Disney has been the source of many a media entertainment headline in the past month and not only because of the many happenings in the film industry revolving around Marvel Studios and their six movies in development or Lucasfilm and their early work on five confirmed Star Wars movies.

Three weeks ago, Disney made some execs at Activision concerned when they unveiled Disney Infinity, a large-scale digital toy box of content based on some of the largest and most recognizable brands in the Disney library. Disney Infinity is a game that combines elements of not only Activision’s kid-friendly toy-based Skylanders cash machine, but of the wildly popular and imaginative Minecraft, with a little LittleBigPlanet and Kart racing thrown in.

The appeal of Infinity is that it seemingly is open to infinite possibilities. Players purchase toy figure$ of their favorite Disney characters, from Jack Sparrow and Buzz Lightyear to Sully and Mr. Incredible, and access them in-game by placing said figures ($12.99 each) on the Infinity Base which plugs into the console. It’s the same concept as the Portal of Power from the Skylanders series with the major difference being that Disney has found a way to further monetize it.

Disney Infinity Characters

$5 packs of Power Discs (two random per pack) add powers, customization options and items for the characters. $35 Play Sets however, serve as expansions, adding a movie-themed story-based game world with an average of six hours of gameplay. Only character figures from that film can be used in that respective Play Set (all characters can be used in Toy Box mode, however). Upon unveiling the game Disney announced three Play Sets for launch (The IncrediblesMonsters University and Pirates of the Caribbean) with more unannounced Play Sets on the way.

The unreleased March 2013 issue of Game Informer not only features the exciting reveal and cover story of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, but in it (according to Videogamer) is an informative story about additional content in the works for Disney Infinity. The fourth Play Set will be for Cars another lucrative franchise on the toy front for Disney.

Disney Infinity Cars Radiator Springs

The Cars Play Set story takes place after the two films and takes place in Radiator Springs where an international race tournament is being held. The four (so far) confirmed figures usable in the set include:

  • Francesco Bernoulli
  • Holley Shiftwell
  • Lightning McQueen
  • Mater

The Cars Play Set also adds destructible objects (structures, buildings, track pieces, etc.) which will undoubtedly bear fruit for the game’s Toy Box mode where up to four players can play together in any world of their choosing, even building their own and downloading custom ones. Upgrades, items and characters unlocked in the story-based Play Sets are saved in the player’s virtual collection are all accessible and usable in the Toy Box.

So, the big question what’s next? It’s a guarantee Toy Story is on the way, and when the time is right (see: film schedule), Marvel and Star Wars will have a big part to play in Disney Infinity down the road as the game continues to evolve and expand. Let’s not forget that the Junction Point, developer of the Epic Mickey games have closed, and those iconic characters will absolutely make their way into Infinity as well.

Toy Story 3 Characters in Disney Infinity

Of course, much of this will be locked away on the game disc [insert on-disc DLC controversy] and charged for separately later. How much content is there we don’t know, but Disney is running the risk of tech savvy parties hacking into the date and potentially revealing not only future toys and game environments, but tie-in characters possibly related to Disney’s upcoming film slate.

Disney Infinity releases in June 2013, for Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Wii U, and Wii, with mobile versions to follow.

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Source: Game Informer (via Videogamer)