Prior to adopting its highly successful, kid-friendly toy range approach, the reboot of Spyro the Dragon was going to be an edgy, grown up affair.
“It was going to be for an older audience, a darker take on it for the next-gen systems,” Toys for Bob’s Alex Ness said of what eventually became Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure, speaking to GamesIndustry.
“We worked on some concepts there, but we wanted to go in a different direction and do something more for a younger audience that really rebooted the franchise.”
On the road to Skylander’s figure range, Toys for Bob went through some odd ideas, including something which “involved hats”.
“But the one that we gravitated towards the most was the one that involved toys. The emotional connection that we have to toys and the representation of our childhoods – it just seemed like the perfect fit,” Ness said.
Although Toys for Bob knew they’d hit on something, the team had worries about Activision’s reception of their new direction – especially given the spectacular failure of peripheral-based games like Guitar Hero.
“We were in love with the idea, but at first we were a little sceptical. Activision has never made toys before, and we’re asking them to make millions of these little toys that will work with the game. We thought they would just shoot it down.”
Thankfully, the Toys for Bob staff had a number of hobbies like sculpting and electronics which allowed the developer to pitch their vision with working prototypes. Activision saw the potential at once.
Over 20 million Skylanders toys have been sold.