Thursday, June 26, 2014

Skylanders Trap Team at E3: Your Questions Answered Part 1

Well, this had the best of intentions and didn't turn out so well...

Instead of going with things by category etc, I thought it would be cool to address the questions as posed by the individual.  Yes, I knew there would be overlap.  I did not, however, anticipate it would consume around 80 minutes of time.  I know you are just looking at a pool table, but each 20 mins or so is roughly 4 GB in the 1280x720 format.  So, the roughly 80 minutes is around 15-16 GB.  This would take a LOOONG time to render and upload.

So, for now, I have broken off the start and the first few questions (which happened to be my own questions).  Below the video I will have kind of a text transcript.  I am not sure if I will run with what I have already recorded and break it down by individual, or if I would be better off starting from scratch and then doing a "shout out" to everyone who submitted questions.  Whatever I do, you will see, I'm just not set in stone yet.

That said, Part 1 is, so here you go...

Skylanders Trap Team at E3 Your Questions Answered, Part 1: My Questions

Here is a text version if you prefer that...Not verbatim, but I do a rough recap on the question, response, and what my take is from that...

Console

Q1:  Will there be a difference between the Toys for Bob and Beenox versions of the game?

A1:  We are not talking about that

My Take: The demos were Wii U and PS4, which are both by Beenox.   Toys for Bob is handling the Wii/360/PS3 versions and Beenox will handle the ports to Wii U/XB1/PS4.  We had differences in SWAP Force and I’m curious if the games will play the same in terms of cutscenes and collectibles on the previous gen consoles AND if the Beenox versions will have anything "extra."

Q2: Will the Wii U still utilize the GamePad screen for Character Stats?

A2: We are not ready to talk about that.

My Take:  Harmless info imo…Maybe they are going to tout “off screen” gameplay as a selling point and wanted to wait it out.  I hope they retain something special for the GamePad.

3DS 

Q3:  Will the 3DS Starter Pack incorporate different characters?  Also, will one be exclusive to the Starter Pack?

A3: We are not talking about the 3DS version of the game.

My Take:  Kind of surprised they couldn't at least confirm/deny the same set up as past games.

Q4: Will the 3DS version still feature the character roster found in SWAP Force?

A4: See above…No comments at all on 3DS questions.

My Take:  Confirming this at E3 would have been very nice and really spoils nothing.  It was the single most important advancement in the handheld entries in my opinion.

GamePlay

Q5:  How many villains can be held per crystal?

A5: One. 1.  Only One.  Just one.

My Take: Finally confirmation, but it does pose some other issues.

Q6: Is it possible in 2P Mode to both play as a villain?

A6: No comment.

My Take: Sadly, based on “1 per Trap” and only having one crystal slot on the portal, I have to say this will not happen.  Things may change, but with 1 per trap, you’d have an odd situation on hand.

Q7: Will there be a Single Player Battle Mode (ie P1 as Terrafin vs CPU as Slam Bam)?

A7:  I got, “We can’t talk about that,” “Ask PR,” and a few “No” responses.   Leads me to believe it will be a no go for Trap Team.  More on why I asked this later.

My Take: Pretty much what I expected.  Solo Battle Mode (Skylander vs Skylander by way of a CPU) is the natural precursor to anything online and in my opinion make the most sense.  One of the purported reasons for a lack of “online” is protecting the young audience.  What is the best way to do that and ensure no one is exposed to anything bad online?  Use a CPU!  I’ll elaborate more on this later.

Q8: Is there a special role for Giants and Swappers in Trap Team?

A8: No.

My Take: Quite surprising.  Even though Giants didn’t do much in SWAP Force, you were at least inclined to pick them up and open a chest…Kind of a nice nod to the past and incentive to keep them handy and continue to play as the past characters for more reasons than just wanting to…

Shockingly, the reason for this goes back to focus groups with the kids.  They found kids wanted to play with the “new” figures and characters, not their old figures.  So, with the emphasis on focus groups, there will be no special areas or reasons to specifically use your Giants and Swappers.  That said, since the game is fully backward compatible, you can still play as Tree Rex or Free Ranger just because you want to, or because they are your favorites.

Q9: Please bring back the original SSA Castaways (not a question, but I don’t care).

A9: We aren’t talking about character rosters, or reposes.

My Take: Last year I was able to get a “Yes, you will see some of them (Castaways),” which would have totally been fine with me…I don’t expect to get a “Oh yeah man…S2 TripWire Voodood, S2 Skull Master Ghost Roaster, and wait till you see S2 Fright Rider” etc…

The tight lips in that regard, kept me from pursuing a request or teaser for any other reposes, be they S2, S3 (Jet-Vac, Pop Fizz), or S4 (Spyro, Trigger Happy, etc).

