Unsurprisingly, the Disney Infinity games are a huge hit. The combination of solid (if simple) platforming, real-life collectible figures, and Disney’s roster of classic characters has proved irresistible to Mouseketeers both young and old. In fact, Disney claims that the Disney Infinity figures actually outsold their biggest rival, Activision’s Skylanders line, in 2014, claiming almost half of the game-enabled figurine market.
Disney Infinity’s biggest draw is its Minecraft-like Toy Box mode. Unlike the main campaign, which occasionally feels basic and repetitive, Toy Box mode gives players free reign to do and make what they want. Players can create their own worlds using the game’s editing tools, and then populate these virtual creations with characters they’ve bought in toy stores or earned during gameplay. It’s a refined version of a similar mode that first appeared in the last-generation title, Toy Story 3. According to concept artist Sam Nielson, however, before Infinity the Toy Box almost resurfaced in a totally different – although still Disney-focused – iteration.
After Toy Story 3 wrapped up, but before Infinity entered development, Avalanche Studios was hard at work on an expanded Toy Story-only version of the Toy Box, which would’ve taken the classic Toy Story characters and moved them into deep space. The cancelled game would’ve cast Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and the rest of the crew as members of Star Command, dropping them in a world with a “Star Trek vibe” as they explored space stations and distant worlds.
It’s unclear how far into production the game really got – Nielson’s images only depict concept art – but what exists looks awfully fun. The ships (the bulk of Nielson’s work on the project) evoke Buzz Lightyear’s iconic spaceship with its purple and green design, but increase the size to epic proportions. Hero ships are bright and colorful, while the Zurg fighters are just menacing enough to hint at danger, without losing any of their Toy Story charms.
Obviously, the game was shelved in favor of Infinity, where the Toy Story 3 characters are well represented; the cast also appears in a mobile hidden-object game, which was released a number of years ago. Ironically, Toy Story will ultimately cross over with Hollywood’s other big science fiction franchise when Star Wars comes to Disney Infinity later this year. Finally, the Toy Story characters can be purchased in a premium DLC pack that Sony released for LittleBigPlanet. Ultimately, while Avalanche’s outer space adventure might’ve been cancelled, there’s enough Toy Story content out there to keep gamers of all ages busy for years and years to come.
Source: Sam Nielson