Franchise / Spyro the Dragon

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The first generation- the legend begins.

A platforming video game franchise (with a focus on combat in later games) starring the eponymous purple dragon, Spyro. It was started in 1998 when Universal Interactive Studios commissioned Insomniac Games to make a child-oriented game on the original PlayStation. And it was decided that it'd star a dragon because, well, you know.

Seeing as making a platformer where the player can just fly over everything would've been difficult, it was decided this dragon would be a child, which had the added bonus of appealing to the target demographic. As a youngling, Spyro was able to glide rather than fly freely (though he was able to fly in special levels and in later games via a temporary powerup).

The series was a hit, but Insomniac left after the third game, partly because they felt that it was difficult to create varied gameplay when the main playable character is a quadruped (Their next series, Ratchet & Clank, made heavy use of gadgets and weapons). The following Spyro games tried to rectify this issue by adding in various gimmicks, such as multiple elemental breaths, combat, and eventually even unlimited free flight.

Activision is the current developer/producer/distributor of the franchise through its Sierra subsidiary.

The series has been rebooted twice (and one could argue the non-Insomniac games in the classic series are in their own continuity as well as they aren't always totally in line with the original trilogy's canon). The first reboot, The Legend of Spyro, was Darker and Edgier, while the second reboot, Skylanders, returned to the lightness of the classic series while also spinning off its own hugely successful franchise and kicking off the "Toys to Life" genre.

The Spyro franchise (both the classics and Legend of Spyro) has a long history of crossing over with the Crash Bandicoot games. Their initial developers, Insomniac and Naughty Dog have been close allies for years. They worked on Spyro and Crash literally right next to each other, in the same room. Jak and Daxter and Ratchet & Clank have a similar relationship for the same reason.

Games:

Additionally, a redesigned Spyro taking traits from both the classic and Legend of Spyro versions serves as the leader of the Skylanders in Activisions's Skylanders series. Originally, the series was going to be called Spyro's Kingdom and star an adult Spyro (though whether this would be classic, Legend of Spyro, or a fresh continuity is unclear) but eventually his role was replaced with Portal Master Eon and Spyro was given another redesign closer in age to his other-continuity counterparts. The focus on Spyro was reduced, with only a couple characters, the iconic sheep, and some references in the games' lore staying in the final game, with Spyro's name being reduced to only the subtitle of the first game: Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure. In the games themselves, Spyro only ever has brief cameos in the cutscenes and is treated as no more or less important than the other Skylanders.

However, the Skylanders spinoff material treats Spyro as the main protagonist and leader of the Skylanders, which means, thanks to Skylanders's popularity, Spyro is beginning to have a starring role outside of video games. He makes prominent appearances in the Skylanders prequel novels and Interquel comics, and, most notably, he's set to be a main protagonist in the upcoming Skylanders TV show, voiced by Justin Long (as opposed to Josh Keaton in the actual games).

Skylanders media that stars Spyro:
  • Video Games:
    • Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure - Despite being the title character, he has no especially prominent role in the story compared to the other Skylanders. The Spyro toy comes with the game's starter pack (Dark Spyro in the 3DS pack).
  • TV shows:
    • Skylanders Academy
  • Novels:
    • Skyanders: The Machine of Doom - Spyro is the main protagonist of this story.
    • Skylanders: Mask of Power series - Each book in this series features a different Skylander as the main protagonist. Spyro is the main protagonist of the first book, Spyro versus the Mega Monsters, and a supporting protagonist in most of the other books. Cynder, who debuted in Legend of Spyro, stars in the fifth book, Cynder Confronts the Weather Wizard.
  • Comic Books:
    • Skylanders - The first twelve-issue comic series, set before Trap Team, fleshes out Spyro's role as leader of the Skylanders. He gives an inspirational speech to a downtrodden Skylander in issue #4, and he and Cynder are given the spotlight in the Return of the Dragon King story arc, which introduces the Skylanders version of Malefor, who was previously the Big Bad of The Legend of Spyro trilogy.
    • Skylanders: Superchargers - This series, set after the Superchargers video game, focuses once again on Spyro's role as leader of the Skylanders and his trouble cooperating with the newly-reformed Kaos.

