SDCC12: Kaijudo Brings Duel Masters Game To San Diego
Wizards Of The Coast And Hasbro Partner On New Show/Game...
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Wizards of the Coast, the world renowned company behind such mega properties as Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering, is no stranger to card-based games that bring fantastical creatures to life in one on one duels. And so when the guys at Wizards decided to create a new “dueling” property they went about it a bit differently. Sure, there are plenty of monster dueling games and cartoons out there, but most of them are uninspired with simple gameplay and television episodes that are no better than 30 minute commercials. Kaijudo, the brainchild of Wizards of the Coast and their partners at Hasbro (and loose spinoff of Duel Masters from the early 2000s), is something very different.
While Kaijudo is many things, primarily it is an “entertainment experience.” That means that it can be enjoyed on several different levels depending on your engagement. To make Kaijudo a real story with real characters and an immersive world Wizards didn’t start by creating it as a game; instead, they went to the guys at Hasbro Studios and the Hub and created a cartoon with some of the top talent in the industry. Kaijudo: Rise of the Duel Masters (airing now on the Hub) is “an animated action-fantasy series that follows the adventures of a young hero, Ray, who possesses the rare ability to befriend and duel alongside fantastical creatures from a parallel dimension.” Among others the show boasts a writer from Star Wars: Clone Wars, story editor from Transformers: Animated (and writer on dozens of shows), and character designer from Jackie Chan Adventures and The Batman as well as great voice talent like Scott Wolf, Freddy Rodriguez, John DiMaggio, Oded Fehr, Kari Wahlgren, Grey DeLisle, and more.
Wizards and Hasbro came up with a story that they’re proud of, one that takes what might be a familiar concept and does something original and different with it. It puts a Western spin on the “duel masters” premise, and it’s not just about kids fighting with cards and monsters. Instead, Kaijudo deals with real issues close to the hearts of children and young people in a realistic way, notably bullying and racism. The main character Raiden “Ray” Pierce-Okamoto is a fourteen year old Asian-American boy living in Southern California. He goes to school, has real relationships with parents and friends, and handles the sorts of things any kid of a similar age would find real. However, he also has a natural ability to connect to a parallel world called the Creature Realm. This realm contains all sorts of interesting creatures and civilizations defined by certain “elements,” and is separated from what we know of as Earth by the Veil. Random incursions through the Veil over time have given rise to UFO sightings, monsters, etc. Meanwhile, the Duel Masters train to maintain the Veil and can ally themselves with creatures from beyond it. Ray and his friends Allison and Gabe become Duel Masters themselves, going into combat with their unique creature friends.
Now that the show has been running on the Hub for two months, Wizards has rolled out the next phases of Kaijudo. Kaijudo: Battle Game is the web portal for new fans where a player can get an avatar, gauntlet, and creatures to take into battle. It’s free to play and serves as a good primer for the more advanced content. Once a player is familiar with the Battle Game and/or the show, it’s time to move on to the TCG (Trading Card Game). Available in both physical and online components (Kaijudo Online – Digital Trading Card Game), the game is fast-paced and easy to learn.
Like other games in its genre Kaijudo involves building a storehouse of resources in order to summon creatures and spells that you can use on your opponent. The game, which I got to demo at San Diego Comic-Con, is streamlined and fast. Draw your cards, build up your energy pool with the colors you need, and summon creatures to attack your opponent’s shield cards. Of course, each card has cool art, stats, and special features that make them unique. There’s a set of Battle Decks (Tatsurion vs. Razorkinder) currently available, with the Dojo Edition (decks and boosters) arriving in stores this week. In addition, each booster pack comes with a code that you can use for the online game, further tying together the different elements of the Kaijudo experience. Finally, there’s an all-inclusive Dojo App on iOS that brings Kaijudo to your mobile devices with a swipe game, creature database, and functionality with the official website.
Check out the show airing now on the Hub and Kaijudo.com for more information!