Where Disney Infinity delivers a series of small self-contained stories and LEGO Dimensions is just getting started, the Skylanders series has spent the past five years building an original fictional universe—and tearing it apart.
With toys from all three series littering my desk at any given moment, I think about the blossoming toys-to-life genre a lot. Enough to make an exhaustive comparison of the three core players, but with one key omission—I never really mentioned the games’ stories.
Looking back, it’s likely I didn’t touch on the narrative because one Disney Infinity didn’t really have one outside of its adventure packs, and LEGO Dimensions’ strange cross-reality journey felt more like an excuse to bring all of the assembled properties together.
But by skipping the category altogether I skipped identifying one of Skylanders’ greatest strengths. Over the course of five games we’ve watched heroes like Cali, Hugo and (to a lesser, more annoying extent) Hugo mature through experience. The dynamic trio, with the assistance of the all-powerful wizard Master Eon, have transformed from characters in need of aid to heroes in their own right. That we don’t have toys of these characters is a real shame.
Even more impressive is the series’ main villain, the Invader Zim-sounding Kaos, who’s evolved from generic bumbling bad guy to specific bumbling anti-hero over the past several years. We seen him teased by the other villains, manipulated by a greater evil—we’ve even seen him belittled by his mother, offering some insight into his motivation and character that younger players probably missed.
The series has really come a long way since it took its first, Spryo the Dragon-aided steps into the marketplace five years ago.
In the first in a series of behind-the-scenes videos for Skylanders: Superchargers, the development team shows us exactly home much time and consideration goes into crafting a Skylanders narrative, while giving us a glimpse at just how invested the creators are in the lives of their creations.