This game series has Character Sheets for all of the separate continuities, as well as a narm page that covers the classic and Legend of Spyro continuities.
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    All games 

  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: Reversed. The Japanese promotional art tends to give Spyro a cuter design, with smaller proportioning and often lacking his usual sneer seen on Western art. The Japanese version of Season Of Ice even remade the cutscenes with the cuter redesigns.
  • As Long as There Is Evil
  • Big Bad: Each original game really had stand alone Big Bad, but Ripto was a recurring villain. He was ironically the big bad with the least effect on the plot in his original appearance. The Legend of Spyro trilogy had Malefor as the main antagonist, though each game had a villain he was the Man Behind the Man of, Cynder in the first and Gaul in the second, Skabb was also an arc Big Bad in the second. Skylanders has the Portal Master Kaos as the primary enemy, though Hektore takes the lead in the DS version.
  • Bottomless Pit: In the Spyro levels that aren't floating continents.
    • Averted though, in Dawn of the Dragon, due to Spyro and Cynder both being able to fly. If they fall into a Bottomless Pit they'll eventually open their wings, and just hover there until you make them fly out.
  • Continuity Nod: Books describing the original three games can be found in Shadow Legacy.
    • Pretty much the bulk of first two Legend games.
  • Eleventh Hour Superpower: The final battle in Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage! against Ripto himself, and Dark Spyro in The Eternal Night.
  • Evil Minions: Every game has at least one enemy that doesn't fight and only runs and cowers from Spyro...or relentlessly taunt him when they are out of his reach.
  • Kangaroos Represent Australia: Sheila.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: Agent 9. Also an affectionate parody of... a certain spy genre icon.
  • Everything's Better with Penguins: Flying, ex-RAF penguins, would you believe.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Inverted. A lot of the on-screen creatures won't try to attack you. On the other hand, killing both the enemies and the peaceful animals has its own rewards, so in a way, this trope is reversed.
  • Funny Animal: Many of the level inhabitants from the second game onward.
  • Instant Awesome, Just Add Dragons: In meta concept in regards to the originals on the PlayStation, considering all the other games that were released on it at the time.
    • Also in some circles with the first three games, considering that there were several other characters you could play as, it was almost if as Spyro was just there to get you to buy the game.
  • Jerkass: Moneybags. He's well aware that Spyro is the only person that can stop the Big Bad and yet he'll still lower bridges and barricade doors and prevent you from continuing until you pay a small fee...
  • Kill It with Fire: Pretty much all of Spyro's enemies can be killed with his fire breath, with a few exceptions. Sometimes his fire breath needs to be upgraded.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Frequent, often involving Breaking the Fourth Wall.
  • Magic Wand: The fairies' checkpoints; Ripto's scepter
  • The Napoleon: Ripto, obviously. Kaos also qualifies.
    • The UK instruction manual actually mentions Napoleon in Ripto's character bio. He fits the trope that well.
  • Nitro Express: Spyro the Dragon titles have several missions which involve Spyro clearing a path for a character who has lit a bomb and must run it to a destination. Expect much restarting while you learn the path the characters in question take to their destination.
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries: Surprisingly averted, despite the number of furry female characters. Many wear clothing that invokes the image but don't have the organs, except for Bianca, a Lara Croft spoof in Desert Ruins and possibly the Ice Princess.
  • One-Gender Race: Female dragons don't even show up until the hatchlings in Year of the Dragon.
  • 100% Completion: Several Spyro games go beyond 100%.
  • 1-Up: Trophies in the first game, glittering butterflies afterwards
  • Our Dragons Are Different: To the point where the dragons in the original series (Artisan, Peace Keeper, Magic Crafter, Beast Maker, Dream Weaver) are a lot different to the dragons in The Legend of Spyro trilogy, where more emphasis is placed on color and element rather than realm and occupation. There are also the enemy "fire dragons" of The Sorceress's Fireworks Factory which are nothing like anything else in the Spyro games.
