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Prodigy Melds Collectible Miniatures With Video Games, But This Time For Adults



When Activision first announced Skylanders, few realized how big the now $2 billion franchise would be. It, and its new rival, Disney Infinity, are great for all ages, but they are targeted more precisely at young players. Figurine modeler Jean Bey, who has an extensive history in miniature games, and his Hanakai Studio are blending is wonderfully detailed creations with a strategy RPG experience.

For anyone even the slightest bit familiar with other "toys to life" games, the language of figures interacting with a "portal" is commonplace. Prodigy adds a third component, cards that also feature near-field communication. These are used to trigger actions in the game, similar to the generic command cards used in Sony's Eye of Judgment on the PS3.

The portal isn't a simple surface like that of the youth-oriented games. Instead, it is a larger rectangle that is divided by underlighting into three rows of four spaces each. Figures come in two core varieties: larger guardians and humanoid watchers.



My demo consisted of a simple one-vs-one match that was stripped down to its core mechanics as a tech and basic gameplay demo. Each figure has an attack, defense, and special ability, all of which are activated by placing different cards on the game board.

In the full game, players will need to capture mana to power special abilities by maneuvering their guardians to randomly selected squares. Players will also be able to "reinforce" their side by swapping in different figures mid-battle. Most matches will use seven to nine miniatures on each side.

In addition to the competitive mode, Prodigy will have a full single-player RPG campaign. NPC interactions are also handled by the miniature and card selection. For instance, when engaging a neutral NPC, you might choose to be intimidating by using a warrior and an attack card. Alternatively, you might sneak past using an archer and the will card.



The RPG will feature persistence and growth for your collection. The figures will level up and learn new abilities throughout the adventure.

Bey tells us that the computer screen is simply an extension of the game board, and the mouse and keyboard will never be required. The digital version of the game is running on Unreal Engine 4 and looks stunning. The in-game models accurately reflect the detail and precision of gorgeous miniatures.

Prodigy is headed for a Kickstarter campaign beginning on April 2, and Bey says that when it arrives at retail, the Prodigy starter kit will be reasonably and comparably priced. It will include three miniatures, eight cards, and a ring of power used for simple functions in-game (as of now).



As a fan of Skylanders, the idea of a mature game featuring stunning miniatures appeals to me. I still need to see more, including a multiplayer game played with the full rule set and examples of how the single-player campaign will work in practice.

I'm sufficiently intrigued, even if the miniatures were simply shelf warmers (yes, they are that beautiful). We'll have more on Prodigy as its development progresses.

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Comments
  • I doubt this will take off with adults. I enjoy games, but I'm not going to have a figurine collection to play one.
  • And with this, we are one step closer to the world of Yu-gi-oh. Eh..I dunno what I'm talking about >.>...
  • Looks awesome, but it sure won't sell well. The market is getting too many peripherals ("portal," whatever) that aren't able to communicate with each other; the developers have sacrificed interoperability, and with it the hope for a large consumer base. I still believe the whole industry, Activision, Disney, etc should join together with Hasbro or somebody to make a single, dedicated platform that will work with different software - much like games and consoles. Rather than buy multiple expensive portals that do the same thing with different brands, I'd rather have one that lets me play with both Spyro and Jack Sparrow...and whatever the hell that hot elf is called. Sure, this specific game wouldn't have been able to do its 3x4 grid, but they'd have figured a way around that.
  • 2014, the Year of the Bandwagon. Virtual Reality. Now miniature based software. Next will be...?
  • Comparatively, this looks like they are dumbing down gameplay and making the controls more complicated and expensive... the proverbial 3 steps back I would say.

  • Swing and a miss! Just make a mature themed skylanders type of game, don't make me waste money on silly cards.
  • Looks freaking awesome! That said, I still maintain that this will be like Infinite and Skylanders: the video game version of smack. Sure it doesn't look that pricy when you pick it up, but $1,0000 or so later and you start to wonder what you're doing with your life...if you're lucky, that is. I've never dropped any coin on these overly flashy and to some extent gaudy games...no matter how cool I think they are! :-D

  • Why hasn't Warhammer jumped on this?

  • This looks really interesting! A few questions naturally arise, mainly does the studio have the resources to keep up with things like Skylanders. Considering that most of the people I have ever met that enjoy Skylanders and Disney Infinity are adults and not children, having an adult-centered platform seems a no-brainer. I'll be watching the kickstarter with interest.

  • Oh great. This is what I fear.

    Just wait until Pokemon does it. Then I'm truly screwed.

  • Looks really interesting. Of course, I will need more information before I am sold on a game with figurines, as that could put a dent in my wallet.

  • Others may be complaining but I think it looks pretty damn cool, then again, I'm easily impressed.

  • I want this game now! think I found my first kickstarter I'm going to back...

  • this looks amazing

  • Dubious about games that feature this system. I'll wait and see before I make a decision, personally.

  • I'm not really interested in this type of game, but dang those figures are incredible. I hope this finds success.

  • Can't believe i'm saying this but I am really liking the sound of this it might even be the first game I back on Kickstarter.
  • Can't believe i'm saying this but I am really liking the sound of this it might even be the first game I back on Kickstarter.
  • I really enjoy games! That's really awesome.

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