January, 1997, Charles Zembillas was contacted by Ted Price, the President of
Insomniac Games, Inc.
Charles had completed
his character design work on the just released Crash Bandicoot video game property
for Sony's new PlayStation format. Crash was produced through Naughty Dog, a game
development company that was in partnership with Universal Interactive, the video
game division of Universal Studios in Hollywood. Both Naughty Dog and Insomniac
had their production offices at Universal at the time. The two companies were
just down the hall from each other. Mr. Price was aware of Charles' significant
creative contributions to the Crash Bandicoot franchise, so he approached him
about working on Insomniac's next game. One that would feature a dragon as its
Soon, Charles was busy
working with the team at Insomniac and Universal Interactive. His mission, to
come up with a design for a new video game character that would be Insomniac's
first venture into character based games and Universal's follow up to the highly
successful Crash Bandicoot character. What emerged after a few sessions with the
Insomniac/Universal team was a character that eventually was named Spyro the Dragon.
Spyro went on to become one of the most popular video game characters in the world.
The following is a global premiere. The original development sketches created
by Charles Zembillas in early 1997 that lead to the design and production of Sony/Universal/Insomniac's
Spyro the Dragon.
This exhibition is a special
feature of The Animation Academy in Burbank, California and is intended for educational
purposes. It's a case book study of the character design process. A journey through
a series of spontaneous hand drawn sketches that led to the development of a major
character based franchise for the video game industry.
We hope you enjoy this unique presentation.