Q/A with Jared Pullen, lead concept artist of TLoS

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So as a few of you may know, I've been talking some with Jared Pullen, the lead concept artist for anB and tEN, and the designer of most of the characters, as I've been intending to commission him. (The commission is in progress, by the way!) Along the conversations I've thrown in multiple questions that were never really revealed in the series, and he's delivered plenty of answers! I'll be updating this list as I get more info, also feel free to suggest questions for me to pass on to him, and please share this journal so everybody can see!

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Q: Was Ignitus supposed to be Spyro's father? 

A: Ignitus was most definitely intended as a mentor and 'father-figure' for Spyro, but it was never fully established officially that he was indeed Spyro's actual father. The goal was to reveal Spyro's parentage in stages and throw up the notion that perhaps his father was one of two possible dragons; one being Ignitus, and the other... Malefor. This concept was to re-occur across the 3 games, but it didn't pan out like that, and more's the pity because it is a strong theme. I've always personally maintained, (and one of our publisher guys hinted at this) that Ignitus was indeed Spyro's biological father and set out with that in mind right from the design phase. The animators also loosely held true to this idea... so without it being 'official'... it was the original intention :) Of course Malefor was intended to taunt Spyro, and cloud his mind with the lie that he was his father, but it didn't pan out in the story in full. That said, Ignitus gets my vote :)

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Q: Is corrupted Cynder an accurate representation of an adult female dragon in the TLoS universe? 

 With Cynder, we adopted sinuous lines and delicate elongated forms with gothic design elements.... very much adhering to 'ferocity through speed and agility' rather than through strength of muscle. Up until TLoS the realm of dragons in the Spyro universe was very much paternal... so we decided to bring in that feminine touch. I wouldn't say Cynder is rigidly typical of all female dragon forms, but the elongated neck, lengthened whip-like tail and larger, more delicate wings are. For female dragons you could definitely push the forms, and make body regions like hips and hind quarters larger, but generally forms are more elongated in the female dragons, at least that's what I'd do. The males would have slightly shorter tails and thicker (but not so large) wings overall. Necks in females tend to be more lithe and less robust to give them that grace. Cynder was also corrupted and her growth affected rapidly by Malefor's evil, so she tended to be more hard edged with less things terminating in curves. The average female dragon per say though might be alot more curvey overall. It's how I'd play it for sure. Also note that female dragons' hips tend to be a bit higher off the ground that males' hips are.

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Q: (...) But wow, you caught me completely off guard with saying Malefor may have been Spyro's father! Definitely an interesting idea, however... It never crossed my mind really, since there were supposedly ten generations between Spyro and Malefor, and I had assumed that Malefor was imprisoned in Convexity long enough for him not to age and thus be able to meet Spyro in the first place. (That said, DotD didn't include any info about how Malefor was first imprisoned and what he really did to be exiled, so everything about him is still pretty cloudy) And in the cutscene image from tEN where Malefor was depicted young, there was a character in the foreground with a strong resemblance to the chronicler, and the chronicler implied he'd been at the white isle for over a thousand years. So how Malefor lived so long is still a mystery - unless all the dragons in general could live so long.

A: Fun fact about dragon eggs in the Spyro universe - they can take decades to hatch ;) Longer even... if the time isn't right, they'll incubate safely until a timely opportunity presents itself ;) The rationale behind Malefor potentially being Spyro's father was plausible, but only if Spyro's egg lay dormant a good while. We reasoned that perhaps Spyro's egg was laid a very long time ago, while Malefor was still free and kicking around. Then it lay still through the time of turmoil and upheaval, and right through the dragon purges until Ignitus released it down river in ANB. It was 'waiting for destiny' to find the time of hatching. Of course this was never fleshed out, and most on the team preferred Ignitus as Spyro's father. Rumour has it that there are unhatched eggs still out there, just waiting for their time... but we never got to the design phase to flesh out subsequent plot and hatchling characters. I'd love to do that too one day. Also the dragons are long lived in Spyro's world, and originally I'd intended Ignitus to be about 250 years young at the time of ANB :) The Chronicler however would be very ancient indeed, over 1000 years for certain, possibly over 2000. Oh and... yes, that is him with the young apprentice Malefor ;) 

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Q: Is the statue in the training room of Malefor?

