Released Sunday, the new video game Disney Infinity is sufficiently ambitious in what it sets out to accomplish that under any circumstances it would be probably be piquing significant media interest right about now. But because this is a Disney venture — the game was launched on the backs of iconic Pixar and/or Disney franchises like “Monsters University,” “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “The Incredibles” — buzz is building to a crescendo.
Here's a sampling of what some gaming experts are saying about Disney Infinity and the ways in which it could impact how children interface with video games:
USA Today’s Brett Molina: “A starter kit ($74.99) includes a copy of the game, a base that connects to a PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii or Nintendo Wii U, and three toys. Additional figures will be sold separately. Figurines placed on the base are transported into the digital world, allowing players to explore with a video game controller. The feature that's generated the most buzz for Infinity is Toy Box, a virtual sandbox where players can openly explore with any combination of characters and build lush Disney-themed worlds. Users with an online Disney account can upload their creations to the cloud for users of any version of Infinity to download.”
Wall Street Journal’s Yannick LeJacq: “There’s (the) sheer variety of different ways to play Disney Infinity itself, regardless of which toy you have in your hand at any given moment. Each of Disney Infinity’s brand-specific toy bundles are divided into distinct ‘play sets’ that offer two different things: a story-driven campaign mode, each of which lasts around four to six hours, and added content for an open-ended play mode known as the ‘Toy Box.’ As the name implies, Toy Box is a combination of Disney-created and user-generated content, a wide-open space that gives players free range to create entire levels or worlds of their own.”
Wired Magazine’s Chris Kohler: “It’s hard to escape the feeling that Disney left out some important information when it sold us on the creativity mode. It’s possible to create some pretty impressive stuff with Toy Box, including actual video game levels that can time you and keep score and use logic and everything, but not right out of the box. Lots and lots of the ‘building blocks’ — not just cosmetics but actual functional key parts — are locked behind paywalls and playwalls. We’ve sunk dozens of hours into the play sets and it feels like we’ve barely made a dent as far as unlocking new items. So what’s Disney Infinity like? Weird. And sprawling. And occasionally unpolished. But fun, at its core.”
New York Times’ Brooks Barnes: “An accompanying app called Disney Infinity: Action! (shows) what’s at stake for the company. The app, available free now on the Apple iTunes store and eventually for Android devices, allows users to place themselves inside the game and make short videos of the action. As an example, (on Aug. 16) Disney showed a video of a digital Capt. Jack Sparrow aiming a cannon at John Pleasants, co-president of Disney Interactive, and lighting the fuse. Infinity, which cost Disney over $100 million to develop, according to analysts, is viewed as a make-or-break effort to turn around the company’s money-losing gaming and Web division after years (and years) of trying.”