If they weren't outright confirmed, I didn't want to get involved in an eternal session of speculation where we'd keep taking guesses over random points of potentially meaningless evidence.

2. I have no interest in these remakes. Ignoring the fact that I already have all three games, so this wouldn't have meant much to me as is, I'm worried that these remakes will get things wrong. And I'm calling this, and the N-Sane Trilogy, a REMAKE - because that's what it is. It may be an attempt to faithfully recreate the originals by as close an approximation as possible, but that is a remake - making something from the ground up. The 2011 version of Sonic CD is a remake, since it is made within a new engine. Shadow of the Colossus on the PS4 is a remake, since the assets are brand new. And this new Spyro trilogy is a remake, since there will be changes made.

And that's what had me worried since the possibility of these was first brought up. That like the N-Sane Trilogy, the developer (presumably Toys for Bob, but I'll leave it blank for now) will try to create the closest equivalent to the original games as they can, and will therefore be off with a few things. I don't mind changes or deviations from the source material, but when it's attempting to be a very faithful remake of a certain game, they risk hitting an uncanny valley effect where it's close enough, but not close enough that I wouldn't be able to stop thinking about it.

I had no interest in discussing these remakes unless asked, but then I saw those screenshots. And we need to talk.

First off, the character models are pretty good. Spyro's a bit chunky at the front (reminds me a bit of a pregnant cat), but I think it works, and he's quite expressive. The enemy designs in Spyro 1 were not that game's strong point, so any change is already going to be an improvement. They look expressive, and could work quite well.

No, my problem is with the environments, and how unappealing they look. Yes, I said unappealing. They don't look bad, in the sense that they're well constructed approximations of the original level designs, but my problems stem from their use of aesthetics and colour.

For a start, they remind way, way too much of those fan remakes where someone takes a level from an old game, sticks it in a new engine, and leaves it at that. (Or they add details upon details upon details until the aesthetic is overly cluttered and busy.) There's so much focus put towards using all this new technology to add little details and cool effects that they don't realize how washed out the colour palette looks, or how its clean design has been utterly swamped in more miscellaneous details than Jim Lee's artwork. Yes, it can look impressive in a comparison to the original visuals, but that eventually fades into the back of your mind and becomes meaningless.

Secondly, the original games had a very strong consideration for colour theory in how it influenced the look of the levels, their mood, and the level design. Most famously, colour theory was used in making Spyro purple - he was originally green, but it blended in too well with the green hills of early levels, so Insomniac went through many different colours until they found one that stood out against any of the game's backdrops. Colour theory was very important in creating levels that had a particular feeling, while still having every element be easily identifiable to the player (which helps them to orient where everything is, and makes things less strenuous for players with impaired vision). And this isn't coming from someone with a very strong knowledge of colour theory: this was the subject of a Gamasutra feature written by the game's original artists back in 2000. This shit's been public knowledge for nearly 20 years!

But these screenshots imply a disregard for that colour theory, with the standard washed out colours, pale sunlight for no particular reason, lighting that blends levels in with the skyboxes, and the other aesthetic problems that plagued the N-Sane Trilogy. Again, when it's trying to be as faithful a remake as possible, the idea that the developer seems to be disregarding the use of colour theory that made the original games so visually appealing is just... bothersome. Like, there's more to faithfully recreating a game than just getting the gameplay right, you know? If you're not going to do the visuals justice, or you replace the iconic soundtrack with a meaningless wall of noise, or you ignore the pacing and mood that made the original so distinct (to name but a few of the countless things that go into remaking a game) - then why bother?

Why not do something different; something new that you can call your own without forcing people to make comparisons? These decisions don't have to be bad (and sometimes aren't; the Magic Crafters world looks quite good), but these are decisions that should be held under greater scrutiny if the intent is to recreate something to the best of one's ability. I know there's not much that can be done about this - this looks quite far along, and I'm not aware enough of game development to know how long it would take to adjust the environments until they were a PS4 equivalent of what the originals' simple and clean designs, so there might not be enough time to do that. And with how pleased people are as to how the game looks (which, like the N-Sane Trilogy, I'd chalk up to the excitement of an old franchise coming back being a strong influence), I doubt the developer will feel much incentive to bother.

I hate that this bothers me so much (particularly since I'm doing that whole "complain about a game that's not out yet" thing that I once criticized - in a shitty video I made back when Skylanders was first announced, to boot!). But I just feel like these visuals could be so much better than they are, especially when this will be the definitive (or most easily accessible) way to play the original games for quite some time. I hope the remakes are good, but this combined with my prior lack of interest has just got me as turned off as I possibly could be.

 

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Tree Tops looks a bit underwhelming to me, largely because the dark skybox has been replaced by something... lighter. I dunno, we'll see how it plays at release, but I liked the darker feel.

What of Misty Bog? I'm sure I caught a glimpse of it in the trailer.

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The trilogy itself looks really good to me, as I never played any Spyro prior to Year of the Dragon's release. So I'm not complaining at least it's Spyro. Just like Crash I'm not complaining because of fur textures. Is it just me or does Reignited Spyro feel more natural compared to A Hero's Tail Spyro or Legend Spyro?

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WAAAAAAAAA! Yay, he's good! Damn, Toys for Bob is showing that they really did tried to get as many of the original trilogy VA as possible, unlike Vicarious Visions that just went with the new voice actors. I wonder if TfB tried to contact Stewart Copeland by any chance?? 

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Yeah, that part we know, but maybe they gave him at least a call, since it seems that TfB is really dedicated to bring as much of the "old people" as possible (obviously they can't bring programmers and artists, but VAs and composers isn't anything out of this world). Anyways... I wonder if Copeland is on a tour or asked too much to return? 

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Nah Toys for Bob got lucky.

Check the imdbs of the contacted actors so far, they all got previous work with Activision, some on Skylanders even. TFB is managing to get them because they're already well known contacts with Activision. Meanwhile, most of the original voice cast for Crash is either too huge now(Clancy Brown) or not on Activision's main list.

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Just now, Operationgamer17 said:

And yet he tweeted his own page, mentioning being questioned recently about a certain project, lo and behold, the first game in his IMDB is Spyro Reignited Trilogy. 

It's not even an implication, it's a flat out statement.

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13 hours ago, Jango said:

WAAAAAAAAA! Yay, he's good! Damn, Toys for Bob is showing that they really did tried to get as many of the original trilogy VA as possible, unlike Vicarious Visions that just went with the new voice actors. I wonder if TfB tried to contact Stewart Copeland by any chance?? 

I suppose the justification there might be that the Crash cast went through enough consistent voice changes for one to be considered a contemporary cast. Jess Harnell voiced Spyro and Hunter for ONE game, while he voiced Crash for the entire Radical series plus Skylanders. I see a lot more people recognising Debi Derryberry's voice for Coco than Vicky Winters as well. The two most recognisable original voices were Brendan O Brien (Crash and half the baddies) and Clancy Brown (Cortex and Uka Uka), who I heard couldn't be contacted.

It helps most of the Spyro characters disappeared from the series halfway in due to reboots so many of the cast didn't even get a different actor. Though Hunter and Ripto's original voice is quite relieving to know. If they get Andre Soqliuzzo (Sparx) and Pamela Hayden (Bianca) alongside this I'll be quite happy.

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