Skylanders Imaginators – Warriors Of Your Own Design
A day after launching Spyro’s Adventure, the inaugural release in the Skylanders series, developer Toys for Bob was bombarded with a common request from fans. “They wanted to make their own Skylanders,” says Lou Studdert of Activison’s production team. “They sent us art of what their Skylanders looked like, and info on how they played, what they sounded like, and what their catch phrases were. They came up with all of those things that we spend so much time making a Skylander out of; they wanted that power. This year we are giving them that power.”
The ability to create your own Skylanders may sound like a joke, since the survival of this series depends on selling figures, but that’s exactly what Toys for Bob is doing in Skylanders Imaginators. Players can still purchase new characters at retail, but Toys for Bob is hoping they also buy in on a new physical item called the Creation Crystal. When this item is placed on the Portal of Power for the first time, a character doesn’t appear. Instead, you are warped to a character-creation menu where you design your own Skylander. That character’s data is saved to the Creation Crystal, an ordinary-looking glass tube with a small, colored “Imaginite” element inside of it. Only one character can be saved to each Creation Crystal, meaning you need to buy 10 different Crystals if you want to create a character for each of the 10 elemental types featured in the game (each retailing for $9.99).
The creation process begins with the player selecting a battle class from 10 options, such as ninja or smasher. Combining the 10 classes with the 10 elemental types gives players 100 options out of the gate. Next up is the customization phase, which is broken down into body, gear, color, powers, and personality options. These categories give way to a wealth of fun choices. The body sculpting allows players to mix and match heads, arms, legs, chests, eyes, and ears. The options cover the gamut, from bird and bug parts to snow and stink themes. The finer tweaks allow players to alter the size and color of the individual parts, as well as the voice and catch phrase (which can be assembled from a limited selection of words). New customization items are unlocked through loot chests found in the levels, but may also be dropped randomly by enemies. The items that drop are also random, and fall into the common, rare, epic, and mythic categories. Some of the drops are tied specifically to battle classes.
If the proposal of a custom Skylander doesn’t interest you and you’d rather play the game in the traditional way with an action figure created by Toys for Bob, Skylanders Imaginators welcomes 31 new characters called Senseis (retailing for $14.99 each). Standing in at roughly the same height as the Giants and Trap Team figures, the Sensei are some of the most powerful beings in Skylands, and they all favor black and gold outfit colors. They are the only characters capable of unleashing new special attacks called Sky Chi.
We were introduced to three Sensei: Master Kingpen, a giant penguin-like warrior; Master Tri-tip, a triceratops wielding a mace; and Golden Queen, the sorcerer boss from Skylanders Trap Team. She’s joined the Skylanders after being rehabilitated for two years. Studdert says other bosses will likely get figures, and didn’t rule out the idea of Kaos finally getting his due, even though he is the antagonist of this caper.
Outside of the custom characters and Sensei, Skylanders Imaginators follows the same gameplay we’ve seen in all of the other Skylanders games. All of the multiplayer racing content from SuperChargers is included in Imaginators, but the vehicles won’t have any effect on the campaign.