  • Our Fairies Are Different: Act as checkpoints, for one thing.
  • Parental Bonus: Both done by Insomniac and Sierra:
    • The Legend of Spyro trilogy had Malefor being voiced by Mark Hamill, who was Luke Skywalker in Star Wars.
    • Year of the Dragon is full of Parental Bonus. Moneybags' comment regarding Sgt. Byrd and how 'he's pining for the fjords' and the references to games like Tomb Raider and Doom, for example.
  • Plot Coupon: Dragon Statues, Talismans, Dragon Eggs, Dragonflies, and Light Gems, just to name a few.
  • Redshirt Army: Not only does Spyro have to help out the hummingbird army in Year of the Dragon, but also in Season of Ice. Admittedly these are two different divisions of the Redshirt (or Rubythroat) Army, but that still doesn't say good things about their effectiveness.
  • Road Runner PC: While dashing, Spyro moves very fast.
  • Shout-Out: Many missions of Year of the Dragon have names which refer to other games, including Doom, Tomb Raider and Crash Bandicoot. In the Tomb Raider level, there's even a character named Tara, one letter off from Lara, and she's essentially a mouse wearing the same exact outfit as Lara Croft.
    • One cutscene in in the first game has Spyro saying "You gotta believe!".
    • In A Hero's Tail, the character Mergatroid (in Red's Laboratory) is the most blatant Shout-Out ever. He's a fat robot, wearing a red cap, red shirt and blue overalls... And the cap and overalls have a giant letter M on them. Make it more obvious, why don't you?
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World
  • Suddenly Voiced: Crush and Gulp in Enter the Dragonfly, Sparx in Year of the Dragon.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Female dragons have long eyelashes and wear collars, at least one of the babies even has bows on her horns. The two villainesses of Year of the Dragon possess eye shadow.
  • Theme Naming: Spyro, Ember, and Flame the dragons; all the fireflies, many of the level inhabitants.
  • Training Dummy: The sticks of the Gladiator Training Arena of Sunny Villa. The first two "Legend Of" game have living movie dummies.
  • Unnecessary Roughness: The hockey minigames generally involve using Spyro's breath weapon on the opposition.
  • Vague Age: Spyro is implied to be twelve at the time of the third game. The games are implied to not follow Comic-Book Time, and Spyro does mature in appearance and voice over the original series. Other dragons that are implied to be his age sound noticeably younger then him in A Hero's Tail so he's probably in his young teens, sixteen at most. Still, eggs are apparent in that game despite the fact that they only arrive once every twelve years. Subverted in The Legend of Spyro trilogy, as Spyro is confirmed to be twelve at the start of the first game.
  • Videogame Cruelty Potential: If there are cute, cuddly animals roaming a level, chances are, Spyro can kill them for health. They are actually called "fodder".
  • Video Game Flight: Spyro has always been able to fly. However, because he's so young and his wings haven't fully grown, he could only ever glide without the assistance of magic until Dawn of the Dragon, which let him and Cynder fly freely.
  • What Might Have Been: A rush to finish Enter the Dragonfly for Christmas led to the permanent tarnishing of the series in the eyes of many fans and critics. It was originally planned to feature both Gnasty Gnorc and Ripto as villains, with about 25 levels. However, the Christmas rush meant that Gnasty Gnorc had to be cut out, and the number of levels was reduced to just nine - and unlike the preceding games, there was only one hub-world, rather than several separate homeworlds. In addition the rush left the game glitch-heavy and slow. On the whole, this spelt for a pretty unpopular game. But that wasn't the end of it. The format which had made the game so successful, and attempted again in Enter the Dragonfly, was heavily modified for the next game, A Hero's Tail, and even moreso for the subsequent reboot, Legend of Spyro. While these games were certainly regarded as an improvement on the travesty of Enter the Dragonfly, the series would never again reach the heights of the classic trilogy.
    • Skylanders was originally going to be called Spyro's Kingdom and would have had an adult Spyro as an NPC, replacing Eon. This was changed when the developers decided they would rather have Spyro be a playable character.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: The real word that Spyro comes from is actually spelled with an i (Spiro). Though it might be from a combination of the Greek word "pyro" (meaning "fire") and the Latin "spiro" (meaning "to breathe"), making it a Meaningful Name.

