One of the highlights of our gamescom adventure each year is getting to go hands-on with the latest Skylanders game, and chat to the developers about the ideas behind it. It almost makes the inevitable train delays, and several hour layover in Brussels worth it.
While waiting for our chance to pick up a pad and get stuck in this year, we wandered around the Activision booth's built in shop, where they show important games buyers from retailers around the world what their products will look like on the shop shelves. And it was here we spotted something a little bit interesting. On the Skylanders Imaginators demo stand, it showed you a few examples of the toys you can buy for this year's game (for a quick primer, be sure to check out our initial reveal). There are the new Senseis - villains turned good; the all important Creation Crystals, a brand new Adventure Pack, called Gryphon Park Observatory; and an all new collection of toys we haven't yet seen, called Treasure Chests.
While this isn't the first time we've seen a treasure chest toy in relation to Skylanders Imaginators - the Dark edition of the game looks like it'll come with a gold chest, at least in America - this is the first time we've seen there'll be three different tiers to the chests, and that they'll be available to buy separately. Activision also provided a press release on the day, which contained a short snippet about the brand new chests - although in all honesty, it created more questions than answers:
Last but not least, Portal Masters will soon be able to collect Imaginite Mystery Chests. These chests will unlock new creation pieces, such as gear, weapons, and parts for players' Imaginator characters.
See what we mean? Still, seeing as we were in the same room as the developers, what better way to find out a bit more about the new Imaginite Mystery Chests than to pose the question to Mr Skylanders himself, the studio head of Skylanders creators Toys for Bob, Paul Reiche III! With the PR person looking on nervously, and Paul himself being cautious not to give too much away, we launched our question torpedo:
Us: We've just been having a look at the demo stand, and we couldn't help but notice there were treasure chests, seemingly as a purchasable add-on?
Paul: Er, have we announced any of that? *nervous glance* Yes, there are going to be separate treasure chest toys - the details, we haven't announced, but they are Imaginite Chests
Us: There's no more details about that, whether they'll be blind bagged, or something like that?
Paul: Again, I don't know - I didn't even know we were showing them here! We haven't announced the details yet, but as soon as we do announce the details, we'll make sure you know.
So, something of a non-answer all round then - and we've certainly been left with plenty of questions.
According to the press release itself, these chests will contain new creation pieces, such as gear, weapons and parts - but will there be pieces that can only be found in treasure chests? Will there be only three, specific treasure chests available, each of which contains a specific bundle of parts? Or will they be blind bagged, with each treasure chest unlocking one, specific bronze, silver, or gold piece? Will the chests be single use, or can you use them once a day?
We went hands-on with Skylanders Imaginators creation suite, and spent a while putting our perfect Skylander together. Of course, as this was a demo set early during the game, many components were locked off - but we didn't see any that mentioned they could only be unlocked by Imaginite Chests. Some said they could only be unlocked by a Tech Sensei, or Life Sensei, but none mentioned chests. With that in mind, it seems unlikely that these can only be used to unlock specific, chest only components.
So, what's the most likely option? At the moment, that's a big "we don't know". From our point of view, there are plenty of options here:
- The treasure chests could be single use only, blind bagged items that unlock a specific piece, and then can never be used again - although this seems a bit wasteful.
- They could be blind bagged, so you won't know if you're getting a bronze/silver/gold treasure chest, but they could be usable once a day, to unlock a new item daily. That way you could stockpile bronze or silver chests and still get something out of them.
- Or, they could be sold openly, with a bronze chest costing less than a silver, while gold is the most expensive, with either the same daily unlock options, or a specific bundle of parts inside, so you know what you're getting.
However, there are problems with all of these options, so none seem all that likely. With that in mind, we'll probably have to simply keep our ears to the ground, and wait for the game's release to roll around, this October.