The story behind the toys
I have a tough time resisting the Skylanders figure's charm when I pass the toys at the store, and I'm not the only one. It seems plenty of other collectors also have the same problem. That's probably why the series was able to sell more than 175 million toys and earn over $2 billion within the last two(ish) years. That's quite the accomplishment.
Collectors range from middle-aged "they're for my kids!" parents to the bright-eyed child that loves to see their heroes come to life. But not even the most hardcore fans know everything about the collectible sensation. That's why I asked Skylanders developer Toys for Bob to reveal a few of their lesser-known secrets. Here's some amazing facts and stories about Skylanders that you might not have known.
The first game concepts didn't involve action figures
Before Skylanders was the sensation it is today, the early concepts were nowhere close to the make-toys-come-to-life end product in stores now. Toys for Bob said that one of the crazier concepts for Skylanders didn't involve integrating collectible toys into the game. In fact, one of them involved an egg peripheral, while another concept was related to wearing special hats while you played. Can you imagine collecting hats instead of collecting action figures? Wait that actually sounds kind of cool.
The Portal of Power wasn't always so pretty
The multiple versions of the Portal of Power definitely look great--especially when you have a light core figure standing on top--but that wasn't always the case. The original concepts for the portal were created in Senior Engineer Robert Leyland's basement. When Leyland first started playing with the idea of putting RFID tech on the bottom of action figures, the first version of the Portal of Power that put the characters into the game was just a simple black box. Not that flashy.
Skylanders figures undergo many physical iterations
In order to get the best pose for each skylanders figure, the Skylanders team uses 3D printers to help quickly prototype characters in development, giving developers an actual physical copy of the toy to critique. And, occasionally, things go catastrophically wrong with the prints. For instance, in Food Fights early design phase, he resembled more of a cauliflower than an artichoke. Catastrophe!
The Tarclops character never made it into the game
Toys for Bob mentioned that not all of their characters have made it to market. "Most Skylanders go through plenty of revisions before becoming the final figures you see on store shelves," the developer said. "But to date, only ONE character has been designed, modeled, prototyped as a toy, and built into the game yet never saw the light of day--the legendary Tarclops." If you got your hands on that figure, you'd be the envy of Skylanders collectors everywhere.
Kaos spells his name with a "k" based on principle
Skylanders Kaos is one of the most quirky evil villains around, and that oddball personality bleeds over to the spelling of his name. Toys for Bob said, "Kaos was originally born Chaos but refuses to spell his name that way because he believes the letter C is completely useless and should be removed from the alphabet entirely."
Rare Skylanders figures can cost you a pretty penny
Most of the Skylanders figures you find in the store will run you a measly $10 to $15, but if you happen to own some of the more rare, special edition figures, they can be worth a whole lot of money. The rarest Skylanders are the E3 2011 edition Trigger Happy, Gill Grunt, and Spyro, and cost up to $750 individually. How much is a complete collection worth to you?
There have been 10 special edition Skylanders types
Outside of the standard edition figures you can find at your neighborhood Target, there are several rare editions every collector will want to hunt down. These include: Gold Developer edition, Silver, color variants, Legendary, Stone, Sidekicks, Glow-in-the-Dark, Dark, Sparkle, and even a felt-covered Flocked editions. To get every one, you'll have to find the store exclusives, special promotions, and convention editions. And those aren't easy (or cheap) finds.
It'd cost $3000 to get every Skylander at retail price
There are over 240 Skylander figures available right now, and that's not even counting the upcoming Trap Team collection. If you could buy each character individually (not including the various multi-figure packs), it would cost just about $3000 to get your hands on every one at the original store price. And that's not even considering the inflated prices of the the super rare figures.
Chompys are hard to work with
Voice-overs for all of the Skylanders, villains, and minions don't always go the way you expect them to in the Toys for Bob offices. The developers said, "Getting a Chompy to record voice-over for our games is actually pretty tough. Not just because they have the tendency to eat microphones but because they are such perfectionists. Recording sessions can take hours and hours." Who knew?
How large is your collection?
There you have it. Did you know any of those bits of information? Have anything to add from your personal wealth of Skylander knowledge? How close are you to having a complete set of Skylanders? Let me know in the comments below.