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.