I dig Skylanders. It’s a franchise which not only created a new market within gaming, but perfectly nailed the formula as well. Great toys, great games and something new to experience every year.
This year, the franchise gets super-charged, with new vehicle playsets that bring the power fantasy of cars, bikes, boats and jets to little hands.
“Everything we think about for Skylanders, is about how do we create the next level of universal fantasy for children,” Vicarious Visions co-founder Guha Bala said about the current focus on vehicles in the game.
And each game, we’ve brought some kind of fundamental notion, some kind of unique twist that really resonates with children of all ages.
Vehicles are such a natural fit for that. Some of the first memories that a child has, is riding in the backseat of a car. We wanted to put them in the driver’s seat, but in a totally unique way, in a way that starts with the imagination of a child.
So this is about an over the top vehicle fantasy that takes you on the land and into the sea and into the sky. So when we think about Skylanders, we think about these universal fantasies and a totally different way to deliver on it.
It’s an epic vehicle adventure, a seamless blend of on-foot, going over land with motorcycles and cars, into the sea with boats and submarines, into the sky with jet planes and helicopters.
Skylanders will always be a game aimed at kids. And that’s a good thing. But it won’t just be aimed at the young ones, as older fans are also catered to. And that’s the driving (pun intended) force behind the Vicarious Visions developed Skylander games:
It’s like taking something like vehicles, taking all the awesomeness of customising them, making them uniquely yours, but making them accessible.
So one of the things about Skylanders is, is that you take something like vehicles and make it approachable all the way from a child that may be playing their first video game at five or six years old, and make it super-engaging for the twelve year-olds, you make it super-engaging for the parents as well.
So it’s kind of tapping into that emotion and over-delivering on that.
This is about a vehicle fantasy, it’s not about one style of play. So when you think about a vehicle fantasy, you think “what are all the different ways that I can enjoy my vehicles?”. So it’s a way of offering variety in a super-accessible way in a context that you just don’t see in any other game.
One of the awesome things of being on the creative side of Skylanders, is taking on brand-new creative challenges like that. And so imagining vehicles that have an inspirational relevance to our world and uniquely Skylanders, can only be played in the Skylands, they feel at home.
But at the same time, they handle in a way that’ll be super-fun and offer a kind of variety. So this kind of challenge really inspires us.
The biggest surprise in the game, is the inclusion of certain Nintendo characters. Characters who aren’t Mario or Luigi for once, but Donkey Kong and Bowser.
They’re getting their own chance to shine, and as Vicarious Visions explained to me, the more animalistic side of these characters fitted in perfectly with the Skylanders franchise. According to Bala, it was also their time to shine:
We’ve had this awesome creative collaboration with Nintendo since the beginning of Skylanders, and the idea was to take a couple of characters that were iconic in a certain sense, but totally re-imagine them and feel at home in the Skylands in a totally unique way.
And that’s where DK and Bowser were so attractive for us. Donkey Kong’s really well known, but he hasn’t been in a 3D environment since Donkey Kong 64. So in the current generation of systems, this is a totally unique experience.
His moves are an homage to the classic moves that Donkey Kong has, but the way you employ them here, is unlike any other place.
That’s what the creators of Donkey Kong wanted to do at Nintendo before we collaborated with them on that. Same thing is true for Bowser. He’s never been playable in action role-playing environment like this. So now you can play with him.
Neat. Skylanders: Superchargers is out later this year. I’m already making vroom vroom noises with the toys.
Last Updated: June 25, 2015