'Disney Infinity' Game Could Be Summer's Biggest Blockbuster
Captain Jack, Sully and Mr. Incredible are the first figures to be announced.
With Activision's "Skylanders" franchise already earning $500 million in sales (between games and interactive figurines), it was only a matter of time before a competitor stepped up with a project integrating action figures and video games.
This week, Disney formally announced a new game project called "Disney Infinity," which works in the same manner as "Skylanders." Placing (separately sold) figurines on play-set based stands activates virtual versions of them in the game, one that opens up their worlds in two ways.
The first is through missions designed in the characters' individual worlds, such as the Caribbean for Captain Jack Sparrow. The second is an interactive "toy box," which allows users to create their own virtual playgrounds, with items unlocked throughout the course of these missions.
The game is being developed by Avalanche Software, which worked on this formula previously with the 2010 video game release "Toy Story 3." That game introduced the concept of separate single player missions involving heroes Woody and Buzz Lightyear (amongst other characters) and the "toy box" mode, where users could create their own virtual world and decide what happens next.
The initial launch for "Disney Infinity" will introduce several popular characters. Lightning McQueen from "Cars," Woody and Buzz from "Toy Story," and Wreck-It Ralph from the eponymous film have already been confirmed, and their respective movie worlds will be introduced as play sets, opening up vast possibilities for players to use in their "toy box." The game is likely to support cooperative play as well, though player count still has yet to be confirmed. (The stand supports three figurines at once, so two at a time, supported by a play set on the third, is likely.)
Last week, Disney introduced a number of sequels coming to theaters over the next few years, including a new "Muppets" movie in 2014, as well as a sequel to "Marvel's The Avengers" and "Star Wars: Episode VII" for 2015. "Infinity" could easily serve as a portal for new figures that tie into these franchises. Imagine Iron Man, Darth Vader and the Muppets' Animal acting as a team. [See also: 5 Top 'Star Wars' Video Games of All Time]
Considering that the game is being released for most platforms, including the original Nintendo Wii, the Wii U, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 (as well as mobile platforms and the Nintendo 3DS), its outreach is mammoth-size.
Pricing is currently set at $75 for the initial starter pack, which includes Mr. Incredible from "The Incredibles," Sully from "Monsters Inc." and Captain Jack Sparrow from "Pirates of the Caribbean," as well as their play sets. Additional ones (complete with figures from each series – it's likely to be one or two) will be available for $35, and separate Power Disc enhancers, which introduce "buffs" for players to use within the game (like costume changes or power-ups), will go for $5. No word if separate figures will be sold, but if they are introduced, they're likely to go for the same price as smaller Skylanders figures ($10 each).
It'll be interesting to see how the game's features shape up over the next few months, and most of it, like the multiplayer aspect and how well "Toy Box" items interact with one another, is still under some speculation until we try it out. But, considering how well Disney has marketed its major film releases (namely "Wreck-It Ralph" and "Marvel's The Avengers") as of late, along with home video and toy sales, there's no reason this newly formed franchise can't go to "infinity and beyond" after it debuts this June.