So far, much of the focus on Disney Infinity 3.0 (a game that we love very, very much) has been centered around the Star Wars characters (classic, prequel, and Star Wars Rebels) and game modes that have already been introduced into the game (the Twilight of the Republic and Rise Against the Empire play sets) and the ones that are coming up (and already-announced but as-yet-untitled set themed to December’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens). But Disney Infinity 3.0 is still stocked with Disney and Disney•Pixar characters and starting next month, there will be a place where all of your Marvel characters can duke it out, with the brand new play set called Marvel Battlegrounds, which was extensively showcased earlier today at a New York Comic Con panel.
Fans of Disney Infinity will remember that last year’s 2.0 installment was largely Marvel-focused, and you will be able to use all of your Marvel figures in this new play set. Instead of an open world adventure like the Star Wars play sets, or a puzzle platform like the levels dedicated to Inside Out, the Battlegrounds gameplay takes a different approach: this is an all-out four-player melee fighting game, along the lines of Super Smash Bros. And it is awesome. In the gameplay that they showed in the panel, four heroes (or villains) smash each other and the environments into smithereens. Ever want to see Rocket put the hurt on Venom? Well get ready. It’s coming in Marvel Battlegrounds.
Bill Rosemann, an editor for Marvel, explained the story behind Battlegrounds. “Marvel fans want a story behind the reason for these characters fighting each other. So we thought about what would make these characters fight each other?” Rosemann explained. “In comics, one character usually thinks another character is doing something wrong, and then they realize they’re on the same side.” Rosemann then explained the evil scheme that the game hinges on: ”Loki and Ultron are after a powerful object and they need to remove the heroes from the playing field. So Loki and Ultron create robot duplicates of all the heroes. This confusion naturally leads to combat.” Yes, we imagine that kind of confusion would lead to combat! Rosemann continued: “We wanted sides to have motivation, we anted the player to have escalating story and feel like a true Marvel adventure.”
One challenge that the entire team face when coming up with Battlegrounds was the creation of a brand new character: the Hulkbuster (seen from the show-stopping set piece in this summer’s Avengers: Age of Ultron). Jeff Bunker, the studio art director at Avalanche, the game company behind Disney Infinity, said he was such a big challenge because he was so, well, big. “Hulkbuster was a challenge because he’s very complicated and also because he’s huge. We started out with characters like Mr. Incredible and Sully. We thought that they’re the biggest characters we’d have in Infinity. Then we did Wreck-It Ralph and then Hulk,” Bunker said. “We’re trying to stay at this four inch size. Then we get Hulkbuster, which is twice as big as Hulk.”
Another new character is the recently introduced version of Captain America that they’re calling the “First Avenger” Captain America (he does seem to look a little like a certain handsome movie star who will next appear in next year’s Captain America: Civil War). John Vignocchi, the producer behind the series, stressed that the character is “not just a variant. It’s a completely new character.” Rosemann double underlined this by saying: “This isn’t replacing a character. It’s an additional character.” And seeing the figure on the big screen, striking an incredibly iconic Captain America-y pose (with his mask off, too), it’s clear that he will be quite different from the more quintessentially comic book-ish version from Disney Infinity 2.0. He’ll also have new combat and skills, which he’ll be able to employ on the Battlegrounds.
In addition to hearing the creators talk about the game, the fans amassed for the panel were also treated to footage from the game. And not just the trailer. At the end of the panel (after John Blackburn, vice president of Avalanche, confirmed that they were still working on getting Captain Eo into the game), those who were participating were invited to play a round of the game live. Each participant was playing for one section of the audience; if that participant won then that section of the audience would go home with the truly awe-inspiring Hulkbuster figure. Even though there was a clear winner, Vignocchi announced that everyone in the room would be getting a figure. That’s right – when playing Marvel Battlegrounds, at least at New York Comic Con, everyone was a winner.