Skylanders

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Skylanders
Skylanders logo.png
Genres Platform
Role-playing
Developers Toys For Bob (2011–2012, 2014–)
n-Space (2012–2013)
Beenox (2013, 2015)
Publishers Activision (2011–)
Square Enix (2013) (Japan)
Platforms iOS, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo 3DS, OS X, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One
First release Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure
October 13, 2011
Latest release Skylanders: SuperChargers
September 25, 2015

Skylanders is a toys-to-life[1][2] video game series published by Activision. Games in the series are played by placing character figures called the Skylanders on the "Portal of Power", a device that reads the figures' tags through NFC and "imports" the character represented by the figure into the game as a playable character.

A few of the Skylanders available for play include Spyro the Dragon and Cynder, both of which were previously included in The Legend of Spyro series. Skylanders is otherwise unrelated to the series.

Plot[edit]

The game's setting is a world called Skylands, a realm filled with magic and floating islands. Using their magical powers and machinery, a band of heroes called the Skylanders defended their world for generations from various threats. For generations, they worked with the Portal Masters in keeping peace and balance in their world, battling the forces of darkness, and protecting the Core of Light. The Skylanders have an unbreakable bond with their Portal Masters. Though they are not servants, the Skylanders chose to serve their Portal Master and do so eagerly. Each Skylander is associated with one of the ten elements of Skylands: Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Magic, Tech, Life, Undead, Light, or Dark.

The main plot is the Skylanders going through levels to prevent Kaos, the series' main antagonist, from ruling over Skylands.

The console versions of each game follow identical storylines, while the Nintendo 3DS versions follow stories different from those of the console versions.

Figures[edit]

In addition to the standard figures, there are variants such as "Dark Spyro" for Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure and "Punch Pop Fizz" for Skylanders: Giants, both exclusives for the Nintendo 3DS versions of the respective game, "legendary" variants (exclusive to Toys "R" Us in the US) "Nitro" variants (exclusive to Target in the US) and "chase" variants which are just an aesthetic difference on the figure with no in-game difference.

The second game introduced the "Giants," larger Skylanders who can lift trees and boulders, move islands, and other stuff normal Skylanders can't do. There is also Series 2 versions of the returning characters that featured a new exclusive upgrade called a Wow Pow Power as well as the ability to switch upgrade path, and "lightcore" figures which light up while on the portal and have a light bomb attack when first entered into the game level.

The third game of the series, Swap Force, introduces the "SWAP Force" figures with the ability to switch top and bottom halves, as well as returning characters featuring an additional Wow Pow ability.

Skylanders: Trap Team, the fourth game of the series, was officially announced on April 23, 2014, on the Skylanders Game Facebook page with a new official trailer, and it was released on October 5, 2014. This installment introduces the Trap Master Skylanders, characters who wield big weapons made of traptanium, and traps that allow capturing of enemies in the game and playing as them.[3]

On February 5, 2015, Activision announced that a fifth Skylanders game was in development. It is currently scheduled to be released in the fall. It was later listed on Amazon as 'Skylanders: Superchargers'. On June 3, 2015 Activision announced Skylanders: SuperChargers release date was on September 20, 2015.[4][5] This installment introduced the SuperChargers where they ride special vehicles and it's members consist of past Skylanders who can now ride vehicles and SuperChargers Skylanders who are exclusive to the video game. Two characters included are Nintendo characters Donkey Kong and Bowser. They have announced with it a card game called Battlecast for iOS and Android where battle cards of Skylanders and villains can be scanned into the game and fight. It will have PVP. In 2016, it will be released with starter card packs along with small booster packs.

So far, the only character to have a new figure developed for every game has been Gill Grunt. In his first four iterations, he was a ranged character with a harpoon gun and water blaster (acting like a flame-thrower type weapon), and in Skylanders: SuperChargers, he was reimagined as a melee fighter using a Trident.

Universe[edit]

Characters[edit]

Locations[edit]

Skylands is the main setting of the series, a world lying at the very center of the universe where Spyro now calls home after joining a group of heroes known as the Skylanders.

