In the latest Nintendo Minute, Kit and Krysta give gamers an up-close preview of the new Skylanders Swapforce game on Wii U. The duo demonstrate players’ ability to swap halves of various Skylanders, and they have a large assortment of the characters on display. Activision is thoroughly supporting Nintendo consoles with the game. In addition to the Wii U edition, the company has released an exclusive pack of three unique characters available only for 3DS. Yesterday’s launch of the game was celebrated by Toys ‘R’ Us, which held a special launch event at select stores during which gamers were able to obtain Limited Edition versions of some of the Skylanders figures.
Toy and game retailer Toys ‘R’ Us has announced that it will host a launch event on Day One of the Skylanders Swap Force release. The special event will feature Limited Edition Swap Force including Legendary versions of Night Shift, Grip Creeper, and Zoo Lou, among other figures, and it will take place on Sunday, October 13th. Toys ‘R’ Us stores will have modified hours to accommodate the game’s launch, as some locations will go all out with a midnight sale, while others will simply open an hour or two early.
Gamers who purchase the 3DS version of the game will have an even greater chance of getting some exclusive Skylanders figures, as Activision recently announced a starter pack for 3DS that features characters not found in any other starter pack. An Activision exec also recently spoke about the originality of the Skylanders concept. Skylanders Swap Force is a multi-platform release with versions launching across the three major Nintendo consoles: Wii U, Wii, and 3DS.
In a new interview, Erich Hirshberg, Activision’s Publishing CEO, addresses a great deal of the online criticism that has been waged against his company. In response to accusations that Activision is a “heartless” big company with too much focus on Call of Duty, Hirshberg says he thinks that “all of the reputational perceptions out there…are incorrect.”
He also acknowledged that the company is often criticized for being “risk-averse” — putting too much of their weight behind sure-thing franchises like Call of Duty, rather than supporting indies and new IP’s. Hirshberg fired back by citing Skylanders as a new IP that “didn’t exist 18 months ago,” and that it is an example of “not only a new IP, but a new genre of play that was totally unproven.” The CEO, who recently stated that Activision would continue to support Wii U despite declining sales, even credited his company with making some of the most well liked games out there.
Do you think Activision deserves the criticism leveled against them, or are they making all the right moves? Here are some full comments made by Hirshberg in the interview:
“I think that we’ve been a little bit more experimental where it comes to mobile games thus far, but I also think that we are who we are as a company — and we’re a very focused company. Look, this is a company of passionate people who make games and love making games. I’m certainly aware of all of the reputational perceptions out there, but I think they’re incorrect and this is a company that has consistently made some of the most well liked and most played gaming experiences. And that hasn’t happened by accident.”
“Our strategy is to do a few things and do them exceptionally well. I think that sometimes people misperceive that as somehow being risk-averse, and yet we’re taking some of the biggest risks in new genres and new business models and new IPs than anybody….Skylanders is a brand that didn’t exist eighteen months ago — people forget that already because it’s been so successful. It was not only a new IP, but a new genre of play that was totally unproven.”
Activision Publishing chief executive Eric Hirshberg has reassured Nintendo fans that the company will continue to support the Wii U despite the consoles disappointing sales figures. Hirshberg acknowledges that the system is under performing, but says the company will do everything it can do to assure that consumers see the appeal in the platform. However, the company hasn’t announced its big hitters such as Destiny or Diablo 3 for Nintendo’s latest home console, Wii U.
“That’s exactly right, Nintendo has been a great partner for us. It’s a very successful company but obviously having a rough go with the Wii U launch thus far. I’m sure Nintendo and the rest of the industry wanted a different result for the Wii U, but if we can add to the appeal of the platform then we absolutely will. Nintendo is a company that’s had hardware hits and misses in the past, but it has always found ways to remain completely relevant. It has some of the best game-makers in the world, and I wouldn’t count them out.”
