The Binding of Isaac Rebirth

How play-testing with kids helped build Skylanders SuperChargers

The Skylanders franchise can be enjoyed by any age, but there's no doubt it's aimed at younger kids. With a focus on that crowd, Activision likes to bring in younger kids to play-test levels as they're being built. This leads to ideas getting the green-light or being nixed altogether. You can read some details below on that process.

- ideas are born out of internal game jams at Vicarious Visions
- ideas are fleshed out into something playable
- children come in to play-test these ideas
- if the kids didn’t remember the unique elements of a level, they’d rework it or scrap it
- one level features the Skylanders becoming super-sized, making them big enough to stomp down their surroundings
- this ideas went through co-op play-testing with two children
- the play-test went over so well with the children that idea was fully fleshed out an appears in the final game

Watchup CEO explains why the Wii U is a 'natural fit' for their service

Coming from Watchup CEO and Founder Adriano Farano...

Philosophically, the partnership was a natural fit because Watchup's core mission is to bring the consumption of broadcast news into the modern digital age. Younger audiences, particularly the cord-cutting set, are demanding that their news is personalized and available to them when they want, where they want it. This is exactly what Watchup provides.

The ability to leverage a second screen led Watchup to come up with the idea of a "watch and read" interface that takes advantage of both screens in a fully functional way. As it turns out, the Wii U platform is probably the best realization of the "second screen" experience because it doesn't require downloading a second app on your phone or using a separate device. Because it's the same integrated hardware, it is completely synchronized and seamless. News articles related to the video being watched are automatically populated on the handheld device and can be browsed for added context with the swipe of a finger.

Zombie Vikings - another round of footage

Thanks to Sam for the heads up!

Skylanders SuperChargers - Peach, Kirby and StarFox Skylanders were all shot down

We now know that Donkey Kong and Bowser are joining into the Skylanders series with Skylanders Superchargers, but did you know that some other ideas were tossed around? There were originally discussions to have Peach as a character, but Nintendo said that all Mario 'hero' characters were off limits. Discussions about including Kirby also took place, but Hal Laboratory owns those rights. Finally there was talk of some StarFox characters joining the title, but Nintendo said with Star Fox Zero due out soon, they wanted all the attention on that game.

Japan - Splatoon's 14 weeks of sales data outpaces Smash Bros. Wii U

Obviously, there's an important point to make here. Splatoon is indeed popular, but you have to remember that Smash Bros. Wii U also launched on 3DS. That definitely cut into sales. If Smash was only on Wii U, I think we'd see a different match-up here.