Home Your Tech Entertainment Entertainment Disney Infinity – Minecraft, Skylanders and LittleBigPlanet in one

With some of the most beloved characters harking back over 9 decades as well as owning the rights to the more modern popular names from the brilliant Pixar animated movies, Disney is well placed to launch into a multiplatform spanning, real-world collectible, video-game toy box.  Launched today is Disney Infinity a new way to adventure, enjoy and interact with your favourite fictional folk.


The immediate reaction to the announcement of Disney Infinity is to draw obvious parallels to Activision’s Skylanders IP.  But you can hardly blame Disney for trying to ride the coat tails of the monstrous money making motions of matching collectible figurines with a video game franchise.

Disney, Pixar and their video-game crafting partners Avalanche Software are taking the Skylanders idea and pushing it further however with Infinity with an emphasis on maintaining the integrity of individual IP (intellectual Property) and brands, whilst at the same time, giving kids (and kids-at-heart) the chance to experiment with characters as they would do with a toybox full of character figurines.

So how does it work? – Here is the description from Disney: players will place real-world interactive figures – characters, power discs and Play Set pieces – on a device called the "Disney Infinity Base" to activate original, story-driven adventures in the game worlds, also known as “Play Sets,” of "Monsters University," "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "The Incredibles." In each respective ”Play Set,” players will take on the role of a variety of popular characters including Sulley, the naturally gifted scarer; Captain Jack Sparrow, the sword-wielding double crosser; and Mr. Incredible, one of the world's greatest crime-fighters, and battle enemies, solve challenging puzzles, overcome obstacles and complete a variety of other unique quests.

As players advance through each adventure, they will collect characters, vehicles, upgrades, gadgets and more which they can save to a virtual "Toy Box."  At any time, players can access their personal "Toy Box" and use the items to create one-of-a-kind Disney adventures featuring any combination of characters, environments and items across all franchises. The possibilities are endless and players are only limited by their imaginations.


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During the presentation, co-president of Disney Interactive, John Pleasants promised that at launch, in June this year, other Play Set’s will be available to choose from.  The presentation included footage and assets from many Disney Pixar IP’s including Cars, Toy Story, Wreck-it Ralph and even Tron.

Over 20 action figures will be available at launch (40 collectible figures are planned at this time), and they look very attractive indeed.  During an hour of ‘Johns’ Mr Pleasants made way for The Disney presentation moved John Lasseter, Chief Creative Officer at both Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Lasseter has overseen much of the creative aspects on some of the top projects released by the companies.  He gushed over the model renditions of some of his animation creations brought statically into the real world.

He also lauded over the work done by Avalanche Software in bringing the Disney Infinity across just about every gaming platform currently doing the rounds.  “The animation on the characters is fantastic.” Said Lasseter.

The nuts and bolts of the new platform involve buying a starter box set which includes three characters, plus the all-important Infinity base that enables the figurines to enter the virtual world.

Avalanche Software Vice President and General Manager, John Blackburn completed the John trio during the presentation and explained how the software will allow the figurines to be played within Infinity.

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“Disney Infinity combines prominent Disney and Pixar characters and scenarios in a way that mimics how kids play in real life,” said Blackburn, “With our platform’s unique gameplay mechanics and innovative approach to user generated content within the “Toy Box” mode, Disney Infinity will spark imaginations and provide endless hours of fun and creativity.”

Infinity allows the characters to play in specially themed games Play Sets such as The Pirates of the Caribbean, and then also be combined in the “Toy Box” mode with other IP characters, mounts, and unique powers and customizations using real-world interactive Power Discs.

On top of the game play and collectible aspects, Infinity will give those with the creative urge, plenty of tools to create their own adventure play-sets.  Hundreds of Pixar and Disney assets can be incorporated into the virtual open world, and everything from the terrain and skies can be themed accordingly.  

These creations can then be uploaded for moderation and sharing with the entire Disney Infinity population.

Disney Interactive is aiming high.  Platforms for the June release are: Nintendo Wii and Nintendo Wii-U, Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PLAYSTATION 3 computer entertainment system, PC, as well as an accompanying mobile experience.

Given the popularity of Skylanders and games such as MineCraft and Little Big Planet, the formula that Disney Infinity is mixing is sure to be a hit, except perhaps with parent’s wallets.

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Mike Bantick

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Having failed to grow up Bantick continues to pursue his childish passions for creative writing, interactive entertainment and showing-off through adulthood. In 1994 Bantick began doing radio at Melbourne’s 102.7 3RRRFM, in 1997 transferring to become a core member of the technology show Byte Into It. In 2003 he wrote briefly for the The Age newspaper’s Green Guide, providing video game reviews. In 2004 Bantick wrote the news section of PC GameZone magazine. Since 2006 Bantick has provided gaming and tech lifestyle stories for iTWire.com, including interviews and opinion in the RadioactivIT section.

 

 

 

 

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