Disney Infinity has done impressively this year. From a standing start it sliced a sizeable portion of the toy-meets-video-game market for itself. While some would suggest this was predictable with such a rich array of household favourite characters to draw on, Avalanche Software still needed to execute an enjoyable game that made sense of the toy tie-in.
While much of the excitement around today’s announcement of the next version of Infinity has been around the Marvel franchise, again Avalanche Software needs to do more than lean on these Disney properties to keep a pace with Activision.
Disney came out fighting in Hollywood today and announced Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes not only as its new game but as the new game from the 'toy-video-game market leader'. The “best-selling new hybrid toy / video game of 2013” no less (according to the NPD Group’s video games retail sales data).
There is a new line of toy Marvel figures used to access in-game characters. Then there are the Play Sets adventures. Written this time by Marvel comic writer Michael Bendis you can play as over 20 Marvel characters (Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow, Thor, Hulk and Hawkeye so far shown) as long as you have purchased the related figurine. Gameplay involves the usual battling enemies, completing challenging missions, solving puzzles but all in much bigger environments this time.
This is perhaps why Disney Infinity 2.0 is not coming to the Wii; while it moves on to PS4 and Xbox One the long in the tooth platform isn’t supported. Here Activision scores Ninty brownie points as Skylanders Trap Team is still getting a Wii version.
Back in Disney Infinity 2.0 the Toy Box is getting enhanced as well. New structured, franchise-themed adventures provide a ready built starting point for players to customise. Also, a new Creator tool helps them build worlds faster and easier.
Gameplay is enhanced with new combat and more destructible game worlds along with a new set of Marvel gadgets and vehicles. We saw a range of different Avenger characters at the press conference which were grouped into different classes.
Collectors will be pleased to hear that all the existing Disney Infinity figures, toys and power discs are compatible with Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes. They also get a level cap increase from level 15 to 20. More importantly though there is a new skills tree to customise your character more like you do in Skylanders.
Finally the power discs. New circular and hexagonal Power Discs add costumes, Area of Effect attacks and team-ups. Hexagonal power discs will add new weapons, vehicles and sky and terrain customizations.
It seems that even if you own the first game you still need to buy a starter pack. This includes the Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes video game, three Marvel Super Heroes Figures: Iron Man, Thor and Black Widow, a Disney Infinity 2.0 Base, two Toy Box Game Discs, a Marvel’s The Avengers Play Set piece and a Web Code Card.
Disney Infinity 2.0 starter packs will be available in the fall on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii U, PC, iOS.