Like taxes, iPhones and, well, Madden, you can count on a new Skylanders game every year. If you're unfamiliar with the franchise, that may just be a symptom of not being around kids -- the toy / video game series is a dominant force in the kids gaming market, sharing responsibility with biggies like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft for bringing in 80 percent of Activision's earnings in 2013. Each new entry in the game series comes with a new physical device for reading toy figurines; when said figurines are placed on the device (called a "portal"), they're transported into the game world and playable in-game.
Between the figures ($5 - $7 apiece, on average) and the games (anywhere from $7 to $60), it's easy to understand why the franchise is so profitable. Thankfully, the franchise is also lauded by most critics as a pretty decent game, too. The next entry, Skylanders: Trap Team, arrives this October and it's the largest game in the franchise to date.
Skylanders: Trap Team
When Skylanders: Trap Team launches on October 5th in North America (the 10th in Europe), it arrives with a new portal, and also even larger Skylanders figures than before. The hook this time around (beyond the whole "putting a toy from the real world into a game" thing) is the ability to "trap" in-game enemies. Using one of eight "Traptanium Traps" -- that's eight colored real-world toys that must be purchased -- you can "trap" enemies (store the character data from the game). That enemy can then be used in-game, just like a Skylander. This enables players to quickly switch between two characters, one Skylander and one boss character, on-the-fly. There's also a neat interactivity aspect wherein the portal now has a speaker and the boss character, once captured, will comment on the game in real-time.
We spoke with Toys for Bob's Paul Reiche, head of the studio that both created the Skylanders franchise and headed up development of Skylanders: Team Trap. Before you ask: yes, all previous Skylanders toys work with this new one. All the parents in the crowd say "Yay-a!" Reiche (pronounced "Richy") walked us through the new game, the scope of the series, and spoke to the design of the new characters. What's with the new traps? Why are the characters larger? And what the heck is "traptanium"? Allow him to explain in the video above, and get a much closer look at all the new hardware while you're at it.
Video produced by Edgar Alvarez and Daniel Orren.