Off camera, with several different folks, I did at least ask about reposed Giants (Swarm, Crusher) or SWAP Force Skylanders (Boom Jet, Night Shift, etc.).  The answer was the same as above…no comment on any character info.

What concerns me is that I heard the Trap Masters referred to as “Guest Stars” multiple times.  I also heard a few people call Giants and Swappers “Guest Stars.”  This leads me to the assumptive conclusion that at this point, all of the “gimmick” Skylanders are viewed as just that, “Guest Stars.”  So while Spyro, Gill Grunt, and others that catch on like Jet-Vac and Pop Fizz might get a near annual repose, the “Guest Stars” are likely to remain one trick ponies.  The good news is, of course, if you love Bouncer and Spy Rise you can always continue to play them in new releases.  The bad news is, at this point in time, it seems highly unlikely that we would see S2 Eye-Brawl, or S2 Magna Charge.  Maybe they don’t want to tip their hand, but I had NEVER heard “Guest Star” until this year.  The “Core” Skylanders are referred to as “Legacy” Skylanders by high end people and “fan favorites” by the more grounded spokes people…Seems sad so many great characters could just be “one and done.”  That said, one thing that is clear is they never seem to rule anything out.

Q10: If LightCores still exist, will you give them WowPows or a recharge of the Flash Bomb?
A10: No comment, or not commenting on character specifics.

My Take: I did it.  I gave my “LightCore Sermon” to around 4 different people…I think it seemed to resonate well with at least two of them.  I think it is no secret that the LightCores have not sold as intended, particularly when they are of a reposed character (ie not BRAND NEW).  My sermon kind of highlights those reasons.  For those who have somehow not heard my rant, cough sermon, here are the cliff notes:
--LightCores are great in that they are a unique pose and have a Light Up Effect
---It is all downhill from there
--They do not have a WowPow, which makes them weaker than their counterparts (when applicable, ie S2).
---LightCore figures MUST have a WowPow and the ability to switch paths (outside of brand new LCs).
--The Flash Bomb is auto initiated right upon loading into the game…and it can not be recharged
---The Flash Bomb should be user executed and rechargeable via set XP, or time intervals

Q11: Will there be Adventure Packs or Battle Packs?

A11: We are not talking about that at this time.

MyTake:  Really?  You can’t even give a tease of an answer, something like, “They may be back, but not like you are used to seeing them.”  I think the APs are far more sought after than the BPs, and personally I liked the 4 APs in SSA the best.  Giants offered 2 and 2, just like SF, but to me that APs deliver the good with extra content (ie a Chapter), cool and unique stories with memorable non-playable characters, and they have had great Skylanders packaged in (cough, SSA’s 4 APs, cough).

I thought we would at least get a, “Yeah you will see them” and maybe even a “We have 2 Adventure Packs and 2 Battle Packs once again” etc.  No such luck.  Last year I got this info from the Vicarioius Visions guys.

Q12: Is the portal wired?  Is there a volume control?  And will the new portal work with the old games?

A12: Yes.  Yes.  Yes.

My Take:  Makes sense to be wired, but I wanted to double check…I saw it first hand.  I never did find the volume control on my own (the booths were very dark so you could record gameplay I believe), but 2 people told me there was a separate volume control on the portal.  It took some digging, like last year, but I finally got confirmation that the portal will work with the older games.   This question seems to take people by surprise till I explain, “You know, the SF Portal worked for SSA and Giants, so you just had to keep one out…discounting the Trap portion etc, will the Traptanium Portal be able to be plugged in and load up characters in SWAP Force etc.” 


Who knows, maybe I confused the person that said yes, but once I explained it and laid out I wasn’t expecting the Traps or sounds to work, they were quick to say, “Yeah, you can just use the one portal for all the games.”  So for those who like being tidy, this is welcome news!

3 comments:

