E3 2013: Disney Infinity Preview

June 18, 2013

In a couple of months Disney’s multiplatform answer to Skylanders, titled Disney Infinity, will ship around the world. Despite the release looking, Disney was sure to have Infinity on Display at E3 2013 to give us one final pre-launch look at how the game is shaping up.

As per information that has trickled out over the last few months, Disney Infinity will launch with three characters and three Disney-themed worlds, or ‘play sets’. These are Pirates of the Caribbean, The Incredibles and Monsters Inc. In addition to these, two other worlds may be purchased separately: Cars and The Lone Ranger. Each world can be be played solo or co-operatively, and each universe includes up to ten hours of gameplay. When playing a specific universe there’s crossover between Disney characters. For example, only Monsters Inc characters can be used in their play set.

We pried the attending staff for any tease of Marvel and Star Wars characters and universes making the move to Infinity, but they all refused to confirm anything at this point in time. Boo!

To boot up a game, character figurines are placed on the Infinity base plate. Characters known to be available include The Lone Ranger, Tonto, Captain Jack Sparrow, Davy Jones, Captain Barbossa, Mr. Incredible, Dash, Syndrome, Mike Wazowski, Sully, Randall, and Cars 2‘s Lightning McQueen, Mater, Holley Shiftwell and Francesco Bernoulli. Buying new characters doesn’t give you access to more content, but rather the unique skill-set of the character. Multi platform Infinity owners will be pleased to learn that characters are compatible between all platforms, so you’ll only ever need to buy a figurine once. You can also buy power discs, small coin-like power-ups, separately in randomised packs like trading cards. Sitting the discs underneath the character gives them further powers and abilities, like more health or a bigger boost for your Cars character.

There are missions, side quests, collectables to find and more to complete in the sand-box style play sets. Each aims to convey the sense of being in the franchise universe while staying true to the source material, but players are generally pushed towards completing tasks set outside the existing story. For example, in the Monsters Inc universe, you do not play events directly from the movie. Instead, you take part in shenanigans at Monsters University not seen in the script. The level we played in the Monster Inc universe required us to set up pranks on the rival monsters university. Meanwhile the level we played in Cars saw us speeding around the world and modifying the landscape to create ramps, roads and more.

When not exploring the franchise specific universes you’ll likely be enjoying the ‘toybox’, which lets you create and bring together all the characters across the sets and play with up to four people. So, for example, you can have Jack Sparrow and Lightening McQueen together in one world. Similar to Minecraft with a touch of LittleBigPlanet, you can build Disney-inspired environments in an absolutely massive sandbox world. You can spawn numerous pre-made items to create racing tracks, puzzles, waves of enemies and more. You can also set up items to react in certain ways. For example, if you teleport to a certain point on the map, other items can spawn instantly and be told to react in certain ways. On top of this, the world you’re creating can be set up with a theme from a particular movie. For example, you can make all the items or the environment have a Tron vibe.

There is an amazing level of detail and endless potential for creation in Disney Infinity, which we guess was the main goal going into the project. It’s a game where you’ll experience a sandbox, mission focused adventure in your favourite Disney branded universes, then let your imagination run wild in the full sandbox mode, creating all kinds of landscapes, cities, missions, and interactive set pieces. Though you’ll be able to do all this solo, we suspect Infinity will shine brightest in multiplayer. From the simplest local co-op, to uploading and sharing your created worlds between friends. Disney will even pick out the best creations and share them online as part of a greater network.

Disney Infinity is on track for an August release on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U, 3DS, Wii, and PC.