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The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon

Platform(s): Nintendo DS, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii, Xbox 360
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Activision Blizzard
Developer: Etranges Libellules
Release Date: Oct. 21, 2008 (US), Nov. 21, 2008 (EU)

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'The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon' (ALL) Developer Q&A

by Rainier on June 29, 2008 @ 2:36 a.m. PDT

In the final chapter of the trilogy, players find Sypro teaming up with an unlikely ally - Cynder, his former enemy, to face his most challenging mission to date. As the Dark Master’s evil envelopes the world like a plague, Spyro must fulfill his destiny and unlock the true power of the purple dragon within him to stop the Dark Master in his tracks.

Q: Why was Etranges Libellules selected for the latest Spyro adventure?

Mike Graham: Etranges Libellules had caught our attention when they released “Arthur and the Invisibles” (based on the movie). We were all very impressed with the artistic style and the visual quality that they were able to achieve on the PS2. Based on their prior experience with platform adventure games, we knew they would be a good fit. But at the time, we were waiting for a few decisions to be made regarding Spyro, and weren’t really sure when we would be able to release the final chapter in the “Legend” trilogy. It just so turned out that the timing was perfect. The call was made for a 2008 next-gen release and they had a team ready to hit the ground running. It became very clear early on that they were all very passionate about making great games, and we knew were onto something very special.

Q: Will there be any other playable characters in The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon?

MG: Spyro and Cynder are the only playable characters in Dawn of the Dragon. This is a story about dragons after all. More specifically, this is a story about Spyros destiny and a story of Cynders redemption. We wanted our main characters to have a lot of abilities and really be the stars. Often times, when more playable characters are introduced, you end up having to spread the time and effort across so many mechanics, that the end result feels diluted and simple. We chose to focus all of our efforts on giving players a deeper experience with the two main characters.

Q: Will the Spyro’s moves be a bit more diverse than those in The Eternal Night?

MG: The ability to fly alone has totally opened up Spyro’s move set. I really can’t wait for players to get their hands on it. It feels very fantasy and magical to fly and glide on the air. But that aside, Spyro’s elemental abilities are much more diverse than they were in “The Eternal Night”. Plus Cynder has all new elements that have never appeared in any Spyro game.

Q: How long is The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon going to be?

MG: Seeing as how we aren’t finished with it yet, it’s hard to estimate how long the game will end up. We’ve taken a “best of both worlds” approach in terms of level design to allow player to play the game at their own pace. We have way more hidden gems and collectible items than any of the previous games in the trilogy. Not all of them are necessary in order to progress, but they certainly help. Any player that wants to blast through the game as fast as they can are certainly welcome to try, but it will be much more challenging for them. Players that take their time to explore will have an easier time in the end.

Q: What exactly do we mean by the element "fear" for Cynder? I'm imagining moves that scare the daylight out of enemies to send them running or freeze them to the spot.

MG: Part of the inspiration for FEAR came from a various popular fantasy books – such as Dragon Lance. Dragons give off Dragon Fear, which frightens anyone in the vicinity to near paralysis. There are a lot of really interesting magical abilities that some of the darker dragons have, not just in that series, but in many fantasy books that deal with dragons.

Q: Is it going to be harder to power up your moves in The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon?

MG: Powering up Spyro and Cynder’s elemental abilities will function similarly to the way it has in the first two games of the series. But that’s not to say it will be easy. A large amount of spirit gems (experience points) will be hidden in gem clusters throughout each level so players aren’t just blasting through everything and getting too powerful. In addition to elemental upgrades, we have included a lot of health and magic upgrades, as well as armor pieces. Each armor piece has an impact on your character. Some pieces increase your attack speed, some reduce damage – there’s quite a diverse list of armor that players can equip once they are found.

Q: Will the levels in The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon be larger than in previous games?

MG: Not all of the levels are the same size. Each area in the game is the length and size that we felt they needed to be in order to maintain the proper pacing for the story and gameplay. Having said that, we do have quite a few areas that are very large – much larger than anything we have done in the series so far.

Q: What's the purple bar between Cynder and Spyro on the HUD?

MG: The purple bar that has been seen in a few screenshots is a rough (not final) version of the Fury Meter. Furies will be slightly different in this year’s game. We like the presentational aspect of furies – it’s neat to see a buildup and a massive explosion of magic and energy. We just wanted the aftermath to be more interactive. So now furies will temporarily give Spyro and Cynder special powers.

Q: Can you use Cynder to play the entire game?

MG: Yes, players can choose to use either Spyro or Cynder throughout the entire game. Of course, there are some areas in the game where the player will need to use an ability of one of the dragons in order to advance, but aside from those instances, it’s really up to the player.

Q: Will this be the last Spyro game or are there plans to make more after this finale?

MG: Without a doubt, there will be more Spyro games in the future. The entire purpose of the trilogy was to re-establish the characters and the world in a way that would allow for growth and expansion. We’ve only scratched the surface.

Developed by Etranges Libellules, The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon will ship Oct. 2008 for the X360, PS3, Wii, PS2 and NDS.

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