What is it?
In a similar way to Skylanders, you place plastic toys on a docking station plugged into your console and those toys will appear on-screen allowing the player to use them in-game in specific Playsets.
Characters are linked to Playsets, specific stages based around famous Disney films or locations. John Day told us more at a recent hands-on event:
“In a given Playset you experience a single universe in a really immersive way. So when you play in Cars, you play as a Cars character you do things that makes sense to Cars like racing or building up the town of radiator springs. And if you play in the Pirates of the Caribbean Playset you get a very different experience, you play as a Pirate’s character, you get a pirate ship you sail the high seas, you fight the Kraken, the Kraken eats you, that’s what happens in Pirates. The two never really cross over, Jack sparrow will never go into the Cars Playset and McQueen will never go into the Pirates Playset.”
Essentially a Playset is a campaign; it’s the main meat of a game that, until now, would be a separately released product on a disc.
What’s in the starter pack?
A lot. The game itself for your chosen platform and the Infinity Base (the docking station for the toys). You’ll also get three Playsets for Monster’s University, Pirates of the Caribbean and The Incredibles, so three games in one essentially.
To play in these worlds you also get one character for each film in the form of Sulley, Jack Sparrow and Mr. Incredible. You’ll also get your first power disc -more on those later- and some codes to unlock online web content.
It’s going to be expensive to start with
The above pack is £60. Which in undeniably a lot for an unproven gaming franchise, but Disney’s John Day is keen to defend the game’s pricing policies as he told the BBC:
“I think the value proposition here is really quite good because normally, when Disney releases a new film, there would be another game associated with that that would be upwards of £50. But with Infinity, we can still deliver that additional content moving forward, and for these Playset packs – which are, in their own right, an entire game – the recommended retail price is going to be closer to £30. So you can actually get £50 worth of stuff at a substantial discount.”
Ok, so a few points to address there. You’ll rarely pay £40 for any game today, especially if you look for a deal. I think for a children’s tie-in game, £30 is closer to the mark. So far, I’ve seen pre-orders for the starter pack at £53-£60 and additional Playsets for Cars and The Lone Ranger at £29-£35. These extra sets come with two different figures from the same film.
Extra characters that are sold separately are also surprisingly expensive at £11-£15 each or slightly discounted when bought in a triple pack. In an age of DLC it seems like a big ask for to buy a toy just to stick on a docking station for it to appear in a video game.
It will replace regular Disney tie-in games
Don’t expect to see as many Disney-related video-game tie-ins in the future. Chances are they’ll be getting their own Playset for Disney Infinity instead. If the prices can come down a little after the game’s initial launch period this could provide an overall cheaper alternative to parents who regularly buy these games for their kids.
Two Player Playset Co-op, but you’ll need to pay more
This is a bit cheeky really and could cause disappointment at Christmas for anyone just buying the starter pack. For the Playsets, you can only play with characters related to that universe, all of which are sold separately from the starter pack.
So to add Mike to the game for Monsters University or Dash to The Incredibles for the second player, you’re going to have to fork out an extra £11-£15.
So much multiplatform content
In better news, the toys, Playsets, user-generated content (check out my hands-on report of the game’s level designer) and power discs will all work on any platform. This is great for players taking toys to friends’ houses who may not have the same console and sharing created stages across one huge library can only be a good thing.
We’re a bit confused about the Playsets that are sold separately being multiplatform though. Does that mean the first two are already on the main disc or will they be patched on, along with every future release until we input a code? We imagine a multi-format code will be entered from a main menu to activate content rather than the usual XBLA/PSN codes.
Producer John Day, told us more about another expense that parents can be expected to look forward to:
“Some of these toys live specifically on what we call Power Discs. These are going to be available in blind packs of two. You’ll be purchasing these but you won’t know what got until you’ve got it. Some of these Power Discs change the way the world looks. This is the Power Disc from the sky from Finding Nemo, so I place this on the base and lose my sunny blue sky [in the game’s Toy Box create mode] and now I’ve got the reef from the background and now it looks like I’m underwater and I can stack these up to three high on the base. So using all these things might change how the game looks.”
Discs can also give you extra vehicles in addition to palette themes. Or you may get physical booster ones for extra health, extra loot or extra damage. These packs will sell for £3.99, which when you’ve no idea what you’re getting could be a tough pill to swallow, it’s hardly comparable to the price of footy stickers. I imagine eBay will become flooded with players wishing to trade, especially with the promise of rare discs to be found in some packs too.
We can’t wait to play more of Disney Infinity, but we are of course worried about the amount of money we could sink into it. I’m just grateful I don’t have any kids. Although, Disney have just announced a Toy Story Playset, so I’m going to have to get stuck in. So what about you readers? Do you fancy it? Ditching Skylanders for this? Has this caught the eyes of your children yet?