A recent trend in the world of video games has been the immense success of titles that combine the interactivity of a video game with the tangible aspect of highly-collectible toys. Recent games like Disney Infinity, and even Pokemon Rumble U to a certain extent, have emulated that formula to various levels of success, but the franchise that kicked it all off was Activision’s Skylanders franchise.
There’s no denying the immense hit Activision has created with the Skylanders series, and the fact that it receives an annual installment puts proof in the metaphorical pudding that it’s the runaway success that developer Toys For Bob always hoped it would be. What’s surprising, however, is that Nintendo could have made the first iteration, Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure, exclusive to its platforms.
During a recent exposÃ© by Polygon pertaining to Toys For Bob, it was revealed by co-founder Fred Ford that the team was instructed to cater its work towards Nintendo’s Wii in an effort to get the company to aid with Activision’s investment in the title.
“We had been directed towards thinking about something that would play well with Nintendo. I think there was some co-marketing money and the Wii was doing well. They had some success with peripherals.”
Despite the eagerness displayed by Activision to make the game a Nintendo-exclusive, the house of Mario opted not to invest in the game. This lead to a multi-platform release and the Skylanders series went on to become a major hit with consumers, but Toys For Bob co-founder Paul Reiche believes there’s got to be some residual regret by the Big N for not investing in the project.
“They spent a long time looking and looking. They were just like ‘we have never seen anything like this before.’ I’ve always wondered about the full meaning of that comment.”
“We have no idea why [Nintendo didn’t invest]. Clearly, they have got properties well suited to this world. Why it is that they didn’t rush in here will probably haunt them for the rest of their days. Nintendo could have kicked Disney’s ass. If I was running Nintendo I would have jumped on this.”
Admittedly, Skylanders was a big risk for Activision (which is what lead to Spyro the Dragon being implemented into the game in the first place), but it’s a gamble that’s ended up paying dividends for the company. Had Nintendo jumped in with Activision and invested in the product, it may have never reached the same level of success. Then again, it could have been a huge moneymaker for Ninty, but it’s impossible to know at this point.
It’s probable that the initial pitch and sequential success of Skylanders lead Nintendo to implementing scanning technology in the Wii U GamePad, which would then explain why the company opted out of investing with Activision. If that’s the case, then it’s a shame that the technology has been so under-utilized since its release.
Follow Riley on Twitter @TheRileyLittle.