  1. Enjoyable rundown/summary of E3 info..(I caught all three parts)-Looking forward to the E3 Experience vid.
    As to what you covered:
    If you defeat a villian and DON'T have a trap handy...I don't know..I think the past teaches that "You miss it?..Ohh Well!!..Replay it!!". Like move through an area fast, miss that Treasure Chest, can't get back to it...d'oh!!!...REPLAY!!!! lol.
    No reference to Giants or Swappers is a mistake but basing this on Kid Centric Focus Groups: Bad Excuse. This is, at heart, a kid's game and you can learn thru focus groups...I understand, agree and approve. However, they didn't dumb down Bug's Bunny and he was, and remains, great. I didn't get it all when I was a kid but who cares, it was fun! When I got older, I appreciated it even more and IT WAS STILL FUN!! Soo..Short term thinking--->Lose the reference to major past characters...get more space for the "sell-able" new, don't confuse the poor little kid brains...make more money. Long term thinking--->Little less immediate cash, challenge the kid brain just a bit and keep depth and feel to their Universe, long term money. "Real" imaginary worlds have a history, gives it a solid "feel". (Eg...JRR Tolkien's Middle Earth) This is their legacy, their world. Worlds with legacy have legs...Zelda, Mario anyone? And while they plan it for and market it to kids, the kids aren't the only ones in this..beyond the fact that the adults hold the purse strings. Example: I made it a point to show my kid Bugs Bunny cartoons, I would go out of my way to make sure he doesn't see "He-MAN and the Masters of the Universe" cartoons. One is smart and has finnese', the other is pretty shallow and ham-fisted. (sorry to all the nostalgic fans!! Cringer has my apologies!)
    This is not a fanatic "This is evil" rant. Rather, I and my family really love this franchise. I don't want to see them forget their own magic.
    The Skylander vs. Skylander idea has merit!! (Kinda like they did fighting Kaos' dark version skylander minions in Giants.
    Thanks again, Wiisdom, for taking the time to answer the questions directly, not to mention waiting in lines at the terminals so I could "go" to E3.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks again! I believe, as best I know, if you don't have a trap the villain goes to the vault (in the hub world). So, if you have Wolfgang on your 1 Undead Trap, defeat an Undead villain who isn't as cool and select not to trap him, I think he goes back...I could see it being the "replay" as you suggest, but I think from what I know they actually cleared that out for us, lol

      I agree on the focus groups...It is great they put such an emphasis on it and custom tailor, but as you said, the game doesn't just appeal to "kids." I play what I think is fun...That can run the circle from Mario Kart, to Pac-Man, to Madden, on up to Grand Theft Auto.

      It is a shame we might miss out on Series 2 Ninjini or Series 2 Boom Jet because a select group seemed to want to play with the "new" characters. I'm not advocating a repose of everything either, but what happens when the kids LOVE a new character like Wallop and then find he was a "guest star" that won't be back in a new form with new powers? Kind of disappointing...especially when you have Series 8 Spyro coming out. Imo it should be a balance. I love Terrafin, but I would sacrifice a Series 4 Terrafin and Series 4 Prism Break to get a Series 2 Ghost Roaster and Voodod.

      Similarly, the kid based groups were using villains too much, hence the timer as opposed to free switching at will. They said they wanted the focus to remain on the Skylanders. Imo that one is very questionable. The incentives to use your Skylanders are to level up, get cash, and buy upgrades. If I would rather use Wolfgang for the back half of a level than a Skylander idk what the problem is...That also plays into my personal push to make popular villains as dedicated, posed, retail available Skylanders in future games. I would buy 2 Wolfgangs right now if that was an option, lol.

      I tried to convey that too...I know I have a lot of criticism of the game, but with all things I like and am invested in to this level (of time, not money), I am very passionate about what I think is best for the series. That is why I sometimes think 8 new characters is better than 16...so you get time to pick them up and play them. It is a daunting challenge to take a fleet of nearly 200 thru EVERYTHING in Swap Force. It will only expand with future games.

      I think a lot of the development crowd is aware of what "we" want and what hardcore fans want...when you get a 50 year old, 25 year old, and 10 year old in the same room, who are all "hardcore" guess what? They are all going to want the same things!

      The irony in it all is that the "kid-centric" focus is there and it is touted as a family game, hence no online and no 1P vs CPU Battles, BUT what about all the only childs? Should the 8 year old boy at home have to hold 2 controllers to battle himself for the quests?

      To me, single player is the foundation for EVERYTHING. If one person can't go thru and have fun, you don't need to build into 2P. I really would like to see 1P vs CPU before they get into online...The safety concerns "online" are legit, but that same concern plays right into my hand of "give us 1P vs CPU." The argument against "online" is the uncontrolled interaction...Guess 1P vs CPU is? A CONTROLLED environment, lol.

      The hardest thing on the Quest for me to complete is simply the "Win 10 PvP Battles." Why? I play solo most of the time. It totally sucks to battle myself 10 times in a row. In Giants I just sat my box stock sprocket in the arena and wailed on her...it gets old fast...Having her as a CPU would make things more interesting.

      But again, I am with you...When I complain about LightCore's needing WowPows and how big a deal 1P vs CPU would be it isn't to knit-pick, but rather give my sincere feedback and offer up ideas that I, and many others, think would make the game EVEN BETTER.

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    2. That said, the hardest thing to convey from E3 is how good the game looked and played. It honestly felt like SSA to me in the level I got to run through...Natural progression, items are hidden (demo guy said I was the ONLY person to turn a certain corner, and find a hidden ledge), and there is more action with a steady pace.

      I think this game has the potential to overtake SSA.

      Delete

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