The BEST Spyro the Dragon Character Design?


Hi everyone. So I have thought long and hard about how
I could potentially beat that intro from last time. I’ve considered so many things, I’ve considered
burning myself with a open flame, I’ve considered using a deodorant can as a flame thrower,
I’ve considered running through more cardboard boxes for your own viewing pleasure I’m just gonna accept it, I can’t. So
here is something completely different, this week we’re looking at Spyro. Spyro the Dragon is another one of those characters that I adored as a child, but for some reason never ended up spending much time with. It
was one of those games I’d watch a friend play rather than playing through myself, young
me really enjoyed a live action let’s play. But regardless, the Spyro games always stood
out to me and the character definitely burned a memorable hole in my heart. As I aged and
went through game shops over the years I’d always make sure to look at the characters
games to see what was occurring, never paying too much attention, but always noticing slight
differences if they did arise. Like all other good 3D Platformers, Spyros
main strength was that of his strong character design, and this was carefully developed.
However, initial sketches of the character were not what I expected, they were much more
fitting of what you might expect from a cartoon inspired traditional dragon. Many of these
designs were bulkier and frankly, uglier than what the finished concept would end up as.
Spyro was intended to be as a mascot that would appeal to all with a bratty character
to boot but these traditional dragons that stood on two legs didn’t emphasise these
traits quite enough at this early stage. At one point the character was a green Dragon
named Pete, how original. Disney says hello, here is my cease and desist. Can you imagine
if this had happened? Disney would have come after them quicker than they took down gifs
of Baby Yo–. *Dramatic Pause* Thankfully the team saw sense and developed
a character that was visually more appealing and far more unique. Purple scales were decided upon as many of
the locales would be lush and green. As similarly mentioned with Crash Bandicoot, it was essential
that this character was visible against the games environments. Speaking of Crash, him
and Spyro do seem to share quite a lot of similar traits and historical moments, they
both tried to establish themselves as the PlayStation mascot, they both struggled after
they left the platform and they both have had triumphant hoorahs in the modern day.
Given their history, I may bring up Crash a few times in this video too, it just feels
right. Is that a good enough excuse to reuse this clip again? Also, just like the last episode, I’ve got
another Tubbz figurine to give away! Thanks to all who entered for the Crash Bandicoot
duck last time around, but this time I have a Spyro up for grabs. Yet again, a big thanks
to Numskull designs for providing this figurine, which is layered with little details that
make this feel like a very authentic recreation of the little Dragon. If you’d like to enter,
head on over to my twitter for full details. As always, we’ll go through a ton of designs
today, so let me know what you think in the comments section below. I’m the Artist Mark Flynn and let’s find
out which Spyro design I think truly is best. Please like and subscribe to the channel if
you’d like to help me on my quest for 20,000 subscribers, we edge a little bit closer each
day! Spyro soared onto the PlayStation in 1998,
and then again in 1999 and 2000 with three 3D platform games that would position him
as a memorable platforming staple of this era. Of course, this game established his key features
and the promotional artwork used a 3D render of Spyro to highlight his stand out character
traits. Among these were: his previously mentioned purple skin and scales which were complimented
by his striped yellow underbelly, hair, I think it’s hair, horns and bat like wing
span. He was yet again a character with fierce brow definition protruding from his perfectly
round head (Karl Pilkington is that you?) but he had just enough stocky cuteness to
make you not feel guilty about burning these poor innocent sheep. I love this initial design
for Spyro, he looked confident and smug from the get go on this box art and his character
really shines through. In a classic case of these PS1 games not aging
quite as well as they could. The game itself shows off a blocky and somewhat cruder version
of this render with Spyros character model. For the time, this was a massively impressive
3D platforming feat, and it’s certainly not without its charm. Spyro still included
some impressive features and textures, though a majority of his shapes were made up of lines
and polygons as opposed to his smooth box art. Similar to Crash Bandicoot’s 2nd and 3rd
iterations on the same console. Spyro would go through similar subtle improvements in
the follow up PS1 titles, with his character model becoming ever so slightly more developed.
