Portals of Power? Glowing figurines? An insecure megalomaniac named Kaos? The man behind the Skylanders series explains all.
Skylanders Giants is the magical adventure that brings toy creatures to life on PlayStation 3. Thanks to the Portal of Power, the special peripheral that recognises the toy placed upon it and enables it to dive into the game, the joy of collecting these colourful figures is combined with the thrill of seeing them do battle with fearsome enemies on-screen.
Here, Paul Reiche, president and co-founder of developer Toys for Bob, reveals what to expect.
Can you explain to newcomers the idea behind Skylanders?
The main idea is to combine the physical and virtual realms with an innovative range of intelligent toys, which kids everywhere can magically bring to life in the world of Skylands. By using the mystical Portal of Power, players lead a team of heroic Skylanders in an adventure to save their world, encountering enemies, solving fun puzzles, overcoming hazards and finding a variety of collectable rewards. Skylanders is, above all else, about bringing toys to life in video games.
What's new for Skylanders Giants?
Well, the Giants themselves, which come with special new powers. They are much bigger and far more powerful Skylanders, and the toys themselves light up when placed on the Portal. The Giants can also do things that regular-sized Skylanders can't, like throw boulders at enemies.
We really wanted to refine what was so great about Skylanders Spyro's Adventure and make it even better. For instance, combat is a big part of the game, so we made our enemy encounters far more meaningful by adding depth to the fighting mechanic, with lots of opportunities to use different strategies. We also have LightCore Skylanders, along with some returning favourites from Skylanders Spyro's Adventure.
Our focus was on improving the overall experience of combat in Skylanders Giants. Enemies are smarter and have more varied behaviour. There will still be plenty you can blast through but many require more skill to defeat. And there are tons of interesting combat encounters, like gladiator-style arenas filled with waves of enemies and environmental dangers you have to deal with while fighting them.
Can you tell us more about the new Skylanders, such as the Giant and LightCore creatures?
Skylanders Giants offers more than 20 extra characters, including eight Giants and eight Skylanders, all with new personalities, powers and abilities. The eight LightCore Skylanders will be a mix of new and returning Skylanders, and we'll have more than 20 returning favourites from the original game, called Series 2 Skylanders.
Players will also meet a new race of creatures called the Wilikin. They are a doll-like people who have known the evil Kaos since he was a child, so a little of his backstory will be revealed. They are quite friendly, however.
Who is Kaos?
Kaos was exiled to Earth at the end of Skylanders Spyro's Adventure. He finds a way to return to Skylands though, using a Portal of Power he finds in a toy shop. When he does return, he lands in an ancient part of the world and discovers the remnants of a civilization that ruled Skylands over 10,000 years ago: a race of technological beings called the Arkeyans.
Kaos activates one of the robots and quickly learns that if he can acquire something known as the Iron Fist of Arkus, he can not only reactivate the entire Arkeyan army but also command them. With that kind of power, he would be unstoppable. It's up to the Skylanders to discover the Iron Fist before Kaos does. The original Skylanders and the Giants, who fought the Arkeyans millennia ago, are back to help stop Kaos once again.
What new ways can the Skylanders interact with the Portal of Power?
LightCore Skylanders light up when you place them on or near the Portal of Power. Prism Break, for example, is one of the LightCore Skylanders, so when he is placed on the Portal, all of his crystals light up. The Giants have this feature too.
Will previous Skylanders players be able to use their Portals with this game?
The original Portal will work with Giants and we will sell versions of the game that don't include a Portal, so you don't need to pay for it twice. We realise that people have invested a lot in Skylanders and want that investment to carry over into Giants. All of the Skylanders from the original game will also slot into this new adventure.
Skylanders Giants is out now for PS3. For your chance to win a PS3 system together with a Skylanders Giants Starter Pack, head to eu.playstation.com/competitions before 29th October 2012.