    The classic trilogy 
  • Absent-Minded Professor: The Professor
  • Alien Sky: Most levels have some truly gorgeous backdrops, including celestial phenomena like nebulae and other planets.
  • Always Lawful Good: Fairies are said to always be on Spyro's side in the first game and he always has altruistic motives, at least when the plot gets into gear.
  • Badbutt: Spyro is a prime example, as are Hunter, Sheila and Agent 9.
  • Bag of Spilling: Mostly averted in Spyro's case in Year of the Dragon. He's still able to swim, climb ladders and headbash, but he doesn't keep the Superflame ability awarded for 100% Completion (though it's for the best that he doesn't).
    • Played straight for Sparx in the same game. He forgets how to point to uncollected gems by holding down the shoulder buttons, but can relearn the ability in the second Sparx bonus level.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Moneybags, the resident greedy bastard of the series. Also the crystal bear enemies of Crystal Islands.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Don't call Gnasty Gnorc ugly.
    • Calling Ripto short isn't wise either.
    • Also, don't harm Spyro's friends in front of him unless you want to be on the wrong end of his flame breath.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • Spyro's name is a combination of the Latin spīrō (I breathe) and the Greek πῦρ (transliterated "pyr"; fire).
    • Some of the dragon hatchlings' names in Year of the Dragon have special meanings of their own. For example, the dragon in the egg held by the first thief in Molten Crater is named Moira, which means "fate" in Greek.
  • Boss Arena Recovery:
    • Most of the bosses will have sheep drop down occasionally to replenish health.
    • It should be noted that one boss in the second game (Gulp) can, and if you're not fast, will eat small creatures and regain health.
  • Breath Weapon: Spyro is a dragon, after all.
  • Bullying a Dragon: At least half of the enemies tease Spyro in some way or form despite not being able to last long if he turns his horns or flames against them.
  • Butt Monkey: Hunter. He has has his feet locked in solid rock, thrown into a wall, stuck in a hole, battered with attacks aimed at Spyro, being kidnapped, etc...
  • Camera Centering: In passive camera mode
  • The Chew Toy: Moneybags. He deserves it though.
  • Circling Birdies: Spyro sees stars if he takes damage.
  • Cute Bruiser:
    • Handel and Greta.
    • Especially Greta in the Firework Factory level; she whooped those ninjas' asses!
  • Deadpan Snarker: Spyro can be this at times.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Bianca. She wears less and less clothing throughout Year of the Dragon as this happens; she starts off in a cloak and ends up in a halter top.
  • Degraded Boss: Buzz, the first boss in the third game, reappears as one of the Mooks the third boss, Scorch, spits out from an egg.
  • Egg McGuffin: The Egg Thieves take this trope and run with it.
  • Escort Mission: The alchemist in the second game and the firefly twins in the third.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Ripto and the Sorceress.
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence: You're killing things all the time, even children (think of the Breeze Builder Chicks) and random animals to get butterflies from. At times it seems like cartoon violence, but you're obviously roasting and breaking beings. Their spirits appear at times. Death is also a common joke in cutscenes.
  • Fat Bastard: Moneybags
  • Floating Continent: A lot of the levels seem to be floating in the sky, so falling off the edge of the world will send Spyro plummeting into a blue abyss.
  • Follow the Money: the gems in the first three Spyro games would often indicate hidden treasures and passageways.
  • Freelook Button: Can be used for aiming the rocks and such Spyro can spit in the latter two.
  • Free Rotating Camera: With the shoulder buttons, upgraded Sparx can be used with them to track down treasure.
  • Furry Confusion:
    • Bianca is an anthropomorphic rabbit in a game where Spyro kills rabbits for health, and sometimes she'll appear in the very same level as the rabbit fodder. Try not to think about it too much.
    • The Sorceress used a rabbit fodder to create the first Boss in Year of the Dragon...
    • There are the Funny Animals, then there are non-anthropomorphic animals that appear to have at least some anthro behaviors.
    • Sunny Beach in the second game has funny animals and animalistic animals side-by-side, without the animalistic ones acting as fodder. You are asked by a talking turtle, sitting in its own shell like a chair, to guide three shell-less, running baby turtles to the other side of the level. But to get them there, you have to open gates by pushing completely turtle-like turtles onto floor switches. Each orb quest in the level involves freeing baby versions of these same turtle-like turtles.
  • Gotta Collect Them All: Frozen dragons and dragon eggs in the first game, talismans and orbs in the second game, dragon eggs again in the third game, and of course the gems through the entire trilogy.
  • Götterdämmerung: The Sorceress forced the dragons out of what is now known as the Forgotten Worlds a thousand years prior, causing them to take residence on the other side of the world and restore their society there. Little did she know, though, that the dragons were the key to the magic of the Forgotten Worlds...
  • Green Hill Zone: All of the games feature one of these as the first Home World.
  • Grimy Water: ALL the water in Spyro 1, just the weirdly colored water in Ripto's Rage! and Year of the Dragon.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Spyro himself. From "Ripto's Rage" onward, the speedway levels usually have him terrorizing otherwise friendly characters, and then going back to benevolence in either its secret mission or back in the regular levels.
  • Honest John's Dealership: Moneybags usually does sell products that work but he doesn't always sell to those who can actually make use them, which they naturally don't learn until after the purchase when he's nowhere to be found.
