With a game by developers who have worked on Elite Beat Agents, Gears of War and toys — real articulated action figures — from one of Transformers' most prolific designers, Infinite Arms is exactly where I wanted the toys-to-life genre to go. Infinite Arms is the creation Jumo, Inc., a new entertainment company run by familiar faces. CEO and co-founder Keiichi Yano is also the co-founder and COO of iNiS, the Japanese developer behind games like Elite Beat Agents and Gitaroo Man. They have Chris Esaki, former creative director of Microsoft Studios. The company's director of narrative design is Tom Abernathy, whose work includes League of Legends, Halo: Reach and The Division. These are awfully big names for a toys-to-life game, or games-to-life, as Jumo labels Infinite Arms.
Actual gears are involved in these wars.
Rather than bring toys to life in games, the plan is to bring games to life through toys. Infinite Arms will launch as a free-to-play shooter with single player story mode and local multiplayer. The characters in the game are customisable robot warriors designed by Transformers and Tamagotchi toy designer Yasuo Takahama.
And of course, actual toys as well. Players will be able to purchase not just fully-articulated action figures from within the game (fulfilled by Amazon and not sold in stores), but regular releases of add-on weapons. The toys communicate with the game via Bluetooth, so snapping a new weapon onto either the hulking red Skorpos or the majestic Ixion will cause it to spawn instantly in game.
What really grabs me here is the toy designs. Takaham's Transformers roots shine through, especially in the blue centaur-like Ixion. Just look at that face.
The other aspect of the game that appeals to me as a collector is the availability of the toys. Quarterly toy and weapon releases are one-and-done. Once the batch is gone, it's gone forever.
I'm hoping there will be plenty to go around. Aside from an in-game gem mechanic, toy sales will be Infinite Arms' primary income source.
It will be interesting to see how Infinite Arms plays out. Jumo is accepting beta sign-ups at the game website, so we should have an idea fairly soon how the virtual robot battles play out. If all else fails, we'll always have those gorgeous figures to play with.