Why Is It So Hard To Make A Dragon Game And Why Doesn’t Spyro Scratch That Itch?

My dream game has always been simple: a 3d open world sandbox-ish game where you fly about as a dragon, fighting enemies and collecting loot to decorate your cave. Basically something like Saints Row but with dragons instead of gangs. Sure, I could eventually build something like this myself, but frankly building that sort of thing is an enormous task and I’m not very good at things like 3d animating, coding, using game engines and game design itself to be able to do that. If I were to make such a game, it’d probably end up being stupidly easy as I assume everyone is as inept as I am. Creating my own game also means that there’s no discovery or anything to it. I can’t discover cool things because, in my own game, I made all the cool things.

So I have to wait patiently and hope that some day, maybe, someone else will make such a game.

So far though, my hopes are not high at all. I’ve watched countless dragon-themed 3d games fall. The most recent one I watched crash and burn was Day of Dragons, a game that only gained traction because of a Harry Potter-themed Pokemon Go-like mobile game had an event called Day of the Dragons and Google’s SEO did a strange thing. Despite getting tons of money, the basically nonexistent team failed to achieve their Kickstarter goals and, like a lot of these things, drowned in a pool of false success and unmet player expectations.

I’ve watched other games do this as well. Dragonflight, a game I praised for how nice it felt to play even though it only had two maps, suddenly turned into a shitty railroaded VR game, meaning anyone who bought the game before that was basically fucked. The game basically died on its ass. Just like Dragon: The Game, Dragon Souls and a lot of other similar titles. Oh sure, there’s people defending these games, saying they’ll be good “one day” but one day could be a thousand years from now. Istaria, an MMO with dragons as an option, had some promise but it’s otherwise a pretty generic MMO with a long grind until I can actually be a dragon. And it’s a monthly subscription. Fuck that.

I also played one of the Divinity Games (Original Sin? Not sure) on GoG that lets you be a dragon (with the downside of kinda killing your friends even though you were tricked), and while the dragon bits do exist, it’s mostly inaccessible and a lot of the game will try and bring you down should you try to actually be a dragon. There’s also Divinity: Dragon Commander but that game’s less about being a dragon and more about dealing with politics, with a bit of being a dragon and commanding armies on the side – fun in its own way but not what at all I’m looking for.

A Dragon in Skyrim
I still haven’t found a better game where you play as a dragon and actually kinda feel like a dragon.

The best luck I’ve had so far is modding Skyrim into some sort of dragon simulator, where I can play as a dragon. It’s clunky and impractical but it kinda works. I can at least fly around and burn things and kill people, even if looting is a pain in the ass and I have to change back into a human to do any indoor stuff. With a handful of basic player homes I created in the Creation Kit, I at least have an accessible ‘lair’ or two that I can use, and it… it’s okay. It’s only okay.

But then there’s Spyro. I actually got the Spyro Reignited Trilogy off Humble Bundle (and, despite cancelling it, got charged with December’s games as well, because fuck me, I guess) and… well, I 100% completed the first couple of levels of the third game… then stopped playing. Not because I don’t like Spyro, but because I don’t like playing platform games. Sure, Spyro IS a dragon, but you could make him into a multitude of other creatures and frankly have the same thing. He could be a sassy flying rhino that breathes fire and it still makes sense because he’s so small compared to everything else. Dragons tend to have a lot of power and size behind them, but Spyro’s diminutive size and constant assistance from dragonflies kinda takes away from the whole dragon thing. I don’t feel like a dragon. I feel like a midget.

Spyro the Dragon
Spyro the Dragon

I also absolutely hate platformer games, which makes enjoying Spyro even harder to enjoy.

I don’t understand why such a game would be so hard to make though by an actual game studio. Sure, me making a game would be insanely hard because I don’t really have the skills to do so, but a real game studio could make… something? Heck, something like Goat Simulator would be good enough, just changing out the goat and sticking a dragon in its place! I don’t even particularly want something amazing, a game with flight and some enemies and a tiny bit of depth would frankly be… enough. Yet every play-as-a-dragon game I see always gets drowned by feature creep and never comes to fruition. Over-promising and under-delivering.

Seriously, they all do it. These games get stuck and tripped over because they want to make a fully fleshed out experience, a complete life cycle from baby to adult, vast magical, growing, feeding and power systems and messing around making things realistic. But they never create a stable base for the game to build off of. Because the foundations are awful, everything very swiftly collapses on itself or ends up a broken mess tied together with string and rubber bands.

So all these games suck, and all I can do is sit on my ass and wait.

Nothing, that’s what. Guess I’ll just play Skyrim again…

Medic

Also known as Doctor Retvik Von Schreibtviel, Medic writes 50% of all the articles on the Daily SPUF. A dedicated Medic main in Team Fortress 2 and an avid speedster in Warframe, Medic has the unique skill of writing 500 words about very little in a very short space of time.

2 thoughts on “Why Is It So Hard To Make A Dragon Game And Why Doesn’t Spyro Scratch That Itch?

  • October 12, 2020 at 6:19 pm
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    i know this is like 10 months late, but have you heard of draconia? that one looks promising

    Reply
    • October 13, 2020 at 9:41 am
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      Eh, looks promising, but I have zero hopes it will ever come out.

      Reply

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