One of the surprise hits for me at this year's E3 was Starlink from Ubisoft Toronto. It would be easy to dismiss this as the sort of game looking to cash-in on the success of Amiibo and Skylanders, but toy collection aside, there's a seriously fun game here -- one that actually doesn't require a total buy-in on the peripheral side of things.
Here's a snippet from our hands-on:
Importantly, however, toys aren’t actually required. You can also buy any of the content you’d like to add to the game, digitally. And there’s a full menu-system that supports this. When you do use the physical pieces, it’s instant, which does change up your approach (a little), and it should be noted these toys are highly-detailed. So the collectors out there will have a field day with this. You also have different pilots with different personalities, and Ubisoft has worked tirelessly on building out this game-world to reflect, totally, that it’s not just a gimmick. Naturally there’s a marketing-heavy side of this game that speaks to the Pokemon “Collect ‘em all” ethos, but if you remember back to your childhood, chances are you would have eaten this concept up and annoyed the shit out of your parents. But unlike the adhoc, make-it-up-as-we-go-along approach of so many toy lines from the 80s (thanks Netflix), Ubi’s Starlink is thinking game-first, toys-second, and it shows in how the game plays and also in how the team speaks about it.
Click here for our full hands-on with Starlink
“The original mandate was to create something completely new – it was very open,” explains Ubisoft Toronto’s Laurent Malville. “[So] there was a lot of iteration and a lot of prototypes [were] being made. And at one point one of the prototypes was about building a starship on top of a… it was actually on top of a motion controller, so [in the beginning] it was motion control. And we liked the space setting. And it was about [creating] a new way to interact with your game.