Activision’s certainly a tenacious entity, especially when it comes to milking its core franchises. Thanks to Skylanders’ overwhelming popularity, brought about by the magical transfusion of toys and games, it’s become one of the company’s core money earners. It should come as no surprise then that yes, there’s more Skylanders coming. Already.
Coming later this year is Skylanders Swap Force – a new game with a new engine (that finally allows characters to jump!), a new portal of power, and yes, a whole roster of new expensive toys. The big change this time is that the characters are able to be taken apart at the waist and put back together in a mix-and–match style, creating hybrid chimeras.
There will be 16 new Swap Force characters able to be used in this manner. Their upper halves grant them that character’s attacks; while their bottom halves will define movement. Wash Buckler, in the example shown carries the pirate-standard a cutlass and a bubble gun – and uses his octopus legs to move about and climb things. If however, the player deems that rockets might be a better form of propulsion, players are able to attach the lower half of rocket robot Blast Zone. Or vice-versa.
Joining these 16 new Swap Force characters will be 16 new "core" Skylanders, 16 returning characters and eight new "LightCore" figures. And yes, it’ll require a brand new starter pack, which includes two Swap Force characters and a standard core character, plus the new, necessary Portal of Power.
I really love the idea of Skylanders – but this is becoming a bit ludicrous. The last Skylanders game, Giants, was released late last year, and is soon to be usurped by new things that’ll cost a lot of money. And honestly? I just don’t see it doing quite as well as previous games. Skylanders has some rather real competition from Disney, who’ll be bringing a similar concept to life using revered and recognisable characters from its rich history. It’s automatically more collectible – and f the gameplay holds up, could leave Skylanders as little more than a memory.
Skylanders Swap Force is being developed by Vicarious Visions instead of the chaps from Toys for Bob, indicating that Activision will be cycling developers for the franchise, not unlike it does with Call of Duty.
Skylanders; Call of Duty for kids. Although judging by most COD lobbies, Call of Duty is Call of Duty for kids.