While these aren’t massively noticeable, the improvements to his wings can be clearly
seen, as these now move away from the angular shapes in the original and closer resemble
the bat like wing span from his art work. While graphically these games haven’t aged
the nicest, especially when you compare the cutscenes to a game like Crash, Spyro was
off to an instant hot-fire start and the character launched a very successful series with a very
strong initial design… Little did we know just how much we’d be seeing of this character
in this iteration. Funnily enough, again similar to that orange
bandicoot. Spyro received an overhaul for the games release in Japan. There’s a crazy
amount of parallels here. Whilst retaining a look very similar to the
3D render across the rest of the world. Japanese Spyro was much cuter, all of his angular shapes
were smoothed out and rounded and he looked much more like a baby dragon than an edgy
teen. The series actually didn’t do too great
in Japan and they didn’t take to this character, Spyro 2 released to relatively apathetic audiences
and 3 didn’t even release. A mainline entry in the series wouldn’t come to japan until
2019. This time without changes. The only other Spyro games to release in japan
were on the Gameboy advance, and wow, they used a heavily modified version of Spyro who
used a completely different design. I had no idea about this one. This retains some
of his traits like the belly tail and horns, but complete changes up his tone, it now looks
more like a shade of blue which is offset against a bold orange and Spyro even appears
to have longer fringe like hair. So trendy. We’ll talk more about the GameBoy Advance
later on but this is a really cool detour for the Spyro design. Across his entry into the next generation
of platforms, Spyro didn’t change up much, taking his classic design onto the PlayStation
2 and GameCube. This started with 2002’s Enter the Dragonfly which presented the same
old Spyro, with matching artwork and a much-improved character model. This time around the details of the Dragon
were much clearer, and the new graphical capabilities of the consoles lent themselves well to this
design. Spyro was much smoother than before and everything looked much more appealing
than the previous generation. In 2004, A Hero’s Tail continued the series
and made a few tweaks to the design for once! This model was more expressive and stylised,
with an even stockier body… Look at the cute chonky boi. No update came for the games
Artwork however, which maintained the same style yet again, though the use of it on box
art had become slightly more creative at least! Between 2001 and 2004 four Spyro titles would
release for the Game Boy Advance; 2001’s Season of Ice, 2002’s Season of Flame, 2003’s
Attack of the Rhynocs (also known as Adventure in some regions for accuracies sake) and Orange:
The Cortex Conspiracy, a partner title to Crash Bandicoot Purple as mentioned in the
previous episode. OK, I promise to stop mentioning Crash now. The initial three titles were similar to Crash’s
first entries on the same platform. God damnit. These titles were isometric platform collectathons
that emulated the style of the original PlayStation trilogy somewhat with a 2D sprite that did
it’s best to look 3-dimensional. Season of Ice and Season of Flame use the exact same
sprite, with Attack of the Rhynoc’s using a very similar repurposed sprite too. As much as I love the classic pixel art style
Spyro from the cutscene dialogue boxes, this Spyro works best on the GBA for me. Spyro Orange was the first title to use a
different sprite and due to the side scrolling 2D nature of the title, I guess the isometric
Spyro just wasn’t able to be repurposed this time around! I must say it has actually
been very interesting seeing how commonly models and sprites have been repurposed in
classic games like these given the recent Pokémon drama. This Spyro still used a pseudo
3D style sprite, a look perhaps best established in Donkey Kong Country. But I don’t think
this game necessarily pulls it off too well. It’s clearly Spyro you’re playing as,
but it’s a bit of a hideous title if I’m completely honest. As is tradition, across all of the Gameboy
titles Spyro used the same classic render. By the end of 2004, Spyro had used this style
of render for a solid half a decade! That’ artist got his money’s worth. It’s a testament
to how well this initial design had been received, but also demonstrated a clear apprehension
or refusal to update the character in a meaningful way. Purple would be the last appearance of
the character in this style… Outside of a few mobile titles that reused the GBA graphics
of course. Interest in the character had begun to dwindle
by this time and it was clear the character needed some updating by this point, but it
wasn’t coming just yet. The next release, Shadow Legacy came to the
Nintendo DS in 2005. For the first time, the Spyro on this box art wasn’t the same 3D render
from the past! Mind blown. What big changes were there you’re probably thinking?…
There aren’t any. Moving away from the 3D render style in favour
of more stylised bit of artwork this is a very similar Spyro… In a very different
style. The artwork makes him look far bulkier and his wing span has been notably modified,
though both of these are likely heightened by the different style of pose the game art
opted to have him in this time around. In the game itself? Spyro used a polygon-based
model in an isometric way yet again and it’s almost as if the PS1 and GBA titles had a
baby. It’s a much more detailed attempt at this style of graphics and does a better
job of making Spyro look like a stocky and charming character. At the same time, it’s
still so small that at a glance it’s hard to notice that many changes. Unless you spend hours analysing them of course…
But who would waste their time doing that? Compared to previous designs in this style
the characters proportions are slightly different, with Spyro’s head and horns being noticeably
bigger. He’s very similar actually to the Spyro from Hero’s Tail. Wait. He IS the
Spyro from Hero’s Tail. You can see how easy it can be to confuse the character given
these miniscule changes. I’m not a huge fan of how a lot of DS games
have aged looks wise, and the general look of this game doesn’t appeal to me on that
broad of a scale, but what about you? Is there anyone else out there that loves this Spyro
look? I really liked the modifications made to Spyro’s
initial design for the purposes of the box art, however subtle they might have been and
thought the game did a good job of presenting this stocky boi.