  • Iconic Sequel Character: Ripto was the Big Bad of the second game. Not in the trilogy but in the later games not made by Insomniac. Hunter appeared in the same game, staying a major character in the next Insomniac game and in the majority of the series after, enough to even make it into the Legend series.
  • Interspecies Romance:
    • The original trilogy is full of this. Spyro the dragon is implied to have a thing for Elora the faun, Hunter the cheetah falls in love with Bianca the rabbit (which adds Carnivore Confusion to the mix), and Sgt. Byrd the flying penguin falls in love with a very humanoid fairy, and that's only naming a few.
    • Princess Ami of the fairies and Prince Azrael of the cat wizards. The fairies and wizards won't accept their relationship (in fact, the fairies mislead Spyro into thinking Ami has been abducted against her will, and must be saved). The two decide to elope, riding a magical flying motorcycle to the sunset.
    • There's also Romeo and Juliet, a Land Blubber (giant purple grub) and a bird, in Zephyr.
  • Lull Destruction: The Japanese version of the first two games had added voice acting for whenever Spyro jumped or dashed.
    • The cutscenes had a bit of this as well. Compare the Japanese version to the original version to see how much added dialogue there is. For starters, Sparx can talk.
    • The cutscenes that played at the beginning and the end of each level definitely had this.
  • Mascot with Attitude: During the original trilogy especially; there were even ads with Spyro "beating" Mario.
  • The Napoleon: Ripto, Spyro even taunts him about his height.
  • Palmtree Panic: Sunny Beach in Spyro 2, and Seashell Shore in Year of the Dragon.
  • Pass Through the Rings: In the speedway levels. "Year Of The Dragon" adds blue stars that increase Spyro's flying speed with a spin and red stars that grant him a homing rocket.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse:
  • Pop-Star Composer: Stewart Copeland did the music for the original trilogy, with some help from Ryan Beveridge in the 3rd.
  • Portal Network: The setting is made up of various distinct locations whose populations make heavy use of portals to get between them. The first game had Spyro exit levels through whirlwinds though. Spyro also glides through portals, suggesting they are useless to those without good jumping ability and don't immediately deposit people to the intended goal.
  • Power-Up Magnet: Sparks the dragonfly, mainly by grabbing gems.
  • The Professor: The Professor of course!
  • Starcrossed Lovers:
    • Romeo the landblubber and Juliet the breezebuilder in Zephyr in "Spyro 2"
    • In Year of the Dragon, Princess Ami of the fairies and Prince Azrael of the cat wizards in Charmed Ridge. The two eventually run off to elope.
  • Schizo Tech: Medieval elements in the first three games are used quite a lot, but there's also domed robot cities (Metropolis) and metal cities on the ocean (Metro Speedway) as well as smaller-scale technology mixes like electric floors in an area where the dragons still live on stilts in the swamp. It's quite rampant in the series.
  • Sequence Breaking: The "double jump" bug in the second game allows for massive amounts of this.
  • Shifting Sand Land: Cliff Town and Dry Canyon (as well as the Peace Keepers homeworld) in Spyro the Dragon, Scorch in Spyro 2, and Desert Ruins in Year of the Dragon.
  • Shout-Out
    • An odd one in Year of the Dragon to Never Cry Wolf, a book by Farley Mowat. An NPC named Mowat has you look for his pet wolf, Farley. At one point he says "Don't cry, wolf. Never cry, wolf!"
    • Upon rescuing Tomas in Gnorc Cove
    • In the third game Spyro gives us this line: "The rumors of our extinction were greatly exaggerated".
    • The second game has one of the wizards in the Cloud Temples stage claiming that he knew the magic words to take Spyro straight to Dragon Shores: "Klaatu, barada, ni- nuh- na... Never mind."
    • In Year of the Dragon, there's a side mission as Agent 9, which is entirely a first-person shooter. The description in the atlas to get the egg for completing this is called "You're Doomed!"
    • Again in YOTD, if you don't pay Moneybags to let Sgt.Byrd out, he tells you, surprisingly, "You better hurry, I think he's pining for the fjords."
    • Later on, he also tells you "Don't make a wizard angry, I might just have to turn you into a blue hedgehog
    • At one point in the third game you meet Lara Croft
    • Still in Year Of The Dragon, in the Charmed Ridge, the catpeople's prince is named "Azrael". Now, where else can we see a brown cat named Azrael ?...
  • Some Kind Of Forcefield: Some realms use these to keep Spyro in the level proper. They are marked with small structures placed every few yards, presumably acting as fenceposts to the barrier itself. If Spyro charges into an invisible barrier, he'll be knocked back as if he hit a wall, and the spot that he hit will flash for a second afterward.
    • Funnily enough, cheating, glitching, or otherwise managing to get Spyro higher than he can manage during normal gameplay shows that these barriers aren't very tall, and the land behind them remains solid for a pretty good stretch of space before it ends.
  • Sugar Bowl: Pretty much played straight in the first three games, although with a dish of attitude. It's gone by the time Sierra stepped in though.
  • Super Drowning Skills: In the first game. Also applies to any non-clear water in later games.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Once Spyro learns how to swim in the second game, he can stay underwater indefinitely. The baby dragons rescued in the third game can do it from birth.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change
    • Played with in Ripto's Rage with some of the minigames, becomes incredibly prevalent in Year of the Dragon. Year of the Dragon included game mechanics like skate parks, speedways, first-person shooter levels, different vehicles, different playable characters with different game mechanics, and at least one minigame in each level. Compare this to the first Spyro the Dragon game, which only had the Speedways.
  • Video Game Lives: Tied to Dynamic Difficulty in the third game, not dying makes the game harder, losing too many lives makes 100% completion impossible.