A: The image of the great Guardian statue above was an homage to Dragon culture in general, but more specifically a stately and regal representation of an actual ancient Dragon hero... the last Purple Dragon before Spyro's time. Indeed it was my intention to have this statue foreshadow Spyro's future, and set down a clue as to what he may even look like in the coming decades. From the very outset I wanted to portray what a fully grown adult Purple Dragon would look like, how it might stand and carry itself, and I pitched the idea that the statue itself was actually a representation of The Dark Master.... before he renounced the path of good. So you could say that right from the beginning, from 'the new beginning' we had already caught a glimpse of the Dark Master... I thought it a very fitting and 'full circle' type thing to do.

(I didn't actually ask this, but took the 'answer' off his blog. It's good information.)

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Q: In a cutscene from aNB, when Ignitus first met Spyro and talked about the war, in one of the pictures there was a young dragon by Ignitus's side in the battlefield. Is there a story behind that? 

A: Ah, you spotted the young dragon in the sepia tone cutscene from ANB, when Ignitus explains the inter-isle wars?... yes he has a story all his own, at least at the time when I drew him :) Seems like only yesterday. He is Ignitus' Battle Squire, the banner-bearer for Ignitus' battalion of war dragons, which I'd named 'Inferno Battalion'. The young dragon's name is Pyra (said 'Pie-Rah', taken from the Greek word for fire.) I'd originally set out a basic back story that saw Pyra as one of the only dragons left on the battle field after Cynder came and captured the other guardians. Pyra becomes separated from Ignitus after a huge and confusing melee and the intervention of an enemy siege weapon known to the dragons as a 'Dragonator', which kills dragons. (Funnily enough the Monster Hunter game series by Capcom went on to make siege engines called 'Dragonators' in their games.. nice co-incidence!) Anyway Pyra is only very young and under powered, so it's more an exercise in survival rather than triumphant butt kicking across the field of battle. He arrives upon a tragic scene in which the severed remnants of Ignitus' war lance lies splintered on the ground, and he fears the worse for his Master. Determined to survive, and avenge Ignitus for the tragic end Pyra fears must surely have befallen him, he takes up the shards of the great lance and stoically defends a high hilltop against a tidal wave of foes. He holds the hill for several hours before fatigue overcomes him and his enemies overrun the hill top. But fortune favors Pyra, and he lives long enough to be rescued by one of the 'Dragon Knights' (a 'Templar/defender' class dragon I never got to draw up.) During the rescue the Dragon Knight takes flight with Pyra on his back, but he is shot down by the Dragonator and Pyra falls into the ocean. Ignitus arrives as the Dragon Knight takes his last breath, uttering the word "Pyra..." and offering up the broken lance before passing away. Ignitus mourns his squire, fleeing the isle before Cynder can claim him, his only comfort the lance shards that he takes with him into the heart of the swamp. But unbeknownst to Ignitus, his battle Squire endures.... washed up somewhere on a distant and isolated isle... 

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Q(more of fun facts really): The TLoS series have a lot of original names, especially with the Guardians and their element-related names... Well... Cyril really sticks out - it's even a name used in real life. I keep wondering about the thinking behind that.

A: and very fun to do. Originally I called him 'Glacious' (said 'Glay-shuss) Volteer I'd named 'Thundus' because I felt it had more mythological connotations and sounded less like something from a cartoon.... my original reaction to 'Volteer' was "Why don't we just call him 'The Amazing El-Zappo' or the Spectacular Volty-volt Dude??" But it grew on me :)

(I'm definitely referring to Volteer as ''the amazing el-zappo' from now on)

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Q: Do you know something about the elements? We know for sure there are Fire, Electric, Ice and Earth dragons, but are there dragons of Cynder's elements? Or other elements not at all mentioned? (Like a water element) Where did the elements of Shadow, Poison and Fear come from(since they seem far from natural)?

Because this was answered in a cluster-novel over Skype (Jared can't contain himself :L), I'll sum up what he said; Fire, Electricity, Ice, Earth, Wind and Water are the natural elements of the TLoS universe. Fun fact! Cyril was supposed to be female and a water guardian! (I literally cried when he told me, it was just... So good) Shadow/Darkness, Fear and Poison dragons also exist, but the elements come from a different, darker entity instead of the light entity that created the other elements...

