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Gamer Tuesday

January 22, 2013

Pap the Disney Gamer's Highlights: Disney's Infinity Reveal and Preview

As I haven't stated this enough in the two year history of Gamer Tuesday, I love it when video game companies truly get into the Disney culture and create captivating games out of it. Games like Epic Mickey, Kingdom Hearts, and Kinect Disneyland Adventures shine in how they take the stories, music, characters, and places we know and produce solid to great video games that shine throughout, flaws and all. It's a shame that a lot of the efforts seen are merely quick adaptations that are in actuality extensions of the merchandise out to promote a film, TV show or franchise, because there is a lot to mine in the world of Disney. Today's game, despite being just announced, has me excited at the possibilities: Disney Infinity.

Disney Infinity

The game, while being teased at for months, was finally revealed last week at a special event in Hollywood, and is teased as a vast, creative experience that lets players explore Disney worlds, interact with the characters and partake in various missions. Yet, what Disney is really selling is the ability to create worlds and habitat them with all the characters. This is indeed quite exciting, but what is even more interesting is that Infinity is a mix of ideas that have been in development for years, some by Disney themselves, others by different companies.

Before we dive into the heart of the game, here is a video preview of the game:


If the game so far seems familiar, it is because you may have already played the game under a different name. Let us go back to 2010. In that summer, Pixar released their biggest hit to date, Toy Story 3. The movie closed out the Andy's toy saga is a very poignant manner, and brought everyone together to witness Woody, Buzz, and friends go on another exciting adventure. The event was understandably big. Big enough that Disney rolled out the merchandise machine to make the film an even bigger event, and thus a video game adaptation was released. Toy Story 3: The Video Game followed a great deal of the movie's events as players stepped onto the shoes of Buzz and Woody.

The game, despite its status as a licensed game, earned solid reviews from the media. The main reason why, though, was because Toy Story 3: The Video Game featured a groundbreaking mode never before seen in a game of its kind: the Toy Box mode. In Toy Box mode, players had the freedom to create levels, include missions, and add as many characters as they liked. For many, the infinite possibilities of the mode rose the game above the standard tie-in game and gave the developer, Avalanche Software, some well deserved recognition.

Disney Infinity

So if Infinity looks familiar, that is because Avalanche is looking to expand on their own concepts using Disney and Pixar's expansive library of worlds, characters, and stories. Much like in Toy Story 3: The Video Game, players have the option of visiting the game worlds and complete missions and interact with the characters, or they can go and create Disney worlds they can later play in. Infinity is already showing one advancement in Toy Story 3's concept, and that is that the tools and items players will use to create their worlds have been lifted straight from Disney and Pixar stories. You can put Spaceship Earth as the centerpiece of your world, then adorn it with the flying lanterns from Tangled, just outside Monsters Universe, and then have it so that Jack Sparrow and Mater can interact with your character.

These characters have a lengthy, timeless legacy not just at Disney but in pop culture in general, so it is easy to see why the basic idea behind Infinity's concept is already attracting people to it. Disney and Avalanche know this, and have decided to implement another feature that is slowly becoming a natural element in gaming: the action figure.


In 2011, Activision released Skylanders, a multi-platform release that had one huge innovation: players could buy figures of the main characters, then place them on top of a portal that would make them appear in the game. The figures feature a RFID chip that allowed it to communicate with the portal and the game, making them appear and disappear with the player's actions. Despite jaded and cynical gamers claiming that the character feature could have been easily done without the need of toys, and the claims that the title was a way to maximize profits, Skylanders proved to be a hit with the young gaming audience due to its charm and appeal of the collectible action figures.

Disney Infinity

Disney's Infinity looks to capitalize on the same concept, with the teaser trailer showing off Jack Sparrow and Sulley appearing first as figurines in the real world that materialize in the digital game world. The idea is brimming with potential, as the characters do have a long legacy and commend a presence in many a childhood. Disney is also no stranger to collectibles thanks to their seemingly endless supply of pins and Vinylmations, so Infinity could prove to be another successful medium for Disney to present their characters in a collectible manner. What's even more exciting about this is that the roster of characters could be endless and appear from any corner of Disney if the game allows for new figures to be released then used in the game. Early artwork suggest that Victor and Frankenweenie could be part of the final game.

Disney Infinity will be released in June of 2013 for every major system in the market. Other details as to what other characters we can expect in addition to the roster we currently have, the price and availability of the figures and their accessories and if there will be any changes in between the various versions have yet to be confirmed at this point in time. But any development of the game prior to release will be informed here on Gamer Tuesday, so stay tuned!


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