Today at the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood, California, Disney finally let the cat out of the bag. Apparently that bag is a big bag full of toys. On hand to play Santa Claus were Disney and Pixar creative head, John Lasseter and Disney Interactive’s John Pleasants. Disney Interactive and Avalanche Software have teamed up again for a video game and this time they’ve added collectible toys to the mix. Disney Infinity will allow players to play with real toys in a multi-platform virtual world. Unfortunately, many parents are likely groaning as this latest effort will certainly not be free.
The presentation opened with an introduction from John Pleasants who got to business fairly quickly.
“This product, for the very first time will bring together the very best of Disney’s IPs…past, present and future.”
“With Disney Infinity you will be able to go into the world of your favorite characters or you can bring these characters together in the world of your choosing to help them build, create or play in any way you can imagine.”
“It will be global and it will live across all platforms…console, mobile and online…”
“Today we are announcing three playsets for our June launch, led with these leads right here: Monster University, The Incredibles and Pirates of the Caribbean and there will be additional playsets at launch.”
“There will be over 20 characters and toys as well at launch and we will add more characters and playsets through 2013.”
Disney Infinity will initially introduce a line of 40 collectible interactive figures, play set pieces and power discs. There will be 17 interactive characters, three Play Set pieces, and 20 power discs to enhance environments, add gadgets and more. The game will support two player co-op play in the structured adventures and up to four players in Toy Box mode. Pleasants also revealed that the console and online versions will be functional at launch with a connected mobile experience. The mobile experience is promised to eventually evolve into a comparable playable experience.
John Lasseter surprisingly revealed that he was initially skeptical of the concept.
“The one thing I can’t stand is when you take characters from one of our movies, take it out of the story and plop it into something and pull someone else in there. Mr. Incredible doesn’t live in the same world as Sully and Mike.”
It took reminding him of the same scenarios that played out in his very own Toy Story movies to bring him around.
If this sounds a little familiar, that’s because a similar concept was pioneered by Activision in the popular Skylanders games. Disney does however take the idea a few steps forward. Where the Skylanders games are for the most part a straight adventure game with alternating characters, Disney Infinity will actually be three different games in one. For each playset, there will be a scripted adventure and then a freeform play area. Items can then be unlocked from the playsets for the big toy chest which can then be used to build entire worlds.
Similar to Little Big Planet, players will be allowed to be game developers and be able to share their creations online. A pretty faithful recreation of Bowser’s Castle from Mario Kart was shown and plenty of other things can be built in the giant 3D sandbox. Unfortunately, there was no mention of Disney’s recent acquisitions of the Muppets, Marvel and Star Wars. The idea of having Han Solo and Iron Man teaming up is a rogue’s dream team. With an expected June release for the Nintendo Wii U, Sony Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo 3DS, and home computer, more information is sure to be forthcoming.
Be sure to check out our videos on YouTube and extra pictures on Facebook, subscribe to this page and check out my column on Examiner.com (www.examiner.com/la-console-rpg-in-los-angeles/lance-roth) or (http://www.examiner.com/la-actionadventure-game-in-los-angeles/lance-roth).