Skylanders Imaginators Finally Lets You Create Your Own Heroes
For the first time, this year’s Skylanders will let you create your own hero.
Skylanders Imaginators, which Activision will release on October 16 for PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Wii U, will be the first game in the series to feature a character creation tool. This would initially seem to be somewhat at odds with the whole Skylanders paradigm, since the games require the use of “toys-to-life” interactive figurines that represent the characters you play in the game. This one does too, but with a twist—you’ll buy generic, $10 “creation crystal” toys that save the characters you create, one character per toy.
There will also be new standard toy characters for Imaginators, which is developed by original Skylanders creator Toys For Bob. These are tall, $15 figures called “sensei” characters, which in addition to being playable throughout the game will also unlock new techniques and weapons for player-created characters of the same class as the sensei. There will be 31 sensei in total, Activision says.
The creation crystal toys are also specific to the 10 different character classes, so you would have to buy a fire-element crystal in order to create a fire character, for example. When I asked if players who create characters they’re in love with might be able to somehow bring those characters out of the game world, say as 3-D printed figurines that could sit on the shelf, Activision representatives didn’t say yes, but didn’t say no, either.
I saw a demo of the creation mode a few weeks ago, and on the complexity scale where Fallout 4 is on one end and making a Nintendo Mii avatar is on the other, it’s more towards the Mii side of things. You can’t go in and individually sculpt a facial feature—everything is assembled from pre-made heads, limbs and bodies—but there are a wide variety of options to tweak, and you have fine control over the sizes and color schemes of each part.
With Disney having recently dropped out of the game publishing business, it’s difficult to foretell what this will mean for Skylanders. On the one hand, its biggest competitor in the toys-to-life space, Disney Infinity, is gone. On the other hand, what if Disney is right about the toys-to-life space becoming more “challenging” overall? In that case, Skylanders Imaginators might be seen as Activision planning for an era in which its own character toys become less important to the success of the franchise.