Skylanders Swap Force, the latest game in the popular toy-based Skylanders video game series, will be getting an exclusive version on Nintendo 3DS. Activision has announced that a starter pack for the 3DS version of the game will include three characters not found in any other SWAP Force starter pack, and the game will include levels and other content only found on 3DS. Skylanders SWAP Force launches October 13th in the United States and October 18th in Europe.
Since the Skylanders series has a primarily younger audience, it will be interesting to see if this exclusive version of SWAP Force nets any increased sales numbers with Nintendo’s launch of the kid-friendly 2DS just around the corner.
A new trailer revealing the multiplayer modes for Angry Birds: Star Wars was shown at Gamescom in Germany. Players will be able to compete against each other or work cooperatively by taking turns in their quest to destroy the Pig Star. Activision’s teaser site for the game also touts the multiplayer modes, in addition to 20 all-new levels.
Angry Birds: Star Wars was originally made popular on mobile devices, but will be released this October 29th on Nintendo Wii, Wii U, and 3DS systems, in addition to Microsoft and Sony consoles. The game follows the release of Angry Birds Trilogy, which flocked to Nintendo systems this past month. The new Star Wars console version of the game marks the first time that an Angry Birds title has offered any kind of multiplayer option.
n-Space, a developer whose games have been published by both Activision and Disney on Nintendo systems, says that they are no longer developing for Nintendo systems due to a “low demand” for publishing on Nintendo systems. n-Space produced several popular titles for the Nintendo DS system, including Goldeneye and five Call of Duty games. On the 3DS, they are responsible for Skylanders: Giants as well as Heroes of Ruin, a title published by Square Enix that did not sell as expected. n-Space, who once had a very close relationship with Nintendo, hopes that they will once again see games greenlighted for Nintendo consoles, but for the time being, they are not working on any projects. Dan O’Leary of n-Space had the following to say:
“It’s kind of a sad thing to say, because for a long time n-Space has been known as a Nintendo-friendly developer. We certainly have loved all our time working with them.
“We think their hardware’s great. We think more often than not they have the right mindset in the difficult game world we live in. There’s just very low demand right now for their work through the publisher side. Which is ironic, I think that’ll probably swing back.
“The news was just talking about how Nintendo was beating everybody with hardware sales. The DS and 3DS sales curves have been slower than publishers would have liked. That may change, but I can tell you right now we’re not working on anything.”
Activision Publishing recently revealed that Cabela’s African Adventures will be released on the Wii this fall. The game is an open world hunting adventure in which the player tracks down leopards, rhinos, elephants, and other exotic game. In addition to the campaign mode, Cabela’s African Adventures also features multiplayer “Hot Seat” mode, and a shooting gallery where gamers can test their firing abilities. The game will be sold for $29.99 on Wii, a full $10 cheaper than other consoles.
Following this and Activision’s announcement of a new TMNT game for Wii and 3DS, Wii U owners may be wary of the fact that third party companies continue to skip Nintendo’s next-gen console in favor of the Wii. A much larger base of Wii owners, in addition to a continued hesitation to become acquainted with developing for the newer hardware, seem to be the motivating factors staving off developers from Nintendo’s latest console. With Wii U repeatedly left out of announcements for new games, along with several of the system’s titles lacking the online multiplayer modes featured on rival consoles, Wii U players are wondering if their gamepad-driven console will ever be given a fair shake.
Activision announced last week that it’s planning to release six games on Wii U in the fall. The games include two Angry Birds titles, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Skylanders SWAP Force, SpongeBob SquarePants: Plankton’s Robotic Revenge and Wipeout Create & Crash. To show how committed Activision is to supporting Nintendo’s latest console, the publisher’s CEO, Eric Hirshberg, included the following statement in a recently released press release:
“As we have said before, we’re committed to doing everything we can to support the Wii U, which is why we’re excited to be bringing some of the most popular entertainment franchises in the world to the platform this year.”
