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In what is believed to be the first of its kind, Activision has teamed up with Scottish officials to announce the "virtual twinning" of the Isle of Skye with Skylands, the home of Skylanders: SWAP Force. This is the first time a real destination has paired up with a video game world - and the locals are confused, but happy.
Alan Mackenzie, from national tourism organisation VisitScotland, explains the partnership:
The Isle of Skye is renowned for its stunning landscapes, which possess an almost ethereal quality, and its abundance of wildlife, making it the perfect place to virtually twin with Skylands, home to Skylanders SWAP Force. We're thrilled to be teaming up with the Skylanders franchise for this unique partnership, which will help raise the profile of this beautiful part of the world, encouraging families to enjoy a real-life adventure on the Isle of Skye — nowhere else on Earth comes close!
The Isle of Skye is located off the west coast of Scotland, and is blessed with sea lochs, abundant wildlife and stunning mountain scenery - quite the tourist attraction even without the video game tie-in.
Wash Buckler, one of the new SWAP Force characters, visited the Isle of Skye to commemorate the virtual twinning, checking out some of the sights and even dropping in on a local primary school.
Councillor Thomas Prag, Chair, The Highland Council's Planning Environment and Development Committee, comments:
We're thrilled to welcome the Skylanders characters to the Highlands. This is an unusual project, as we can't sign an actual deed of twinning due to the limitations getting paper work to the Skylands. However, we were delighted to see Wash Buckler visiting the Isle of Skye, and hope his visit encourages many more people to look for adventure in the Highlands.
Michael Sportouch, Vice President and General Manager at Activision Publishing explains:
We're sure this partnership is going to spark the imaginations of families whenever they visit the Highlands, but fortunately they don't have to worry about seeing any Chompies on Earth.
The Skylanders franchise combines physical figures with the in-game virtual world - and SWAP Force takes things in a different direction. The all-new toys can be swapped - the top and bottom halves of the characters are fully interchangeable - creating all-new characters, heroes and superstars.
Skylanders: SWAP Force launches this week around the world for PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U and Wii, with PS4 and Xbox One versions following shortly.
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