The bright, colourful and ultimately kid-focused money-trap Skylanders is probably one of the best games available for younger gamers today. The use of physical toys that come to “life” inside of a videogame is nothing short of genius – and one of my favourite ways to spend a Saturday morning with my kids.
It could have been completely different.
“It was going to be for an older audience, a darker take on it for the next-gen systems,” Toys for Bob’s Alex Ness said to GamesIndustry of the game that eventually became Skylanders. “We worked on some concepts there, but we wanted to go in a different direction and do something more for a younger audience that really rebooted the franchise.”
“But the one that we gravitated towards the most was the one that involved toys. The emotional connection that we have to toys and the representation of our childhoods – it just seemed like the perfect fit,” Ness said.
Honestly? though it might not exactly be the most “core” game around, I’m glad they went the direction they did. It’s a wonderful game – and something even core players could play if they’d only shrug off the “hardcore gamer”mantle for a bit. What might help is that Toys for Bob are the guys who created the rather beloved Star Control and its first sequel (Yes, really) – and that there are a few sly references tucked away in Skylanders.
In a sea of rushed, terrible children’s games it’s really great that there’s something substantial for children to play – even if it does end up costing their parents a damned fortune.