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First releaseSpyro the Dragon
9 September 1998
Latest releaseSpyro Reignited Trilogy
13 November 2018

Spyro is a series of platform video games which features the main protagonist Spyro, a dragon. Since the series' introduction in 1998 with the PlayStation game Spyro the Dragon, there have been numerous sequels and a reboot trilogy. Originally owned by Universal Pictures (via the defunct Universal Interactive) and created by Insomniac Games, the franchise has changed hands and developers numerous times before the rights to the intellectual property were acquired by Activision in 2008.

In 2011, the series was rebooted for a second time in the form of Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure and the companion browser game Skylanders: Spyro's Universe.[1] Originally intended as the first title in a new trilogy of Spyro games,[2] the Skylanders brand was repositioned to be its own franchise the following year due to the record-breaking success of its toys-to-life concept, pivoting away from its focus on Spyro since.[3]

In 2018, Toys for Bob announced that they were developing a collection of remakes of the original Spyro PlayStation trilogy called Spyro Reignited Trilogy.[4] It was released for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on 13 November 2018, and was released for Microsoft Windows and Nintendo Switch on 3 September 2019.


Release timeline
1998Spyro the Dragon
1999Ripto's Rage!
2000Year of the Dragon
2001Season of Ice
2002Season of Flame
Enter the Dragonfly
2003Attack of the Rhynocs
2004Cortex Conspiracy
A Hero's Tail
2005Shadow Legacy
2006A New Beginning
2007Eternal Night
2008Dawn of the Dragon
2018Reignited Trilogy

Original PlayStation trilogy (1998–2000)[edit]

Spyro the Dragon was released in North America on 9 September 1998 and Europe in October 1998 for the PlayStation.[5] It is a platform game that placed the player as Spyro, a small purple dragon set with the task of freeing his fellow dragons from crystal prisons, which are scattered around their world. Each level is accessed through 'portals' from a main world. The game concludes with a fight between Spyro and the primary antagonist, Gnasty Gnorc. The game sold well, with a total of five million copies being sold worldwide.[6] The game received favorable reviews from IGN giving Spyro the Dragon a 9 out of 10.[7] It received acclaim for its musical score by Stewart Copeland.[by whom?]

Ripto's Rage!, known as Gateway to Glimmer in Europe and Australia, followed on from the success of the first title, making its release on 2 November 1999 in North America and 5 November 1999 in Europe for the PlayStation.[8] The game introduced new characters including Hunter, a cheetah; Elora, a faun; The Professor, a mole; and Zoe, a fairy. The structure of the game is similar to the first, with levels being accessed from the three main home worlds: Summer Forest, Autumn Plains, and Winter Tundra. The game concludes with a fight between Spyro and the primary antagonist, Ripto. The game introduces some abilities for Spyro, including hovering after a glide, swimming underwater, climbing ladders, head-bashing, and the ability to use power-ups. Like its predecessor, it was critically acclaimed.[9]

Year of the Dragon was released in North America on 24 October 2000 and Europe on 10 November 2000 for the PlayStation, and it was the last Spyro game to be created by Insomniac Games.[8][10] In the game, the dragons are celebrating the Year of the Dragon, an event held every twelve years in which new dragon eggs arrive in the dragon worlds. Bianca, an anthropomorphic rabbit, steals the eggs, and Spyro follows her down a rabbit hole. The rabbit hole leads to the Forgotten Realms, which are under the rule of the game's primary antagonist, The Sorceress, to whom Bianca is apprenticed. As in the previous games, levels are accessed from a central home world, of which there are four: Sunrise Spring, Midday Gardens, Evening Lake, and Midnight Mountain. The game also features levels in which the player controls "Sparx", Spyro's companion dragonfly, in a bird's eye view shooting game as well as four new playable characters: Sheila the Kangaroo, Sgt. Byrd, Bentley the Yeti, and Agent 9 the Monkey.

Multiplatform and handhelds (2001–05)[edit]

Season of Ice was the first Spyro game not to be developed by Insomniac Games or be on a Sony console, released for the Game Boy Advance and developed by Digital Eclipse. It is known as Spyro Advance in Japan. Spyro must use his fire breath to rescue the fairies in the various Fairy Realms after they are frozen by an evil monster named Grendor.