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Q: I got some quick yes/no questions that don't need an explanation from you - I'm sure you're still too busy for that. I already asked one of the questions, if a dragon's eye colors depend on their element (orange for fire, yellow for electricity, etc)...
(he explained anyway XD)

A: The eye colour was, in truth, less about which element they were from and more about colour balance with their overall scheme... I would dabble about for ages, actually finishing their eyes last til it felt right for the character, but usually in the end it just made good colour theory sense to have their eyes match their overall skin tone - which matched their element ;) (Wink) So in a round about way, you could say yes. Spyro however needed to not be restricted so much by rules... he is very much the 'wild card' dragon who can be anything and be any element we requires.... simply put green tends to contrast nicely with purple, and I wanted to go that way to add an offsetting contrast, but by then we'd indirectly established that the dragons eyes matched their element hehehe ;) (Wink) I settled on an electric purple.

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Q:  (...)Cynder had teal eyes though, which leads to another few questions I asked. What was her original element and original scale color(assuming the blackness of her design came from the corruption)?

A: (...)I'll sneak you a response a bit later on, but suffice it to say.... Cynder did not start life as a 'Dark/Shadow' elemental dragon ;) (Wink) And her colour and subsequent markings are indeed the result of Malefor's corruptive ritual magics.

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Q: You confirmed Cynder's dark scales and markings were a result of her corruption. So what was her original element?

A: Heheheee this has been one of the greatest wee mysteries to emerge from the whole TLoS series, as Cynder is one of the most beloved characters, and has gone on to have a life very much of her own. Everyone wants to see her do well - and everyone I know seems to believe she ends up with Spyro in some romantic manner.... OK, so the very first time Cynder was mentioned to me was back in 2005, and she was simply called 'The Anti-Spyro' as we did not have a name for her.... and truth to tell we didn't really know that she was going to be a 'she' at that point. 

The Lead Artist on ANB (Bruno Rime) for whom I have a tremendous amount of respect for had one wee condition on TLoS... I could draw everything that was to be, but the 'Anti-Spyro' was to be his baby ;) And that is totally fair, as Bruno is one heck of a great guy and Lead. He came back a week later and said 'So, she's going to be a BIG Scary Black Dragon... like the thing out of Sleeping Beauty... only worse!" That was the first time I'd heard mention of the character that was to be Cynder.... Bruno tried a few different variations on a sketch, showed me and we talked on line and angles and the way she was put together overall.... but Cynder was his from the very beginning. I never saw any colour variations, but we had a conversation that Cynder was 'the product of her conditioning... and not inherently dark by breed or nature'.... we toyed with the idea that she 'was a flyer' and had connections to the air, to storms and specifically to the Wind ;)...
So she was a wind dragon originally?* (*my response)
There is that logic yes. While Bruno never said "Cynder is a Wind Dragon" - she was certainly put together as such and the connotations were there
There is ONE way to definitely answer this.. I'm in contact with Bruno and we do talk. He's a good mate of mine and while I believe this was the intention (to make Cynder a Wind Dragon originally) its always best to go to the source. (He's emailed Bruno Rime for confirmation, I'll include his response in the next update.)

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anonymous's avatar
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omagakiller123456's avatar

i never noticed Pyra in the flashback's so i never knew anything about him. but to now see this and see he has a tragic backstory, i instantly feel sorry for him

the fact of Pyra thinking ignitis had died due to the lance being broken and then going to defend, after that the dragon Knight saves him but gets shot dropping the most likely unconscious pyra into the water causing him to be dragged out by the current's, and then ignites returning to see the knight and to hear him say "pyra" and give him ignitis the lance making ignitis believe pyra had died

it makes you feel sorry for what had happoned.

but the question now is

where is he now,? is he still alive,? will he try to make it back home,? and how will he react when he find out ignitis is now really dead?

Leonofparodies's avatar
I'm so happy to hear that there was so much lore to the story of this underappreciated series, even if most of it never got into the final game. Still, makes great inspiration for Fanfics!
KlarkKentThe3rd's avatar
Always sad to see things cut from other things, but that is the brutal nature of deadlines and limited budgets. What a sad, sad world we live in.