It was around this time that Spyro as a franchise had really begun to take a significant dive
in terms of popularity, so a few changes were made in order try and bring the Dragon up
to speed with other franchises from the mid noughties. It was time to get edgy baby. The Legend of Spyro series launched in 2006
with a New Beginning coming to the PlayStation 2, Xbox and Nintendo Wii. This was a reboot
of the Spyro series, with a much more serious take on the previous material and of course,
a new epic series decidedly wanted to move away from the previous design, it’s easily
the biggest difference to Spyro so far. For starters, his snout is now much more prominent,
almost like a crocodile. His horns are less spiky, more angular and feature large round
details from the bottom to the top, the scales on his head are now separate as opposed to
attached and his eyes are much more bulbous and noticeable, in a weird, creepy kind of
way, just for clarification. When playing through levels and seeing the
main camera angle, I think this design looks pretty nice, but the face is where I draw
a few issues. Spyro has always been a slightly goofy looking character, but this new face
of his, feels like a bit of botched surgery revamp if I’m honest. I hope the dragon
didn’t pay for it himself, his mouth is so wide and his face feels like it’s trying
to escape from his head. I’m not too sure why they thought this was necessarily better
than the previous design they had. The box art presented this in a more stylised
look, his form looks much more cutesy here with his snout by comparison being significantly
smaller. Dat ugly crocodile nose tho. The second game in the series would also present
the character in a similar way, with more box art showing off Spyro’s very angular
shape with the in game model looking almost identical. In 2008 however, we had our first entry into
HD consoles, the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3… And at this time… Spyro’s Adventure
game came to its close and to make the most of the new exciting consoles what did Spyro
do? … He hit puberty, like a ton of bricks. Dawn of the Dragon operated on a time skip
and aged Spyro for the first time ever. EPIC. He was a teenager with a similar form to his
previous look, but with a noticeable number of changes. For starters, his face sorted
itself out a bit, it looks less like a crocodile jumping out at you, or a botched Dinoplasty
and has been shrunk down and smoothed out ever so slightly. His wing spans have instead
grown two fold, his body is longer and his upper half is more muscular than his back
half. He looks a bit rougher around the edges, with the extra spike here and there and looks
like a much more mature take on the character and much more like a traditional dragon. I
actually think this design is the best from this trilogy, it made sense to reboot the
series with a new design and given the dark and serious nature of these games this look
is a fitting change for the character. The original design is also just a little bit
too goofy. This series also had GBA & DS versions too.
But much like the previously mentioned games from the original series, these kind of just
scale down this iteration into less impressive formats. Again though, pretty fond of this
pixel art, I find much more expressive than the somewhat goofy accompanying original 3D
model. Even including the Legend of Spyro games,
changes to the character have always remained pretty subtle for the most part. However,
after this series concluded and the character took a 3 year break, he returned in 2011 with
a brand new franchise and ooooh boy, he sure had been hit with the ugly stick. Or hit in the face with a mallet. I mentioned the Skylanders series in my previous
episode, but what I didn’t mention is this series was actually launched with Spyro as
the lead character. This was a huge departure looks wise as Spyro generally looks like a
very different beast. Angry fans didn’t take this too well (that sounds familiar)
and compared him to a gargoyle. Personally I wouldn’t go that far, but I do think he
looks a bit more feral and lizard like. Illuminati confirmed. Regardless, this iteration kept the larger
wing span, flattened his face, littered him with scales, changed up his eye colour, added
emphasis and bulkiness to features like his tail and horns and made the character stylistically
look less cutesy and more aggressive, in the game at least. The artwork surrounding the
game was much softer and though it still doesn’t look the character of old, is a lot less harsh
on the eyes. Seriously though, I don’t hate this design
as it stands by itself, in its own right I actually quite like it, especially the concept
art, I think some of that is really great. But, I don’t really like it as a design
for Spyro. If the character wasn’t purple and there weren’t the words ‘Spyro’s
Adventure’ in the title spelling out who’s game this was, you could quite easily miss
him at a first glance… I’m almost sure they would’ve been slightly concerned people
might not recognise the character when they released this. I know I was confused when
I saw this in a GAME; it definitely wasn’t the Spyro I remembered fondly. It should be pointed out that as this series
developed and more games and TV shows arrived along with it. The character design did become
more well rounded, his nasty scales were scaled down in the games, as well as the harsh definition
of his facial features and teeth and his general textures did look better over time. The TV
Show had probably the best look of the lot with a much smoother design, which was even
pretty cute on occasion. I think they were aware of the backlash against
this design and opted to make future inclusions such as Crash far more faithful by comparison.
