Skylanders: Swap Force interview

2013-11-21 16:38
Guha Bala, President of Vicarious Visions, the studio behind Skylanders: Swap Force.

Guha Bala, President of Vicarious Visions, the studio behind Skylanders: Swap Force.

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Cape Town - News24 had the opportunity to catch up with Guha Bala, the President at Vicarious Visions (the studio behind Skylanders: Swap Force) recently, and asked him a couple of questions about the new rendition of Skylanders that is available on the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Wii, Wii U and Nintendo 3DS, Playstation 4 and Xbox One.

The major selling point of Skylanders: Swap Force, is that you have the ability to interchange your Skylanders. Each of the new Skylanders can detach at the hip and be placed on another Skylander to give it new abilities.

Let's find out how these new Skylanders work, and what you can expect from the game.

So, the first question on my mind, are all the older Skylander figures compatible with the new game? Have they been updated in any way graphically or gameplay wise to keep them relevant in the new game, or will it be all about the new Skylanders?

With Skylanders: Swap Force, we have digitally remastered all of the previous Skylanders toys.  So a player's entire collection will come to life in the new game, better looking than ever before, and with new capabilities.

Old character level caps have been increased from 15 to 20, and all Skylanders now have the ability to jump, which allows us to offer all new level designs.

Speaking about new Skylanders, how many are there in the new game?

We have 16 new Swap Force Skylanders, enabling players to create over 250 new Skylander combinations.  We have 16 all new core Skylanders, 8 Lightcore, and 16 returning fan favourites.

It’s important to say though that fans can finish the new game straight out of the starter pack. If you do want to explore more of the game and bring additional value to your experience, then with each new character the players experience is enhanced, and new areas and puzzles in the game will open up.

The big selling point of the new Skylanders is their ability to swap their bottom and top parts. Are you planning on reintroducing older Skylanders from previous games with the same swap tech?

We don't have plans to offer the swapping capabilities for non-SWAP Force characters, since the capability involves a completely custom design for the character to allow a unique movement type, and that each Swap combination should look great and feel heroic.

Each series of Skylanders has a cool set of capabilities, so swapping will be just for SWAP Force.

How sturdy are the new toys, having parts that can detach and be replaced?

Build quality as well as detail level is very important to us.  That's why we went with the magnetic connection, to minimise wear points and to offer a strong satisfying click with the SWAP Force characters.

The toys are extensively tested for safety and durability.  They are made to be played with.  The detail in the toy is important, since that is the starting point for the child's imagination.  The kids pick up on the smallest details for their own creative play.

How many Skylanders come with the game, and how many do you have to buy separately? Can you choose which ones you want to come with the game, or is that set in stone?

Two SWAP Force Skylanders, Blast Zone and Wash Buckler, and a returning fan favourite, Ninja Stealth Elf, come with the game.

The game can be thoroughly enjoyed and completed with just these three.

The choice of how many more is totally optional, but enhances the experiences, like many toy series.  To thoroughly enjoy building blocks, children can own a few or many. How many is really the family's choice.

Let’s say someone gets the new game and plays with a specific Skylander for a month or two, and finally saves up enough to afford a new one, how is the duration of the game for them to plug in the new Skylander two months later? Will the content be so that you can just pick up and play with the new one, or will you have to start from scratch? 

We have packed in a ton of content in the game.  We often see children playing the game for the whole year, because the experiences changes based on the Skylander the child plays with.

With SWAP Force Skylanders, with every new one the child adds to his/her collection, the number of combinations increases by the power of two. As they save for new Skylanders, they can start playing with that new one wherever they are in the story. 

Skylanders comes out on the new generation Xbox and Playstation, how will the gameplay differ between the newer generation consoles and the old ones? Will the newer generation technology have any extra content or different style of gameplay benefitting from the new tech?

The new consoles, PS4 and Xbox One will both feature advanced graphics features and native 1080p resolution.  For the first time, Skylanders SWAP Force really feels like the child is playing with his/her favourite Blu Ray movie.

Outside of the stunning visuals, we also support Vita Remote Play on PS4. With their PS Vita, players can play away from their TVs and consoles.  With both, we support social sharing of game clips with friends.

However, the core design of mixing and matching and immersive co-operative play is built upon the success of current generation games.

Thanks for your time Guha, we hope to be playing Skylanders: Swap Force soon.

To find out more about Skylanders: Swap Force, visit their website here.

* Keep an eye out on News24, as we will be doing a review of Skylanders: Swap Force.

Read more on:    gaming

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