What is this game?

Skylanders: Imaginators is a toys-to-life action 3D platformer.  For the first time in the series, players can create their own characters, known as Imaginators.

Kaos has discovered the ancient power of Mind Magic and is using it to create an unstoppable army of Doomlanders! Eon is calling upon all Portal Masters and Skylands’ greatest mystic warriors, the Senseis, to stop Kaos and his minions. Now you must use the power of your imagination to create your own Skylanders to battle in the ultimate adventure alongside the almighty Senseis to save Skylands.

What did I contribute?

Manage the enemy design team, meeting regularly to discuss their performance, goals, and career aspirations.  Planned all aspects of our schedule, including how many enemies our team could create, tracking their progress through the pipeline, making sure we were hitting our milestone targets, and providing regular feedback on the work being created so we could reach our desired quality bar.

During my time with the team I helped spearhead a studio wide effort to switch to a new toolset.  The studio was alternating release years with another studio on this IP and the previous game took a leap forward in terms of visual fidelity.  As a result our studio determined it would be best to use the engine and toolset the other studio was using.  Given that I had worked at both studios I took the lead in this effort to research and document everything to speed up the learning process for the rest of the team and prove the viability of our studio learning a new toolset AND building a new game within the same dev cycle.  This made me the go-to person for just about everything combat, character, and script related for the game.

To maximize our efficiency and consistency as a team I created a few categories of templates to better help the team integrate combat into the game.  I created white box templates for combat encounters to ensure consistency in size and complexity as they were blocked out in levels.  I also created grey mesh enemy templates complete with behaviors for each class/archetype of enemy to enable rapid prototyping and faster development.  This meant any enemy designer could take any shape/size model, assign an archetype to it, and begin prototyping whatever custom powers and behaviors they wanted very quickly.  This was one of the reasons we were able to hit our targets and have as many enemies in the game as we did.

Combat cannot be designed in a vacuum.  It is valuable for the hero power designers and enemy designers to design with awareness of what the other team is doing, even if one team is taking the lead.  Similarly combat can fall apart if the spaces in which it is taking place are not conducive to it and interesting.  I made a point to be sure to guide collaboration between the hero team, enemy team, and level team to ensure proper combat balance and design practices were being shared and implemented.

Other Info

Publisher:   Activision
Toys For Bob
PS4/PS3/Xbox One/Xbox 360/Switch/Wii U
Genre:   Toys-to-life action 3D platformer
Model:   Traditional purchase, Toy DLC, Digital DLC
Modes:   Campaign, Co-op Campaign
Team Size:   ~ 100
Dev Cycle:   ~ 2 years

Released:   2016