Season of Flame was the second Digital Eclipse title and was released for the Game Boy Advance. It is the sequel to Season of Ice, and introduces new features, such as the ability to breathe other elements besides fire. In the game, Spyro must recover the stolen fireflies scattered across the Dragon Realms and foil an evil plot by Ripto and his minions.

Enter the Dragonfly is available for the PlayStation 2 and Nintendo GameCube, and was developed by Equinox Digital Entertainment and Check Six Studios. It had received mixed to negative responses from reviewers, referring to the numerous glitches, lack of storyline, originality, and long load times.[citation needed] The story begins with the baby dragons preparing to receive their dragonflies and celebrating. Ripto captures the dragonflies, making the dragons helpless, and accidentally scatters the dragonflies across the world with a spell. Spyro must recover the dragonflies.

Attack of the Rhynocs, also known as Spyro Adventure in Europe and Australia, is the third and final game to be developed by Digital Eclipse. Spyro is tasked with collecting the "Heart" of each land in order to stop Ripto's latest evil scheme after a machine malfunctions opening a portal, bringing Ripto back into the dragon realms following the events of Enter The Dragonfly.

The Cortex Conspiracy, known as Spyro Fusion in Europe and Australia, and Spyro Advance Wakuwaku Tomodachi Daisakusen! in Japan, introduces multiple game screening. It is a crossover game between Spyro the Dragon and Crash Bandicoot, and a companion game to Crash Bandicoot Purple: Ripto's Rampage. In the game, Spyro travels through Crash's universe in a side-scroller, rather than the traditional isometric, top-down view.

A Hero's Tail is available for the PlayStation 2, Xbox and Nintendo GameCube, and was created by Eurocom. The game revolves around an evil plot by the villain Red, a former Dragon Elder, who begins to plant Dark Gems around the Dragon Realms, sucking the life out of these worlds. He also works alongside Gnasty Gnorc and Ineptune. Spyro then begins his journey to destroy all the Dark Gems, alongside Sparx, Hunter, Sgt. Byrd, and Blink.

Shadow Legacy acts as a sequel to Spyro: A Hero's Tail and was released only on the Nintendo DS. This is the first Spyro game that plays as a role-playing game as opposed to a platformer and the game allows Spyro to gain experience, level up and learn new spells and combat moves. Spyro must use his new skills to save his allies when they are trapped in the "Shadow Realm" which features returning levels from the Dragon Kingdom, Avalar, and the Forgotten Realms.

The Legend of Spyro reboot trilogy (2006–08)[edit]

The Legend of Spyro is a game trilogy that is part of the Spyro the Dragon series. It acted as a reboot to the original series. The games use a combination of close-combat and platforming gameplay, though the gameplay is more oriented towards combat than previous games in the Spyro series were. The story revolves around Spyro, the protagonist, and his efforts to stop Malefor, The Dark Master, from destroying the world.[citation needed]

The first installment of this game is titled The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning. It focuses on Spyro's origins as a legendary purple dragon and his quest to stop Cynder, the black dragon waging war against the world. He meets Ignitus the Fire Guardian, a red dragon who tells him about his past and offers to train him in his newly discovered ability to breathe fire. Spyro must then embark on a quest to various worlds to rescue the other three Guardians; Volteer, the Electric Guardian, Cyril, the Ice Guardian, and Terrador, the Earth Guardian. Each guardian trains him in a new elemental breath to help him on his journey and eventual fight with Cynder herself.[11]

Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure (2011)[edit]

Toys for Bob was given the opportunity to revive a Vivendi franchise, and they chose the Spyro the Dragon franchise. Paul Reiche III noted: "attempts to revive broad-audience mascot franchises haven't seen predictable success in the game industry. Just creating a new Spyro game after the traditional fashion was unlikely to work" and reinventing the character as a "really gritty, strange otherworldly Spyro" didn't seem like a promising idea. Reiche says he had considered integrating technology with toys and games for a while, and it was the kind of concept that was so outlandish that it was the most promising idea the team sketched out for the brand.[3]

