Skylanders Spyro's Adventure was announced on Friday and was met with mixed emotions, especially from the people who were upset at the "discontinuation" of their beloved Guitar Hero and DJ Hero franchises. I bet some of you are still curious as to how this game is going to work though. The premise of using a portal to introduce a real-world toy into a video game sounded intriguing.
Well, this is how it's going to work. The initial purchase will net you a copy of the game, a 'Portal' mat, three figures (there's 32 in total), and a few trading cards. Each toy contains a microchip; when the toy is placed on the portal, the portal reads the chip and the character is rendered into the game.
There is one major difference to this game than any other that you have played on the Xbox 360 previously. Your character data, such as your experience points, gold and improved skills, are saved on the microchip in the toy. Each new toy will start at level one, but can progress as far as level ten.
Every character is assigned to one element (i.e. fire, water, magic etc.) and these elements give the characters special powers. Certain types of characters, such as dragons, are represented in each one. Gamers who collect and use more of the same element or type will increase the power and skills of the other characters in that same group. This is tracked by "automatically associating the toy with the portal to which it is first connected"; it sounds a bit like a license agreement.
The toys can be used in friends' games, and Activision have promised that they will be able to cross platforms. You can place two toys side-by-side on a portal to take part in a two-player co-operative game. For those of you who are getting concerned about how much this is going to cost, Activision have assured players that the game can still be completed if you only own one toy.
Kotaku had exclusive access to a handful of the toys, and have also provided some information about each character:
Primary Attack: Fire Breath
Secondary Attack: Horn Charge
• Spread Fire
• Aerial Head Bash
Bio: Spyro hails from a rare line of magical purple dragons that come from a faraway land few have ever traveled. He has been on many exciting adventures, and has a remarkable knowledge of the different lands he protects, more so than any other Skylander. A strong-willed dragon who is young at heart, Spyro is fearless and brave. A true hero dedicated to defending his world from all things evil.
Primary Attack: Gold Coin Shooters
Secondary Attack: Safe Cracker Bomb
• Pot-of-Gold Bomb
• Super Charged Gold Blasters
• Gold Nugget Slinger
Bio: Trigger Happy is more than his name, it's his solution to every problem. Nobody knows from where he came. He just showed up one day blasting gold coins everywhere with his custom-crafted shooters. Now everyone throughout the lands knows of this crazy goldslinger that will take down any bad guy… usually without bothering to aim.
Primary Attack: Flaming Sword
Secondary Attack: Fire Spirit
• Blue Flame Fury
• Fire Flourish
• Armor Leap
Bio: On his first quest as a knight, Ignitor was tricked by a cunning witch into wearing a magical suit of armor that he was told would resist fire from a dragon. As it turned out, it was made of cursed steel. He journeyed to a dragon's lair where a single blast of fire transformed him into a blazing spirit, binding him to the suit of armor for eternity. Despite this setback, Ignitor remains a spirited knight who is always fired up to protect the lands from evil and find the witch that tricked him.
Primary Attack: Harpoon Gun
Secondary Attack: Water Cannon
• Triple Harpoon Shot
• Water Jet Pack
• Water Launcher
Bio: For many years Gill Grunt peacefully lived deep in the oceans until a nasty band of pirates kidnapped his Mermaid girlfriend. He then took to land and sea to search for her, eventually joining the Skylanders to help defend the world from every kind of foe… but especially pirates. Gill Grunt is one fish that never lets evil off the hook.
Primary Attack: Lava Lob
Secondary Attack: Eruption
• Magma Bombs
• Volcanic Eruption
• Lava Flow
Bio: Eruptor is a force of nature, hailing from a species that lived deep in the underground until a volcano launched their entire civilization onto the crust. He's a hot head with a strong dislike for anything evil, so whenever something bad threatens his world, he quickly erupts… quite literally. To help control his temper, he likes to relax in lava pools, particularly because there are no crowds.
You've probably noticed the platform that each toy is stood on - the part with the rock effect and the glowing runes. That is the mysterious Portal.
Here's the announcement trailer for those of you looking for a bit of gameplay. Beware though, the beginning looks like one of those 90's toy adverts, where the toys were shown in a fantasy setting that was always going to be a lot better than anything that you could create at home.
Skylanders Spyro's Adventure is due to be released in Autumn 2011.
We've got the full list of The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon achievements - check the list for guides to unlocking them.