    The games released between the classic and The Legend of Spyro trilogies 
  • Breakout Villain: Ripto and his goons were revived and became Spyro's Arch-Enemy for many games of this era. Gnasty Gnorc also made a few more minor returns.
  • Crossover: Spyro Orange: The Cortex Conspiracy with Crash Bandicoot. Spyro also cameoed in Crash Twinsanity and was an unlock able racer in Crash Nitro Kart.
  • Fetch Quest: Pretty much all of the games, but Spyro: Attack of the Rhynocs is especially bad at this, to the point where the entire gameplay is just fetching items to fetch other items to fetch the World Hearts.
  • Mook Carryover: Ripto takes over the rhynocs, who were first the minions of The Sorceress.
  • Oddball in the Series: Spyro Orange: The Cortex Conspiracy looks and plays jarringly different from the other portable titles, being a Crossover mini game title made by a different developer.
  • Promoted to Playable: Hunter, despite being a prominent ally, was an NPC for most of the series outside a few vehicle mini games. He finally becomes fully playable in A Hero's Tail.
  • Same Character, but Different: While not as blatant as the Legend series, A Hero's Tail made a light reboot of the series, where several characters were altered and redesigned significantly. Since it was the final mainstream game before the Legend series however, the retool didn't take on for very long.

Alternative Title(s): Spyro, Spyro The Dragon

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