The game's original working title was Spyro's Kingdom from June 2009. The game was originally going to be a mature Spyro game with a much darker tone, that also included blood, but the developers of Toys for Bob lost their enthusiasm and felt that this direction did not feel like "Spyro".[12] They spent six months on a variety of different directions with Spyro, and with the time and budget given by Activision. The resulting game was 2011's Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure, released on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo 3DS and Microsoft Windows. A companion browser game was developed by Frima Studios, called Skylanders: Spyro's Universe. It was originally branded as a reboot of the franchise[13] and the first in a new trilogy of Spyro games.[2] In an interview, Reiche said, "We were privileged to be handed Spyro and his world, and asked to not only make a new game, but to make a new kind of game with Spyro as the hero, and to not only reinvent him but to reinvent his role as this sort of the leader of the cast of characters, and to go into his world with this cast of characters. If you want to play Spyro the whole time, you can. If you want to switch between characters, you can. But it's Spyro's world."[14]

In 2012, after the success of the toys-to-life concept, Activision rebranded the Skylanders: Spyro's Universe browser game to Skylanders Universe and future installments of the console, mobile and handheld games did not include the name Spyro in their titles. Spyro characters such as Spyro and Cynder have been pushed aside in favor of original Skylanders characters but remained playable throughout the series—thanks to the toy figures' forwards compatibility—despite having no role, appearance or dialogue in the story. That year, Activision started calling Skylanders the company's "brand new IP" in the lead-up to Skylanders: Giants' release.[15] In an interview with the Official Nintendo Magazine UK, Alex Ness, producer at Toys for Bob, said, "I am not sure that I would say that Skylanders Spyro's Adventure focused on the Spyro character. Spyro is a character that we all liked and that fans would recognise from previous Spyro video games, but Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure was not necessarily tailored towards any particular Skylander. Our goal was always to make this fun to play with every character and hopefully even more fun when you switch among them. When naming Skylanders: Giants, we wanted the title to focus on the new big thing - the Giants."[16]

In a 2014 interview with The Verge, Reiche admitted that Toys for Bob used the Spyro franchise as a "hook" to garner consumer and media attention. He said, "It was a foot in the door for the press and for consumers because it was something that they could relate to."[17] Skylanders has become a franchise of its own since then, spawning numerous comic book adaptations, novels and a Netflix TV show called Skylanders Academy.

Spyro Reignited Trilogy (2018)[edit]

Discussions around the relaunch of Spyro began as early as 2014. In a July 2014 interview with The Daily Telegraph, Sony Computer Entertainment CEO, Andrew House stated that his team was considering bringing Spyro back. House stated that he believed video gamers would be interested in revisiting a character from their youth.[18] Later that same year, Insomniac Games CEO Ted Price also stated that making a new Spyro game was a possibility.[19] In 2017, developer Vicarious Visions stated that they were aware of how high the popular demand was for a revival of the classic Spyro series. In a statement they said, "just keep asking".[20] Spyro Reignited Trilogy was officially announced on 5 April 2018 and was originally going to be released on 21 September 2018 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, before being delayed to 13 November 2018.[8] The game was developed by Skylanders developer Toys for Bob[21] and was ported to Microsoft Windows and Nintendo Switch, with a release date of 3 September 2019.

Other games[edit]

In addition to Crash Purple and Spyro Orange, Spyro has made various crossover appearances in the Crash Bandicoot series. Spyro appears as a playable character in the Game Boy Advance version of Crash Nitro Kart, and makes a cameo appearance in Crash Twinsanity. Elements from the Spyro series were added to Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled as part of a post-launch game update in August 2019. Spyro, Hunter, and Gnasty Gnorc appear as playable characters, along with Spyro-themed karts and a "Spyro Circuit" race track. Spyro has also made a couple of cameos as a swimming pool float and as a parade balloon in Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time. [22]

Cancelled games[edit]

Spyro Ever After was going to be the first Spyro educational game where Spyro meets fairy tale characters like The Three Little Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood, Puss in Boots, Goldilocks and the Three Bears and Golden Goose. However, the game never passed the storyboard, and was cancelled.[23]

Agent 9 was a James Bond-like parody spin-off game starring Agent 9 as the main character as he does spy missions. It was set to be developed by Blue Tongue Entertainment and Backbone Entertainment and be published by Universal Interactive. The game's production was cancelled for undisclosed reasons.[24]

After the cancellation of Agent 9, Digital Eclipse reworked the game into a full Spyro the Dragon title, that took place in a large desert environment. The video game title was never released to the market, and was scrapped by Digital Eclipse.[25]

Common elements[edit]


The main character of the series is Spyro the Dragon, a young purple dragon. In the original series, he is accompanied by Sparx, a dragonfly that performs many functions such as helping protect Spyro from damage and collecting gems. Most of the games before the Legend of Spyro series include Hunter the cheetah, a loyal friend of Spyro's who sometimes helps him on quests; Moneybags, a money-obsessed bear who in some games is needed to make pathways for Spyro for a small fee; and Zoe, a fairy who serves as checkpoints in each land that Spyro visits.