Innovation[edit]

In 2011, Skylanders Spyro's Adventure was the second video game to introduce the "Toys to life" concept, after U.B. Funkeys in 2007.[6] With each new release, Activision added new innovations to the concept. With Giants, Lightcore figures were introduced. These toys light up when they are placed over the Portal of Power. With Swap Force, the new characters can separate their body and legs and mix with other characters to create unique combinations. With Trap Team, you can trap the villains of Skylands (including Kaos) and play as them to fight the forces of Evil and two new elements called Light (shaped like a sun) and its opposite, Dark (shaped like a crescent moon). With "Superchargers", Vehicles were introduced to the series. Players could also do online racing and online co-op adventure mode.

Music[edit]

Lorne Balfe has composed the soundtracks to all the Skylanders games thus far, while Hans Zimmer composed the main theme.

Games[edit]

Title Details

2011 – Microsoft Windows, Nintendo 3DS, OS X, PlayStation 3, Wii, Xbox 360, Wii U (Japan)
Notes:
  • Developed by Toys For Bob and published by Activision.
  • The only Spyro or Skylanders game on personal computer.
  • The only Skylanders installment to have a Japanese release in addition to having an exclusive unique Wii U port.



2012 – Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 3, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360
Notes:
  • Developed by Toys For Bob and published by Activision.



2013 – Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 3, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Notes:
  • Developed by Vicarious Visions and published by Activision.



2014 – Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Notes:
  • Developed by Toys For Bob and published by Activision.



2015 – iOS, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Notes:
  • Developed by Vicarious Visions and published by Activision.


Books[edit]

Title Details
Skylanders Universe: The Machine of Doom

2012 – Paperback, Hardcover, Digital
Notes:
  • Originally fulled titled as: Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure: The Machine of Doom.
  • Written by Onk Beakman, published by Activision.
  • Serves as a prequel to the Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure video game.


Skylanders Universe: Spyro versus the Mega Monsters

2013 – Paperback, Hardcover, Digital
Notes:
  • Written by Onk Beakman, published by Activision.
  • A direct-sequel to Skylanders Universe: The Machine of Doom and set to be the first in the Mask of Power series, to the Skylanders novel series.


Skylanders Universe: Gill Grunt and the Curse of the Fish Master

2013 – Paperback, Hardcover, Digital
Notes:
  • Written by Onk Beakman, published by Activision.
  • Second book in the Mask of Power series, to the Skylanders novel series, and third Skylanders novel overall.


Skylanders Universe: Lightning Rod Faces the Cyclops Queen

2013 – Paperback, Hardcover, Digital
Notes:
  • Written by Onk Beakman, published by Activision.
  • Third book in the Mask of Power series, to the Skylanders novel series, and fourth Skylanders novel overall.



In other media[edit]

IDW Publishing[edit]

IDW Publishing created a comic series associated with the Skylanders franchise that has events that take place in between the games.[7]

Possible film[edit]

Activison has commented on the possibility of a movie and TV series based on the Skylanders reboot as something that they could look into in the future.[8] On May 6, 2014, Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg announced that the Activision team had an interest in "jumping on the film adaptation bandwagon" and adapting Skylanders into a film.[9]

TV series[edit]

At an Investor Day presentation on November 6, 2015, Activision Blizzard announced the formation of Activision Blizzard Studios, a film production subsidiary dedicated to creating original films and television series. Headed by former The Walt Disney Company executive Nick van Dyk, Activision Blizzard Studios would look to produce an adapting Skylanders into a film and television series; the latter being called Skylanders Academy, which is set to air in Q2 2016.[10]

Reception[edit]

Aggregate review scores
As of 1 October 2013.
Game GameRankings Metacritic
Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure (PC) 93.00%[15]
(3DS) 84.29%[16]
(X360) 80.95%[17]
(Wii) 80.18%[18]
(PS3) 79.23%[19]
(3DS) 82[11]
(Wii) 81[12]
(X360) 78[13]
(PS3) 77[14]
Skylanders: Giants (X360) 81.58%[25]
(PS3) 78.64%[26]
(WIIU) 78.17%[27]
(Wii) 77.57%[28]
(3DS) 63.10%[29]
(X360) 80[20]
(WIIU) 80[21]
(Wii) 78[22]
(PS3) 77[23]
(3DS) 59[24]
Skylanders: Swap Force (WIIU) 88.44%[35]
(Wii) 88.00%[36]
(X360) 84.68%[37]
(PS3) 83.93%[38]
(XONE) 80.00%[39]
(PS4) 79.67%[40]
(3DS) 72.79%[41]
(WIIU) 89[30]
(X360) 83[31]
(PS3) 83[32]
(PS4) 79[33]
(3DS) 68[34]
Skylanders: Trap Team (WIIU) 84.00%[45]
(XONE) 79.74%[46]
(PS4) 77.94%[47]
(3DS) 60.00%[48]
(WIIU) 86[42]
(XONE) 78[43]
(PS4) 78[44]

Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure received generally favorable reviews, many praising the technological use of the "Portal of Power". Although some reviewers criticized the absence of online multiplayer, the toys for the Skylanders were widely praised. Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure was nominated for two Toy Industry Association awards: "Game of the Year" and "Innovative Toy of the Year".[49]

Skylanders Giants was released to generally positive reviews. However, the reviews from GameRankings and Metacritic were slightly lower than that of the previous game on some platforms. Cheat Code Central gave the game 9.2/10 and commented that "it feels like someone finally got everything right when creating a sequel," and praising the ability to use the Skylanders toys from the first game in the second.

Skylanders: Swap Force was released to very positive reviews, with the reviews from GameRankings and Metacritic being the highest and most genuinely positive of the series so far across all platforms. Gaming website Quarter To Three gave both the Wii U and Xbox 360 a perfect score of 5/5. Video Game website Gaming Age gave the PlayStation 3 version the highest grade of an "A" and further commented that "Whether you’re a Skylanders fan or a gamer who’s looking for a charming and unique family-friendly game series to get into, Skylanders SWAP Force comes highly recommended."

Skylanders: Trap Team was released to positive reviews. However, the reviews from GameRankings and Metacritic were slightly lower than that of the previous game on most platforms with only the IOS/Tablet version receiving the highest score.

As of February 2015, the Skylanders series has crossed the threshold of $3 billion in sales, with 175 million toys sold since 2011, making the series one of the top 20 highest-selling video game franchises of all time.[50][51] As of 2015, over 250 million toys were sold.[52]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Martens, Todd. "Toys-to-life gaming at E3 is set to land big, but t all child's play". LA Times. Retrieved June 14, 2015. 
  2. ^ Williams, Katie (May 4, 2015). "Toys-To-Life Are Gaming's Hottest-selling Accessory of 2015". IGN. Retrieved June 14, 2015. 
  3. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8T78t9iRjs
  4. ^ http://www.forbes.com/sites/andyrobertson/2015/06/03/skylanders-superchargers/2/
  5. ^ "Activision confirms Skylanders 5, Call of Duty 2015, "unannounced intitatives" during quarterly presentation". Warp Zoned. 5 February 2015. Retrieved 5 February 2015. 
  6. ^ "Mattel Knows How Today's Kids Play - from Imaginative, Unstructured Play to Get-up-and-Go, Active Play to Techno-Inspired, Interactive Play". BNET. 2007-02-08. Retrieved 2009-11-01. 
  7. ^ http://www.idwpublishing.com/skylanders/
  8. ^ http://www.videogamer.com/xbox360/skylanders-giants/news/skylanders-movie-and-tv-series-is-a-possibility-says-activision.html
  9. ^ "Activision Is Interested in Making a Skylanders Movie". Nintendolife.com. 2014-05-06. Retrieved 2014-05-09. 
  10. ^ "Activision Blizzard Launches Activision Blizzard Studios to Create Original Film and TV Content Based on Iconic, Globally-Recognized Franchises". BusinessWire.com. 2015-11-06. 
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  46. ^ "Skylanders: Trap Team Reviews". GameRankings. Retrieved 1 October 2013. 
  47. ^ "Skylanders: Trap Team Reviews". GameRankings. Retrieved 1 October 2013. 
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  49. ^ Appell, Adrienne. "Toy Industry Unveils Nominees for 2012 Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards; Announces Inductees into Toy Industry Hall of Fame". Toy Industry Association. 
  50. ^ Dyer, Mitch. "Skylanders in 'Top 20' Game Franchises Ever, 175 Million Toys Sold". IGN. 
  51. ^ http://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/archive/2015/02/05/skylanders-is-now-a-3-billion-franchise.aspx
  52. ^ Makuch, Eddie (June 3, 2015). "Skylanders Reaches 250 Million Toys Sold, New Game Announced". GameSpot. Retrieved June 3, 2015. 

External links[edit]