[Studio Visit] Skylanders: Swap Force
Live vicariously through us as we jet off to the lovely Albany, NY offices of Vicarious Visions.
Published: October 9, 2013
On the tail end of our tour through Vicarious Visions, after many group discussions on game and toy development, we at last got to go hands on with the game. The differences between the current gen (we played on Xbox 360s) and the next gen (hurray, a PlayStation 4) were rather striking. While the two games feature the game content, the amount of detail in the PlayStation 4 version makes the current gen game look anemic. Ground and wall surfaces not only have more detailing but look uneven, rigid, and more natural than the flatter current gen. Colors and particle effects popped out more, especially the more ethereal side areas we got to venture through. Not that the current gen is any slouch, but it is hard to walk away from a massive TV with the power of the PlayStation 4 behind it and feel like the two were in the same league. I noticed a lot less artifacting on the PS4 version as well as a more fluid character animation that looked like an CG cartoon movie… or dare I compare it to Knack!
Really we're just honored to be here
As I spoke with the development team, I heard about a feature that has been quite underreported: PlayStation Vita support. Namely, the PlayStation 4 version of the game will support Remote Play over both WiFi and (wait for it) 3G. Unfortunately this wasn’t a topic they were supposed to go into in detail but they did confirm that it is in the game. It seems that Sony handles Remote Play, at least in the case of Skylanders, so they couldn’t explain how that feature works in greater detail. However, the ability to play the game away from home (provided a figure is on the Portal of Power), especially on that OLED screen inches away from your face, is an exciting prospect even for me.
It is hard to say how far Skylanders has come as a series since its inception, at least for someone unfamiliar with the series. From a casual observation, the game looks more vibrant and lively than the previous games and certainly will have some challenging side missions for gamers young and old to take on. There is a lot more potential for this series and Vicarious Visions seems more than capable of bringing that potential to life.