As my hour with Disney Infinity's Toy Box mode at the San Diego Comic-Con came to a close, producer John Vignocchi had dressed up The Incredibles' Dash in the wings from 1981's Condorman and was attempting to recreate the movie's flight scene.
This was after we used the game's camera tools to create a 2D platformer and put together an impromptu soccer game, complete with score-keeping goals and celebratory fireworks. Before those projects I spent some time flipping through the Toy Box inventory. I drove Mickey Mouse's old-timey jalopy about the colourful playfield, behaving myself until the urge to affix missiles to the side became too strong. I wore Buzz Lightyear's jet pack. I piloted a Recognizer from Tron.
I realised several childhood dreams in the span of an hour -- and that's including the 20 minutes or so Vignocchi spent guiding me through the Pirates of the Caribbean Tortuga playset, demonstrating the open world, quest-based adventures awaiting children who'd rather have a more guided experience. I highly recommend giving the pirate ship battles/travel a try -- those wave physics are a trip.
But I was there to see the Toy Box, and the Toy Box is a trap that will devour the souls of children and adults alike. The excitement I displayed previously for the creative game mode was the excitement of uniformed, imagined potential. Now it's real, and it's even better than I had hoped.
It's not just a blank canvas for players to drop toys. Disney Infinity's Toy Box is a robust game creation tool that's so simple even I could use it.
Using a wand tool (it's an actual wand, in this case), players can link together objects pre-assigned with simple behaviours. Say you have a soccer goal. That soccer goal knows that when an object passes into it, a goal is scored. Drop a scoreboard onto the field and link it to the goal via a simple radial icon menu, and the scoreboard let's you pick a player's score to increase when that goal is activated.
Drop a couple of fireworks pods onto the ground, link them to the goal, and every time one is scored, boom!
The 2D platformer in this vid is created using a 2D camera tool. The top down, Gauntlet-like game? Another camera swap. Using a combination of the items available in the Toy Box (many of which can be unlocked via the game's adventure mode) and simple triggers, anything is possible, from monster truck rallies...
... to a lovely game of chess.
It's much more than just buying toys and booster packs -- though you'll really want to score some boosters. At one point during the demo we slipped a disc onto the Disney Infinity base station and all of the created level's terrain transformed into scenery from the Sugar Rush arcade game from Wreck-It Ralph. The theme song even played.
As my hour came to a close, the public started filing into the venue to get their first look at Disney Infinity and collect their first figures. I wondered if they'd see the potential for play in the game that I did, or if the excitement I felt was a personal thing. Then I watched John Vignocchi animatedly attempting to recreate Condorman. "We'll put this trigger down so his theme music plays before be jumps!"
Definitely not just me.
Disney Infinity hits the Wii, Xbox 360, Wii U, PlayStation 3 and 3DS on August 18.