Last year at E3, Ubisoft made a bold choice -- just as Disney Infinity, Skylanders and every other toys-to-life game franchise was winding down, it announced. Starlink: Battle for Atlas looked cool, but fans had to wonder: how could Ubisoft make a toys-to-life game work in 2018?
Turns out the answer was easy. Just add Nintendo.
Today at E3 2018, Ubisoft announced that the Nintendo Switch version of Starlink would feature characters from Nintendo's own action space simulator: Star Fox. Complete with their own toys.
The introduction of Star Fox into Ubisoft's new space game is completely unexpected, but not necessarily a surprise. Last year, Ubisoft forged a strong relationship with Nintendo when it released Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle. Today, the company also showed off more details about an upcoming Donkey Kong-themed expansion to that game -- and then surprised the audience by calling Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto to the stage to present him with a Starlink: Battle for Atlas toy modeled after an Arwing from Star Fox.
If you're not familiar with how that works, it's basically modular toy that attaches to the player's controller. In the case of the Nintendo Switch, the ship mount will be built into a custom Joy-con controller holder. As the player ads or removes starship chassis, weapons or pilots, their in-game ship will change, too. Ubisoft says the base game can be fully completed with what will come in the starter pack -- but more ships will be available for players who want more options.
Starlink: Battle for Atlas will launch on Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on October 16th 2018, but the Star Fox content -- including Fox McCloud, his Arwing and a set of bonus missions -- are exclusive to Nintendo's console.
E3 2018 coverage at GameSpot: Wall-to-wall coverage of the show from our sister site, GameSpot.
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E3 2018 coverage at CNET: All of our E3 2018 coverage in one place.
E3 2018 coverage at Giant Bomb: Still more commentary and news from E3, from our colleagues at Giant Bomb.