Crash!? Who let you back in!? Following up this new series was a 2019 release
that was no doubt inspired by the previous remaster of the Crash Bandicoot franchise.
A point for every time I’ve mentioned Crash. You win nothing. Spyro made his way onto current consoles,
and eventually the PC yeaaah bwoiii, with the Spyro reignited trilogy. A collection
of remakes of the original PlayStation games. This Spyro feels like a good mixture of the
Spyro from Spyro 2 and the Spyro who had just left the PS1 combined, with a mixture of modern
aesthetically pleasing touches. He’s brighter and bolder than the original design, using
a much more colourful pallet. His features are also larger and more detailed, such as
his tail with clear swirly specifics and his horns and chest significant in scale. His wings have differed in appearance over
years, with some original artwork presenting them as yellow and purple with the original
game presenting them as a very dark shade of orange. Here they match the colours of
his horns and tip of his tail, making for a cleaner mixture of the two colours. As well
as this they tuck away a lot easier and aren’t always looking spread like a bats. His upper body is slightly more muscular,
not to the scale of Legend of Spyros third entry, but definitely more so than classic
Spyro and while his face still has strong features, the different rendering style makes
this appear far more natural. Depending on the lighting of the scenes too he may appear
to be a lighter or bolder shade of purple. These may seem like minute details but they
do a lot for the character when it comes to emoting, he’s never seemed more confident,
cocky or bratty for that matter. It’s an absolutely beautiful design that
really does do the character a strong service in both its game model and the very similar
game artwork. And that’s it! The character largely hasn’t
changed things up too much over his years, but all things considered and from what we’ve
seen, I think that is probably for the best. Speaking of best, what’s his best design?
Well, I’m really not going to Drag-on with this one. Kill me. Reignited Trilogy’s Spyro is the clear winner
to me, and for one of the first times ever I have to say that I think this is an easy
pick. This whole remaster adds a level of character to the original titles that were
never there before. Removing the need to imagine a world over the top of so many reused assets,
the game presents the most likeable Spyro who simultaneously was the most visually striking,
charming and pleasant to look at. His new artwork is incredibly appealing and
masterfully crafted, but the character model is where I think this character truly shines.
Last time I mention him now, seriously, but the Crash Bandicoot remasters highlighted
in many ways that Crash didn’t actually NEED a reboot, his original design holds up
very well, as does the games cutscenes and any time the character expresses himself. The Spyro games really don’t hold up as
well, the character has lots of quirks sure, but unlike Crash has actual dialogue. It’s
his responsibility to carry the story along and the new and improved graphic style simply
makes the game and the character by association so much more likeable. The original design was a tremendous one that
really didn’t need anything done to it other than some modernisation, and that’s exactly
what they did. This is the perfect Spyro design in my eyes. So, that’s it from me, but what do you think?
If you disagree let me know in the comments section below. Alternatively, hop on over
to my discord! We’re a small community that chat about games, each other’s artwork,
wrestling and a bunch of other stuff. You may even be able to get some feedback if you’re
an aspiring content creator on YouTube! At this time I’d like to give a big shout
out to my Patrons who make videos like this possible, with a special thank you to Top
Hat Gaming Man and Douglas Slade, who are donating at the top tier of donations. Thanks
very much! I’d also like to thank those that donated
to me on Ko-Fi this month, its super appreciated. If you’d like extra perks, like early access
to character design videos and a credit in each episode head over to my Patreon for more
information, alternatively if you’d just like to tip me as a one off me because you
enjoyed this video, please do so on Ko-Fi. Any amount is appreciated and even a single
US Dollar or British pound would help me continue to make videos like this one. Thanks for watching! I need to make these easier to read, because
I cannot read and it’s frustrating. I’ve also just got to add that from playing
these games, Hunter is probably one of the funniest and ugly looking characters I’ve
ever seen in a video game, genuinely. I think this opening Spyro 2 cutscene is way
too iconic purely based on how ridiculous it looks in the modern day, but the remaster
has since come around and he still somehow looks equally disturbing. Just what did Ripto
do to you man, I’m not actually sure if I want to know. Look. At. Those. Eyes. What is going on in
there? Speaking of Ripto. Jesus Christ. Burn it. *Incomprehensible gibberish and screw ups.* Before I recorded this I ate so many Doritos
and my throat now hates me. *coughs violently*

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