Disney Unveils 'Infinity' Gaming Initiative

 

Describing it as “its most ambitious gaming initiative ever,” Disney on Tuesday was showing off a new video game that lets players mash such disparate characters as Jack Sparrow, Cinderella and Peter Pan together.

The game, which was code-named Toy Box while in development over the past three years, officially was dubbed Disney Infinity at an event at the company’s El Capitan Theater in Hollywood on Tuesday.

Infinity is a video game/action figure hybrid akin to Skylanders from Activision Blizzard. With both games, players purchase toy figures -- in Disney’s case, it might be Sparrow, or a Pixar or Marvel character, for example -- that, when placed on a special pad, unlock portions of the video game. Skylanders was launched in 2011, and last year the toy figures outsold those from Star Wars and every other established franchise.

Disney, which is losing money at its interactive unit, is hoping for a similar smash hit. Infinity, though, won’t hit stores until June, around the same time Monsters University arrives in theaters, and that movie’s Sulley character is featured in the game.

Infinity will be available for Xbox 360, Wii, PlayStation 3, online and on tablets. Initially, 17 figures will be released, along with 40 “collectible interactive pieces” and “Power Discs,” which give the toy figures unique powers and gadgets. Players solve puzzles, battle enemies and “explore iconic locations from famous Disney properties,” the company said in a release.

"What inspired this is remembering what it was like to play with toys on a living-room floor," said John Day, a producer at Avalanche, the Disney unit that developed the game. Day said Pixar and Disney will contribute music, art and other assets to the game and be involved with approvals "to make sure we're treating the properties correctly."

Disney wouldn't say exactly what it spent to create the game, though Day said it was in the tens of millions of dollars. Analysts estimate that Activision Blizzard spent $100 million developing Skylanders.

“Disney Infinity introduces a new way to interact with the best of Disney on one game platform, both now and in the future,” said co-president of Disney Interactive John Pleasants. “With this innovative approach to gaming, Disney Infinity will bring to life new characters, stories and environments from The Walt Disney Co. over time in a way that will delight fans and gamers alike.”

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