Disney Takes on Skylanders with 'Disney Infinity'

If you’ve been sitting on your hands, waiting with baited breath for Disney to come up with a new way to separate you from your money, rejoice! Your dream has come true, thanks to the irresistible-looking Disney Infinity.

It’s no secret that Activision has been raking in the cash with its Skylanders franchise, a clever property that brings together video gaming and real-world figurine collecting. Skylanders fans use the latter to unlock new content in the former. It’s ambitious, it’s lucrative (aka, expensive for parents), and for kids, it’s extremely fun.

Now Skylanders is getting its first major competition, and it’s coming from the juggernaut of all things kids-and-family-entertainment: Disney.

Launching in June, Disney Infinity is nothing less than an open-world playground that joins together multiple Disney properties. Like Activision’s games, real-world figurines (available for separate purchase) will plug into the “Disney Infinity Base” and unlock new in-game characters and worlds, aka “Play Sets.” Gameplay includes puzzle solving, platforming, fighting, and more. The game is being crafted by Avalanche Games, the folks behind the critically-acclaimed tie-in games for Toy Story 3 and Cars 2, so you can expect loads of “toy box style” fun.

As you play through these worlds, you’ll be able to collect more characters, as well as vehicles, upgrades, gadgets, and more, and save them all to your own virtual “Toy Box.” One of the big twists is that there’s a major mode of play that draws on Minecraft for inspiration; it essentially allows you to create your own game environments and play through it at will. The game will support 2-player co-op, and 4 players sharing a game in toy box mode.

An initial “Starter Pack” will include the video game software, Base unit, and three figurines/Play Sets. These three — Mr. Incredible from The Incredibles, Captain Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean, and Sully from Monsters University — and the worlds they inhabit are the first major characters and worlds announced for Disney Infinity. The game is compatible with PC, Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii U, along with a “companion mobile experience” that Disney has yet to detail.

Disney claims that 17 character figures will be available at launch; 14 of them will put those characters into the game, while the aforementioned big three will add new locations to the game. There will also be 20 “Power Discs,” which add new gadgets, enhance your existing environments, and more. If you’re thinking this sounds like a form of nickel-and-diming, you’re right. But I’m thinking Disney fans are going to be unable to resist pretty much everything Infinity has to offer. It just looks like so much fun!

The Starter Pack will sell for $74.99, while an undefined “Play Set Pack” is priced at $34.99, individual Power Discs will run $4.99, individual figurines will be $12.99, and a 3-pack of figurines will set you back $29.99. So while Infinity won’t be a cheap hobby, I don’t think you could call it outrageous.

Disney will regularly release new figurines/Play Sets featuring additional characters from Disney’s various properties, over time. Based on a compilation image Disney released with its announcement about the game, you can also expect to see characters and settings from Toy Story, Cars, Wreck-It Ralph, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Phineas & Ferb in the near future. Initially, it looks like Infinity is sticking to Disney and Pixar franchises, but… Wait a sec.

As many great franchises as those two companies have, there are a pair elephants in the room. Don’t forget, Disney owns two more mammoth companies full of beloved characters. It’s a no-brainer that eventually, Marvel and Star Wars characters will join in the fun — monumentally expanding the Infinity universe into fun new places, with tons of new characters.

Find out more about Disney Infinity here.

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Robin Parrish

Unathletic, uncoordinated tall man with endless creativity stampeding through his overactive brain. Comes with beard, wife, and two miniature humans. Novelist. General blogger and main Gaming Geek for ForeverGeek. Lead Blogger, Apple Gazette.

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