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Why ‘Skylanders’ moving from ‘Swap Force’ to ‘Trap Team’ makes sense

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Activision completely understands that the world of “Skylanders” is under attack.

The day “Disney Infinity” launched last year, the battle begun. With the announcement of the additions of both Marvel and Star Wars characters into Disney’s franchise later this year, a full-out war has broken out.

With the success of the “Skylanders” brand over the past few years, it would be easy for Activision to accept defeat and hold on to a piece of the pie, that in all fairness, they created. But with “Trap Team,” the newest game in the series set for release on Oct. 5, Activision is reading its forces for war. Expanding the gameplay experience past the simple, but effective, “place toy on portal,” design the company invented, the “trap” piece allows gamers to capture enemies and play with them in their game as well as other consoles to play with other friends.

This new, “Skylanders” meets “Ghostbusters” or “Pokémon” experience isn't a departure of what the series is all about, it's actually a new way to experience what Activision said the series has been about all along, magic.

“We’ve built the brand and achieved success on these kinds of “breakthrough, wow moments” for kids, and I think that it would’ve been easier for us to keep adding characters and rest on the laurels of the magic of the first game,” Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg told Examiner in an exclusive interview. “But we really felt like the right thing to do was to keep trying to find these magical moments that blur the lines between the physical and digital world. When we saw the idea of pulling the character out of the game, it immediately captured our imaginations and it certainly became a lead idea.”

While the new gameplay mechanics may seem like a stretch at first, Hirshberg said its something that fans of the series should feel comfortable with right away.

“The first Skylanders disrupted two industries. It disrupted both the video game industry and the toy industry, but more than that I think there’s also a moment of disruption when people see something they haven’t seen before,” Hirshberg said. “That’s the type of disruption I’m talking about, where something just seems magical, something just has that strong magnetic pull that you want to go into that world. It’s a little bit of a genre-bending, media-bending idea so we’re looking for those kinds of breakthrough moments.”

Activision is banking on these moments, hoping that it’s enough to take away kids as well as adults, from recreating childhood moments with Disney, Marvel and Star Wars characters in “Infinity,” for a different, more original type of tale.

One that takes the gameplay formula Activision began to a newer, more unique level and inspires more imagination than a web shooter or mythical hammer.

“For ‘Skylanders,’ the audience of kids is so fun to work with because they just have such active imaginations and it’s so much easier for kids to suspend their disbelief. That’s one of the things that’s so satisfying about working on a franchise like this is you get to see that response,” Hirshberg said. “When we showed kids this one, we literally had kids picking up these plastic crystals and looking inside of them, closing one eye and holding them up to their ear. They’re convinced the character they just defeated is in there, and [the kids] think they can see them, so it is just so real for them. When you can create that kind of magic for a kid, it’s super gratifying.”

Will you buy “Skylanders: Trap Team,” or are you all set for the new “Disney Infinity?” Sound off in the comment section below.

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