Also, as much sense as that makes, I find it hard to see Cynder as a wind dragon, since Shadow suits her way more. Plus, it breaks most of the game.
UniverseDragon's avatar
I'm really curious... what has become of Pyra? I'm assuming, based on what Jared said, that he washed up on the White Isle. But what did he do then? Does he live there, like a hermit? Did he fly away? Did he find the Chronicler somehow, even though there's many times where a specific element is needed to get by? And if he did find the Chronicler... what happened to him then? So many possibilities... can't wait for the next update ^^
DragonOfIceAndFire's avatar
Actually Jared confirmed to me that it wasn't actually the White Isles he wound up on... Jared's really busy but he does want to develop Pyra's story more so I don't want to spoil anything if he wants it to be a surprise
UniverseDragon's avatar
I understand, real life comes first :)

Oooh, that's even more mysterious... Can't wait to hear about that! I wish the games had revealed an official map that included everything beyond the DotD map. It seems like there's so much in that universe, waiting to be explored. Thanks for the info :3
Eruannion's avatar
Are you aware of this? tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php… (check the entries for Ensemble Darkhorse and Memetic Mutation)
I randomly came across this and was rather amused by it.
UniverseDragon's avatar
I swear on me mum, people better stop trying to tell others what to do with their art and stories... this stuff is so interesting! :3
KingJoe999's avatar
it sill says they were born in the same batch of eggs (perhaps i am looking to deep into this)
UniverseDragon's avatar
That was confirmed as an error by Krome
KingJoe999's avatar
uhmm link

still does not explain why they were in the same of eggs if they are not related 
DragonOfIceAndFire's avatar
I don't have a link but you can look it up. By them 'being from the same clutch' refers to them both being in the temple nests where the Guardians were protecting them. There were probably almost a hundred eggs there, it's unlikely they came from the same parents - especially when they're so visually different. 
60KratosAsylum's avatar
Huh? What is happening I remember I visit 2 months this topic and, he have more q/a. Where's the first q/a? You supress him?
KingJoe999's avatar
this has been disturbing me cause i ship them
KingJoe999's avatar
still does not explain one thing that has been bugging me fr the past week

cynde was born in the same clutch of eggs as spyro.....would that not be incest
DragonOfIceAndFire's avatar
They're not siblings, that was confirmed by Krome long ago.
CaptainCassidy's avatar
Pyra... Pyra... oh my gods, I want to put that in a comic and write for it. Do tell me if he doodles them up! I'd love to illustrate what happens after he's washed up along the shore of... somewhere... ;)
laurel-tree's avatar
I remember Cynder's egg being shown as black, so it's confusing to me to think that she wasn't born with that color. Of course it's very possible that it was colored that way so the viewers wouldn't be confused about that being Cynder's egg, but I also thought that when Ignitus said that only Cynder could open the portal to Convexity, it was a special power that belonged to Cynder because she was a black dragon and that's why her egg was saved. So why was Cynder the only one who could do it?

I also thought when the Chronicler said that Malefor mastered "...ice, and wind, and other abilities none thought possible." that wind was included in the "abilities none thought possible" section. He also again seems to imply that wind is a strange power in DotD when he refers to Cynder's elements as "most uncommon." It's weird to me that wind and water are also natural abilities but there are no guardians for them and Spyro never learns how to use them naturally like the other elements, but at least it solves what happened to Cynder's original element for me haha. And maybe fire was strictly exclusive to her corrupted form... I dunno lol.

Basically I can accept that wind is a natural element but now I have no idea what made Cynder so special that she could open the Convexity portal xD This is all really interesting though, questions like these have been bothering me for years so the closure is nice. I especially like that the dragon eggs take so long to hatch, now I understand why the Guardians were necessary!
Pikachufan260's avatar
Well remember they said they were "orginally" gonna make her be a wind dragon. But who knows in my headcanon her birth elemenets are actually Shadow and Fear(due to her appearance and coloration), she could possibly be a earth or ice dragon for crying outloud!
laurel-tree's avatar
Yep! We may never know for sure so I feel whatever works for the story you're writing is the way to go!
BlackShadow6202's avatar
XD "The amazing el-zappo"...truly a name worthy of a guardian....

I'm loving this. TLoS is one of my favorite game series of all time; seeing all this new lore and cannon info is just amazing.

I always thought Cynder was a fire dragon (because of her fire breath in ANB) but yea, I can see wind fitting her much better.

That brings up a question though....why are there no wind or water guardians if those elements exist?
Ddraigtanto's avatar
Ah, so that's where the Zappo thing came from! Heh, awesome. I'm gonna have to work that into a fic somewhere...
anonymous's avatar
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