My daughter and I attended the launch of Disney Infinity, Disney
Interactive's new platform at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood back in January. In a kind gesture to the Disney fan community, members of D23, the
official Disney fan club, were invited to attend and watch the proceedings from
the balcony. Where they then received a shout-out from the stage from John
John Lasseter at Tuesday's Disney
Infinity preview event. Photo by Alice Hill
John Pleasants, John Lasseter and John Blackburn (I sense a
pattern here) took the stage in turn to explain the slightly complicated (at
first) concept of Disney Infinity.
Toy Box mode in the Toy
Story 3 video game. Copyright Disney Pixar. All rights reserved
The idea first hatched while Avalanche Software was pitching
for the Toy Story 3 video game
, which includes a "Toy Box mode" -
similar to "sandbox mode" in other games, meaning completely
freestyle play, little or no storyline, quest or scripted adventure. You'll
find this kind of thing in games like Minecraft and the Grand Theft Auto
Mr. Incredible demonstrates
how linked-together items working in Disney Infinity's Toy Box mode. Copyright
Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved
In Infinity, much like in Minecraft and Sony's hit series
Little Big Planet - which includes official Disney and Marvel skins
(costumes/appearance) -- players can build their own "levels" and tag
certain items (a step plate, a lever, a rock) to behave in a certain way. A
door will open when the lever is pulled - if the player programs the lever to
do so, which is achieved with just a couple of clicks.
A sampling of Disney Infinity
figures. Photo by Alice Hill
Before the event, people in the gaming industry and gaming
media heard rumors that Disney Infinity would be Disney's answer to the wildly
popular Skylanders series. Yes and no. The biggest similarity is that both
Infinity and Skylanders are launched via a small figurine of whatever character
the player will be using. While Skylanders' creatures battle, Pokemon-style,
using types - genus might be the closest I can describe it - Water-type is
stronger than fire-type, and so on. Each separate character has its own battle
stats as well. My daughter credits her years of playing Pokemon with her ease
in passing statistics class.
Some of the round and
hexagonal pieces that power this new Disney Interactive gaming platform. Photo
by Alice Hill
The Disney difference here is, that instead of placing one
character, there is room on the hub for two, with round bases PLUS a
hexagonal-shaped indentation, for a hexagonal piece. This piece is not a
character, but rather a flat, semi-clear (it looked almost like an unlit glow
cube from where we were sitting) object which would then tell the game to
conjure up a new setting or item...we saw Jack Sparrow in Cinderella's coach,
which can only happen in "Toy Box" mode. Each theme is kept
completely separate and pure during standard play, which they call "Play Set"
The stylized versions of
Mike & Sulley which appear in the "Monsters
University" Play Set on this
new Disney Interactive gaming platform. Copyright Disney Pixar. All rights
The "worlds" we saw featured Monsters
University (and spoiled the movie
BIG TIME, but I won't here), The Incredibles and Pirates of the Caribbean.
The figures are very stylized, unlike any other version of the characters. The
Starter Kit will include Sulley from Monsters
University, Jack Sparrow from
Pirates of the Caribbean (the game, says Blackburn,
is based upon the first three films) and Mr. Incredible. The Incredibles are in
an alternate universe where Jack-Jack was never kidnapped, so Syndrome is one
of the villains.
The superhero saga of the
Incredibles continues with Disney Infinity. Photo by Alice Hill
In the Pirates world, you can actually pilot the entire
ship. You can customize your ship, even to the cannons, battle with Davy Jones,
and even gang up on him via multiplayer mode, either sharing a ship or each
piloting your own. Some of the Pirates characters we saw were Mr. Gibbs, Davy
Jones, Hammerhead, Pintel and Ragetti, Barbossa and Tia Dalma / Calypso.
John Blackburn, founder of
Avalanche Software, shows off the "Pirates of the Caribbean"
play set. Photo by Alice Hill
In "Toy Box" mode, we saw a familiar castle,
Spaceship Earth and Scrooge McDuck's money bin, Abu the elephant, and Perry the
Platypus from Phineas & Ferb. Characters can ride other characters and also
lift and carry them.
Check out those Disney
icons behind Sulley. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved
After the presentation, the VIPs headed across the street to
the Loews Hotel, the D23 gang to the Roosevelt, and the
media got to get up-close-and-personal with the games themselves, on three
different platforms: XBox 360, Wii and Playstation 3. The game will also be
available on tablets, phones and online.
Too much pixar for me personally but then again I preferred the Disney computer animation films like chicken little and meet the robinsons.
I just hope its not as terrible as epic Mickey 2 which my son only played once and wont touch it again.
What did you and Alice think about how the game played, Shelly? Is there enough there to attract and keep the attention of the non-game playing Disneyphile?