Rather than release a fourth core game in as many years, the Disney Infinity team is focusing on expanding version 3.0 in 2016, with fresh content coming from all corners of the Disney universe including Star Wars, Marvel, Zootopia and The Jungle Book. The new approach, detailed today in a Disney Infinity Next online presentation, makes a whole lot of sense. The series is based on the creative engine core developer Avalanche Software originally developed for the Toy Story 3 video game's Toy Box mode. Along with allowing players to create their own worlds and games, the idea was to use the flexible technology to deliver fresh experiences across a broad range of properties.
Since the 2013 release of the original Disney Infinity, new developers have been brought on board to tweak things like combat and racing physics, facilitating the need for Disney Infinity 2.0 in 2014 and 3.0 in 2016.
Now it looks like the Infinity team is enough with what they have got to let it ride. New adventure and game packs released in 2016 will test the limits of the game engine's ability to deliver more than just the same Star Wars level twice.
The first test kicks off on March 24 with the release of Marvel Battlegrounds in Australia, which pits all of Infinity's Marvel Comics characters against each other in a brawler that's one part Super Smash Bros., one part Power Stone.
You may notice some new characters joining the fray in that shot. Ant-Man, Black Panther and Vision are joining the Marvel Infinity lineup, with the formerly Vita-exclusive black suited Spider-Man getting a solo release as well.
In a pre-briefing last week producer John Vignocchi would not confirm nor deny that Squirrel Girl was on the way, but did say that more characters are coming in 2016.
Before we get to March 15 however, we've got to get past Zootopia. The new animated movie's Australian debut is in two weeks, and a pair of new figures are hitting stores to celebrate.
I have these two figures already (I'm a bit of a bunny fan), and they fit in with the rest of the line quite nicely, thanks to the Disney Infinity toy designers' dark wizardry.
If all goes well I'll be seeing the movie soon, probably alone. I might cry a little.
Speaking of crying, there's a new live-action Jungle Book movie on the way. Instead of crafting figures based on whatever that ends up being (though I wouldn't rule it out), the Infinity folks listened to fans hungry for more classic characters and created this:
Now that's what an animated bear is supposed to look like.
Fans can look forward to a ton of new stuff as the year continues. Not worrying about putting together a new boxed game has freed up the team to create new content, and they're really fond of saying "If it's happening at The Walt Disney Company, it's happening inside Disney Infinity."