Spyro's Kingdom was a Spyro game concept. The game idea had gone through several stages before becoming Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure.
Ideas for the Spyro license
In 2007, after Vivendi Games merged with Activision, Toys for Bob began working on ideas for the Spyro license. There were different early concepts for Spyro, including a "realistic, gritty" Spyro, a tiny Spyro that ran around the real world on book selves, and an origami Spyro that can take shape.
In fact, Activision first approached Toys for Bob about doing a Spyro title, Paul Reiche and his company originally aimed for something much darker than Spyro has ever been before.
"It was going to be for an older audience, a darker take on it for the next-gen systems," Toys For Bob Producer, Alex Ness, says.
"Let's blow Spyro out," Paul Reiche said at the time. "Let's raise up the age range for him, let's appeal to the kids over 16 up into young adults, let's make it tough and bloody. And we did all of this concept work and just lost our enthusiasm. That wasn't Spyro. That isn't what our passion was about. It was much more joyous and active, and so we sort of stepped back from that."
Activision wanted to do more with the character, so Toys for Bob kept coming up with imaginative ways to use the Spyro license, with toys being the way to do this. One of those ideas included playable little toy dragons that hatched from eggs for users to play with. Eventually, Spyro's Kingdom came into light.
Developing Spyro's Kingdom
Spyro's Kingdom was the original concept for Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure, its successor. It started life as a project, which Graham says still featured "the toys-to-life idea - taking your toys, putting them on a magic device, and having them come to life in the game. Spyro was going to be a full-grown dragon and the king of Spyro’s Kingdom. You would go to him for quests, and he'd tell you where to go and help you on your adventures.
Graham says this version of the game "was very close to something we were going to go forward with. I think it was April or May of 2010 where we were almost ready to hit alpha with Spyro's Kingdom, and it was time for the go/no-go call. That’s where we said, ‘this is fun and cute, but it can be so much bigger.'"
At this point, one of Skylanders' key elements - "toys with brains," which remember your characters' progress as you level up — wasn’t in the mix. If the action figures had memory inside them, the save functionality would be hassle-free and invisible, plus they’d be platform agnostic — a huge win for kids who might not own the same game system as their friends. "The goal was to make it very reminiscent of something you would do as a kid," says Graham. "You could put your toys in your backpack, go to your friend’s house after school, and you could play with your Star Wars characters with your G.I. Joe characters with your Transformers characters; it didn’t matter that they were from different worlds. We looked at consoles that way too: How great could it be if you could share in an experience regardless of what console you were on? So there was this big idea of what this game could be."
With Spyro's Kingdom nearly at alpha but an ambitious alternate plan on the table, the decision was up to the top brass, including Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick. But as Graham reveals, "Bobby believed in it completely. He said, 'What do you guys need?’ And from that point on, it was this little idea that continued to grow to what we have now, which is a team of fantasy superheroes - Skylanders."
Helios Interactive's Game Proposal on Spyro's Kingdom
In 2010, a MMORPG game concept for Spyro's Kingdom was proposed by Helios Interactive with the game based on The Legend of Spyro series. It was rejected by Activision, who proceeded to continue on with Toys For Bob's Spyro's Kingdom. However a playable demo of this version of the game was available for download on the Helios website for the game, but was deleted sometime after the website was discovered by fans.
It turned into Spyro: Skylanders Adventure
- Toys for Bob
- Toys to Life
- Helios Interactive proposed Spyro's Kingdom as an MMORPG game. If that idea of Spyro's Kingdom had been approved, it would've been the first Spyro MMORPG game made, the first eventually being Skylanders: Universe, which has now been cancelled.
- Spyro's eyes are blue in one of the concept art images by Helios Interactive, unlike in the original Spyro series and The Legend of Spyro series where his eyes are purple.
- Whirlwind, Bash, Ghost Roaster, Eruptor, and Stealth Elf can be on their elemental respective islands on the Spyro's Kingdom main menu.
- Zap's earlier character design, Cyclops Snail, can be seen on the Spyro's Kingdom main menu.