Skylanders SWAP Force — Activision’s Skylanders SWAP Force continues to build upon the success of the award-winning franchise’s signature gameplay and collectible toy experience with the introduction of an innovative feature — dynamic swapability. Kids and gamers will have unprecedented levels of choice in how they explore Skylands and battle KAOS by swapping the top and bottom halves of the toys to transform 16 SWAP ForceTM characters into more than 250 unique combinations. Set in a richly detailed world of next generation visual fidelity, Skylanders SWAP Force takes kids on an all-new adventure with 32 never-before-seen heroic characters that each offer unique powers and personalities.
The game also features new abilities — such as flying, climbing, and teleporting — which can be used in special areas of Skylands. Additionally, fans can play with their entire collection of 100+, forward-compatible toys from both Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure and Skylanders Giants™. With Wii U, the GamePad allows fans to keep track of stats and view leaderboards, as well as fans’ character collections and upgrades — right in their hands. Additionally, the game is fully playable on the GamePad so kids can enjoy the game when other family members commandeer the TV. Skylanders SWAP Force is set to release in North America on October 13, Australia on October 16 and Europe on October 18 and is rated E10+ by the ESRB.
Angry Birds Trilogy – The game offers more than 100 hours of awesome Angry Birds action gameplay that spans the breadth of Angry Birds, Angry Birds Seasons and Angry Birds Rio titles, as well as 40 hours of bonus levels previously not on disc. The game features animated cut scenes and interactive backgrounds — all tailor-made in 1080p HD graphics with surround sound support. The new Wii U GamePad swap capability lets players use the GamePad touch screen controls to fling their birds with accuracy as they climb the online leaderboards for the world’s high scores. The game is scheduled for release on August 13, and is rated “E” (Everyone) by the ESRB.
Angry Birds Star Wars — Join the Angry Birds in a galaxy far, far away… where a group of desperate rebel birds face off against a galactic menace: the Empire’s evil Pigtroopers! The game evolves the core game design and hilarious tone of previous entries in the series with new characters, challenges, and environments that pay homage to the iconic hallmarks of the Star Wars universe. This title adds twenty never-before-seen exclusive levels — on top of the already two-hundred from the original Angry Birds Star Wars — and, for the first time ever, two new multiplayer modes. Play alongside your friend in cooperative mode to achieve a combined high score, or compete against family and friends (up to four players) in competitive mode. In addition, the game delivers online leaderboards, beautiful, high-definition graphics, and unlockable bonus levels, items and content. The game is scheduled to release on October 29, and is not yet rated by the ESRB.
SpongeBob SquarePants: Plankton’s Robotic Revenge — In this original story, Bikini Bottom’s very own Sheldon J. Plankton and his new legion of evil robots have destroyed the Krusty Krab and stolen the safe that houses the famous Krabby Patty formula. Join SpongeBob and his friends to locate the hidden keys for the safe before the secret is lost forever! Blending platforming, action, and puzzle-solving, SpongeBob SquarePant™: Plankton’s Robotic Revenge features references and humor from the hit Nickelodeon TV animated series, as well as the voices from the show’s cast. Fans and gamers of all ages and skill levels can get together with co-op gameplay action, creating an experience that’s fun for everyone. Players can choose between their favorite Bikini Bottom characters including SpongeBob, Patrick, Squidward, Sandy, or Mr. Krabs as they scour the town hunting for hidden keys and collectibles. The game is expected to release this fall and is rated “E10+” (Everyone 10 and older—Cartoon Violence) by the ESRB.
Wipeout Create & Crash — Based on ABC’s popular TV game show, the game gives players greater control as they test their agility, endurance and abilities. For the first time ever, players can design, play, and share their very own chaotic courses with the all new Course Creator. Choose from easy, medium or hard obstacles and try to beat your course, and then share the unique code with your friends and family! In addition, compete as either fan-favorite or all-new characters in over-the-top new courses like Prehistoric Panic and Wipeouts Ahoy with all new themed obstacles. You can also challenge your friends to reign supreme in side-by-side or team local multiplayer! The game is expected to be released this fall and is rated “E10+” (Everyone 10 and older — Comic Mischief and Mild Cartoon Violence) by the ESRB.