Activision is left with few options for its own toys-to-life series after the recent cancellation of Disney Infinity, and a scaled-back approach is all but necessary at this point.
Activision’s toys-to-life Skylanders series will skip an annual console release for the first time in franchise history as its developers shift their efforts toward mobile gaming and expanded content for last year’s Skylanders Imaginators.
News of a scaled-back release schedule for Skylanders arrives in the wake of a major shake-up at Disney Interactive Studios in 2016, which led to the cancellation of the thematically similar Disney Infinity series and the closure of its creator Avalanche Software.
The Skylanders series launched in 2011 with the release of Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure across multiple console platforms. The original game in the series served up kid-friendly, action-adventure gameplay powered by a lineup of collectible toys. An included “Portal of Power” peripheral scans Skylanders figures and summon them as in-game playable characters via NFC technology, allowing players to save their progress and use powered-up characters in subsequent series entries.
After the success of the original Skylanders, the series adopted an annual release schedule that continued through 2016, producing follow-ups like Skylanders Giants, Skylanders Swap Force, and Skylanders Trap Team. Each game in the series introduced new gameplay gimmicks that required players to purchase additional toys in order to get the most from the experience, and dedicated fans now maintain large collections of character figurines.
The toys-to-life market cooled significantly in recent years, leading to disappointing sales for 2016’s Skylanders Imaginators. During an investor call this week, Activision revealed that it has no plans to produce a Skylanders sequel for consoles in 2017, and will instead continue to support Skylanders Imaginators with the release of additional characters and level packs at retail.
Activision assures that the Skylanders series isn’t over, however. A port of Skylanders Imaginators will be available for the Nintendo Switch when the console launches on March 3, and fans can expect an all-new sequel to hit mobile platforms later this year.