Just moments ago the developers behind Disney Infinity held their first live-streamed episode of Disney Infinity Next hosted by John Blackburn, SVP & GM, Disney Infinity and John Vignocchi, VP of Production, which represents the beginning of what's going to be a regular series of live-steamed video announcements to talk about updates and future releases. It's similar to Nintendo's Direct live streams and today's inaugural episode clocked in at 12 minutes and made some announcements regarding the plan for Disney Infinity 3.0 in 2016.
As gamers (and in this case,collectors) are aware, Disney Infinity has had three major releases in three years, each focusing on a major brand or segment in the Walt Disney empire. It began with popular Disney franchises including Monsters University and Pirates of the Caribbean, and in its second year focused on Marvel with Disney Infinity 2.0, and followed that up with Star Wars toy sets with 2015's 3.0 release. Now that all of the Disney brands have been introduced into the world of Disney Infinity, the focus has shifted in 2016 to delivering more large play sets, four to be exact.
First, some highlights from today's announcements and the Disney Infinity Next live stream:
- Disney Infinity was the No. 1 game in the toys-to-life category in 2015, its second consecutive year leading the category.
- In 2016, Disney Infinity is shifting its development strategy. Now that all of the company’s brands have been introduced to the platform, the 2016 focus is on adding more Play Sets and characters to the 3.0 Edition.
- The 2016 slate will include four new Play Sets, one from each of the four key brands: Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars. It will also include additional characters from the biggest events across the company, starting with the just-announced Baloo from “The Jungle Book.”
- The first 2016 Play Set to launch is Marvel Battlegrounds, and we announced new playable characters for the Play Set - Black Panther, Ant-Man and Vision, and also premiered a brand new gameplay trailer showcasing their moves and abilities, which can be viewed up top.
Marvel Battlegrounds Play Set
Instead of there being a Disney Infinity 4.0 in 2016, there will be no new disc purchased needed as Disney and developer Avalanche Software look to expand on the Disney 3.0 platform with four new play sets, one for each of the company's main brands. This begins with Marvel and the upcoming 4-player Battlegrounds playset which features 12 levels across 8 arenas. Notable locations include Asgard, Wakanda, and the space station Knowhere from Guardians of the Galaxy.
These new Play Sets will ensure that Disney Infinity 3.0 has the largest collection of content ever released inside a Disney video game.
This set releases March 15, 2016 lets player use any Marvel figure from Disney Infinity 2.0 or 3.0 for up to four-player local gameplay. Sadly, there is no online support and it's unclear exactly how the game will let four players choose characters with the two-player-only portal although we suspect players will simply take turns selecting.
We do know, however, what new Marvel characters are coming to 3.0:
- Ant-Man, who shrinks to the size of an ant but increases his strength to pack a whopping punch.
- Black Panther, the leader of Wakanda who defends his homeland with acrobatic skills and his legendary claws. He's a melee power house who can stun enemies.
- Vision, a brave and noble synthetic warrior who will fight to bring peace to the world. Vision is able to phase through the ground to strike enemies from below and can juggle them in the air with attacks - a first for the game.
Additionally, a new Marvel Battlegrounds-themed Power Disc Pack will be sold separately and contains:
- Cosmic Cube Blast – Unleash a powerful energy blast on nearby foes
- Darkhawk’s Blast – Blast obstacles with a powerful energy beam
- Nova Corps Strike – Call upon the Nova Corps to unleash a tactical strike from above
- Ghost Rider’s Motorcycle – Take a ride on the wild side with Ghost Rider’s flaming motorcycle
And while they're already available, here are the other Marvel characters released post-3.0 (black suit Spider-Man, Civil War-inspired Captain America, Hulkbuster, and Ultron):
Other New Disney Infinity 3.0 Characters
In addition to the Marvel Battlegrounds play set, a few other playable characters and figure are on their way as well who you may have heard about already if you've been following along. The first pair are from this week's Disney animated feature Zootopia (stay tuned for my interviews with the cast and directors!).
In addition to the pair of figures, there is also a Zootopia Power Disc Pack which includes:
- Officer Wilde
- Meter Maid Judy
- Stars Over Sahara Square
- Sahara Square Sands
Part of the plan with Disney Infinity Next programming is to also address player feedback, which is how Baloo made his way into the game.
Baloo represents another instance where your feedback makes a difference. We’ve heard fans have been asking for more classic Disney animated characters, and it’s always on our minds as we move forward with Disney Infinity. The upcoming film was the perfect occasion to follow through on those requests and bring a beloved Disney character in Disney Infinity 3.0.
Disney Infinity 3.0 is already available. The Marvel Battlegrounds play set releases March 15, 2016.