For the past five years Skylanders has generally stood out as an amazing franchise that fans cannot get enough of, the game franchise pioneered the Toys to Life genre creating some of the most memorable characters of recent years. What started this all though was Spyro, yes the 90’s birth child or PlayStation landmark helped bring players to the franchise even if Spyro was merely a cliff note in the greater series. Up until this year Skylanders existed as its own self-contained universe, it had no ties to anything else or so we thought. At E3 this year Activision and Nintendo made the big announcement that they had been collaborating to put in special Amiibo’s which combined Nintendo’s characters with the popular franchise and this idea was truly exciting and such a great fit.
For the Wii U, Wii and 3DS versions Nintendo brought us Donkey Kong and Bowser two characters that fit very well with the general aesthetic of the franchise. This decision actually urged me to pick up my Wii U version at launch just so I could play as Donkey Kong in this universe and it got me thinking at how great of a marketing gimmick this was. Nintendo fans would be happy to pay the money and buy a Nintendo version just so they could play as one of the two characters and this gave way to an even deeper thought.
Neither Sony or Microsoft have their own Toy’s to Life brand but both companies get Skylanders on their platforms which gives room for special figures based on their characters. Following up on the Nintendo deal which brought an interesting idea to the franchise and the specific version it dawned on me what if Sony and Microsoft made characters exclusive for their systems version. Let’s face it the Skylanders Superchargers deal was nothing more than a simple gimmick to help sell Nintendo versions because you got a different character that fit into the universe and if I feel this could happen again next year, Nintendo has a number of characters that would fit seamlessly into the Skylanders Universe such as Fox and Slippy. Sony and Microsoft have the characters they could partner with to beat Nintendo at their own game and offer a specific point that would make their version more appealing.
Let’s look at Sony for a minute, in their back pocket they have a lot of franchises that are exclusive to their platform, just to name a few of these you have Ratchet, Daxter, Pecker (from Jak 2 and 3), Sly Cooper and that is just the start. These characters I have mentioned are easily the most fitting for the franchise, and on the whole would fit with the motif of the Skylanders Universe, they are forms of animals, and they have certain interesting aspects. For a PlayStation 4 version just mentioning you could play as Daxter in the next Skylanders game could push the version to sell even more as it will offer a unique console exclusive marketing gimmick as well as offering something different. I would honestly buy the version just to put a cool looking Skylander version of Daxter on my shelf and finally I would see something done with the dormant franchise.
In terms of Microsoft a similar deal would also work, on the whole the company may not have the biggest cast of characters fit for the universe but their acquisitions do. We are at a point now where I see no future hope for some of Rare’s intellectual properties, Banjo Kazooie Nuts and Bolts was just awful, they haven’t done anything new with Conker for a while but the Skylanders Universe could be a beacon of hope for the wayward characters. If you think about it as exclusive Skylanders characters for the Xbox One I could see ones like Banjo, or even Conker (cleaned up of course) as perfect fits for the franchise and as great selling points, there are likely even characters that I haven’t even considered but much like the Wii U this year and the example I gave for the PlayStation 4 it could push the version.
Do I see this happening? No, not really but I can dream and being honest this would be great for a tool to sell other versions and offer something different. Skylanders is a franchise that would welcome some of the more interesting characters in the company’s portfolios and would offer a great opportunity for all those involved. It would be great to see each version house a unique character that fits the system and I hope that Activision considers this in a future Skylanders game.