To infinity and... you know the rest.
We’ve known Disney was at work on a project called Disney Infinity for quite some time now, but it wasn’t until today that the company unveiled what exactly that is. In a nutshell, it’s a multi-platform, Skylanders-esque experience that takes characters and elements from several Disney and Pixar films and places them in the same universe(s).
Disney Infinity will be making its way to mobile, console, and PC. It’s not quite appropriate to call it a “game,” as it’s more a virtual universe comprised of games based on a variety of Disney franchises. And, not unlike Skylanders, physical action figures will be the crux of the experience, with each one unlocking a new area or set of levels for players to explore. Additionally, although details are scarce about it at the moment, the mobile versions (ostensibly iOS and Android) will be different, and somehow function as a supplement to the core experience.
Disney Infinity will ship with a starter pack featuring figures based on The Incredibles, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Monsters University. Characters from Nightmare Before Christmas, Phineas and Ferb, and Toy Story were also shown during the announcement, and it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to see Disney-owned properties like Star Wars and The Muppets show up.
Disney has stated they're hoping this franchise will be long-term, so we can expect to see myriad films and shows popping up in its universe over the years. And while it may borrow a page or two from the book of Skylanders, Disney Infinity has a few new tricks up its sleeve. Most notably, there are "Power Discs." These are small plastic pieces that contain new items for use in-game, along with power-ups for various characters. These chips will be sold in random packages of two for $5.
And there’s more to Disney Infinity than just a variety of separate games for players to experience. In fact, the real meat and potatoes can be found in its “Toy Box” mode. Disney Interactive co-president John Pleasants dropped a few examples of what all can happen in this mode, mentioning the potential for a sword fight between Jack Sparrow and Phineas Flynn, or a race between between Dash and Lightning McQueen. Players are given free rein to take whichever characters and items they wish and create a world all their own with them. It’s as though a childhood-friendly version of fan fiction is unveiling before your very eyes!
Toy Box mode will also be multiplayer friendly (as will every mode in the game), allowing additional players to drop in and out of the experience as they please. I don't know about you, but I'm already devising ways of dropping into a friend's world as Wreck-It Ralph and, well, wrecking stuff. This is probably why people won't play video games with me.
Your minds are probably racing with character combinations right now - Phineas vs. Sulley, Woody and Jack Skellington hanging out, etc. - and that's okay! But it's worth noting that characters from separate films can only hang out together in Toy Box mode, and that characters are otherwise tethered to the films they star in. So if you're playing the Toy Story-specific game, for example, you can't bring in characters who aren't from that movie.
Disney Infinity is set to launch in June 2013, and we’ll surely be hearing quite a bit more about it in the months leading up. We’ll keep you in the loop, because that way we can all gush like excited children together.