The Dragon Realms are the main setting of the series where most of the dragons including Spyro live. Avalar is a separate world that was being threatened by Ripto in Spyro: Ripto's Rage. The Forgotten Realms are the ancient home of the dragons before being driven out by the Sorceress and serve as the setting for Spyro: Year of the Dragon. The Fairy Realms are a separate series of realms that are inhabited by fairies and only appear in Spyro: Season of Ice. After collecting enough orbs in Spyro 2: Riptos Rage, the Dragon Shores can be accessed, which has games and a special power-up for Spyro.


A large part of the original series revolves around item collection. When the player collects a certain amount of items, they can move on to the next area. The most common of these are gems, which are often used not only for collecting, but also for buying skills, passageways, items, and more. In A Hero's Tail there were special dark gems, which the player had to destroy to proceed to new areas within the game, while collecting light gems allowed use of some of the professor's inventions and opened certain doors.

Freeing dragons is the main goal in Spyro the Dragon, while retrieving dragon eggs is the main goal in Spyro: Year of the Dragon. In Spyro the Dragon, dragon eggs are also collected by chasing down thieves (but their color designs are different from those of the third installment). They also appear in Spyro: A Hero's Tail, and collecting them will unlock concept art. Collecting Talismans and Orbs are the primary goal in Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage!, as the devices are used in a portal to get Spyro back to his home. Dragonflies are the primary collectibles in Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly where Spyro catches them using his bubble breath. In Spyro: Season of Ice freeing fairies is the main goal, and in Spyro 2: Season of Flame collecting fireflies is the goal.


Stewart Copeland composed the soundtracks for the first four Spyro games. Copeland made music for each world in the games as well as music devoted to each level, often playing each level so he could tailor the mood of the music to the level.[26] As with the voice cast in A Hero's Tail, Stewart Copeland was replaced and the soundtrack was composed by Steve Duckworth and Paul Lawler. Rebecca Kneubuhl and Gabriel Mann of the a cappella band Spiralmouth composed the music for The Legend of Spyro trilogy. Finally, for Reignited Trilogy, Copeland's music was remixed in-house by the developer and remained mostly faithful to the original scores; Copeland himself composed a main theme for the compilation.


Aggregate review scores
Game Metacritic
Spyro the Dragon (PS1) 85%[27][a]
Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage! (PS1) 87%[28][a]
Spyro: Year of the Dragon (PS1) 91/100[29]
Spyro: Season of Ice (GBA) 74/100[30]
Spyro 2: Season of Flame (GBA) 76/100[31]
Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly (GC) 48/100[32]
(PS2) 56/100[33]
Spyro: Attack of the Rhynocs (GBA) 72/100[34]
Spyro Orange: The Cortex Conspiracy (GBA) 60/100[35]
Spyro: A Hero's Tail (GC) 62/100[36]
(PS2) 60/100[37]
(Xbox) 64/100[38]
Spyro: Shadow Legacy (NDS) 50/100[39]
Spyro Reignited Trilogy (NS) 79/100[40]
(PC) 75/100[41]
(PS4) 82/100[42]
(XONE) 83/100[43]

As of 2007, the Spyro the Dragon series has sold over 20 million units worldwide.[44] According to the Los Angeles Times, the first Spyro game has sold 4.8 million units as of November 2007,[45] making it the seventeenth best-selling PlayStation game of all time. Ripto's Rage! sold 3.45 million units in the U.S.,[45] while Year of the Dragon sold 3.28 million.


  1. ^ a b GameRankings score
  1. ^ Skylanders Spyro's Universe Official Trailer. CoinOpTV. 14 December 2011 – via YouTube.
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