Yesterday was the third and final day of this year’s D23 Expo. Not that you could tell. There were still huge crowds, celebrity-filled panels, and just as much excitement as the previous two days. And one of the bigger panels on an already overstuffed day was the Disney Interactive presentation, which included a number of sizable announcements, big reveals and the promise of very exciting things to come.
Most of the news was Disney Infinity-related, but there was some other great stuff too. Here it is, in all its joystick-wielding glory.
Marvel Comes to Disney Infinity 3.0
The Hulkbuster and Ultron figures have been connected to Disney Infinity’s upcoming 3.0 iteration for some time now but it was thought that they would simply exist within the game’s expanded, open-world Toy Box mode. (The last version of Disney Infinity had a huge emphasis on Marvel.) But at D23 Expo, a surprise announcement was made: Marvel Battlegrounds, a new Marvel-themed play set, would be coming to Disney Infinity 3.0 in the spring of 2016. It’s going to be super. The new play set will bring four-player gameplay to the series for the first time (and will of course work with the two new characters). The footage screened at the panel featured Tony Stark’s Hulkbuster beating up Spider-Man’s nefarious foe, the Green Goblin.
The Stars of Star Wars: The Force Awakens Announce Their Figures
After taking the stage with J.J. Abrams and Harrison Ford the previous day, John Boyega and Daisy Ridley, stars of the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens, surprised the panel and debuted their respective Disney Infinity figures. (There will also be a Star Wars: The Force Awakens play set … yes, this game going to be huge.) Boyega (who is a self-professed “big gamer”) and Ridley looked thrilled to unveil the figures for their characters of Finn and Rey. Oh and the figures are amazing, by the way.
Peter Pan and Others Announced
Earlier last week, we were honored to be a judge at this year’s Toy Box Summit, where Toy Box artists were tasked with creating a fully immersive, unique world overnight. (Video of this summit actually played during the panel.) A few days later, at the D23 Expo panel, it was announced which character those artists had voted into the next iteration of the game. And that character is … (dramatic pause continues) Peter Pan. Additionally, some new characters were announced for 3.0: Spot from November’s Disney•Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur and Judy and Nick from Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Zootopia, out next spring.
Magic Band Powers
This is a minor note but one that we found to be infinitely cool: players who have a MagicBand (those magical room key/park ticket/payment option currently in use at Walt Disney World) can unlock a secret Disney Infinity 3.0 item: the Partners statue (of Walt and Mickey holding hands). Look for similar exclusive content for players on the Disney Cruise Line’s special Disney Infinity space (starting in November). We love when something as intangible as a videogame is giving this physical, real world component and the MagicBand integration is just beyond awesome.
Big Hero 6 in Kingdom Hearts
After the recent announcement that Tangled would be a part of popular RPG Kingdom Hearts III, producer Roy Conli. “The story takes place after the events of the film, after Hiro and the gang have formed a heroic team,” Conli said. What’s really interesting is that the image featured on the giant, giant screen showed Baymax, the lovable, huggable healthcare robot turned superhero, in an all black suit, with the presenters noting that this was the original Baymax (the one left in the alternate dimension at the end of the film). This could be the rare videogame that has the opportunity to strengthen and intensify the mythology of the film it’s based on. We can’t see what they cook up. And in related Kingdom Hearts news, it turns out the Key Blade, the video game series’ most recognizable weapon, is the Ultimate Unlock. Power discs were also passed out that allow the Mickey Mouse character to dress up in his Kingdom Hearts attire.
In Magic Kingdoms You Can Build Your Own Disney Theme Park
Not everything at the Disney Interactive panel was platform-based, however. In addition to a heavy emphasis on Playmation (which we will be bringing to you in detail in the weeks ahead), there was also talk of Disney’s mobile games. One of the more exciting mobile games coming out is Magic Kingdoms (in partnership with Gameloft). This is a game that lets you build your own Disney theme park, even though you are (probably) not a licensed Imagineer. The gameplay looks simple and highly addictive, with a narrative component that unfolds as you construct your dream park. Apparently the villains (including Maleficent) get wind of your new park and don’t take too kindly. Eep.
Star Wars Battlefront Visits Jakku (And Gets a Cool PS4 Special Edition)
Star Wars Battlefront, which looks like a gripping and gritty battle game, is coming out this November. This is a game that will bring you into a number of iconic Star Wars conflicts. And at D23 Expo an additional battle was revealed: the Battle of Jakku, based on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, will be available as a free download pack on December 8. If you pre-order the game, you’ll get the download pack a week early and make all of your friends super jealous. But if you want to make them really jealous, you could pre-order the exclusive Star Wars Battlefront Playstation 4 bundle (with the Playstation 4 system). Not only is the system jaw-dropping to look at (the console itself has a graphic of Darth Vader and the remote is based on his blinky chest piece), but it also includes a deluxe version of Star Wars Battlefront and four classic Star Wars games available on the Playstation 4 for the first time (with enhanced graphics and Trophy support, of course). The idea of playing Super Star Wars, in high definition, is something that gives us serious nerd joy. (There’s also a Disney Infinity 3.0 bundle that includes the same awesome system and retro games, the Rise Against the Empire play set, and the Playstation-exclusive Boba Fett figure.) This is packing some serious coolness.
So there you have it: most of what Disney Interactive brought to this year’s D23 Expo. Thankfully, what they announced we will be playing for many months (and years) to come.