E3 2014: Disney Infinity 2.0 First Look
Posted by Liana Kerzner on 06.12.2014
Do superheroes and strong women make Disney's answer to Skylanders worth a second wave of investment? Liana Kerzner finds out!
When Disney Infinity originally launched, I asked Bill Roper if we'd see Marvel or Star Wars. He was coy, but he basically said that if version 1.0 sold, we'd see more.
Well version 1.0 definitely sold, and now we have the Avengers, Spider-Man, and some other Marvel heroes coming to Disney Infinity. It would be easy for Disney to just rest on its laurels and pump out more toys, but... it's Disney, guys. They always do more than the minimum.
Obviously the next-gen versions feature better graphics, but the primary improvement is the addition of more structure to the Toy Box experience. This means templates for popular types of structures, a bigger Toy Box space on PS4 and Xbox One, and metagame discs that feature short pre-built types of games, including tower defense games.
On the Disney side, Merida and Maleficent figures are on the way, in response to player demand for more female characters. Pretty much everything from the previous version carries over, including your unlocked building tools and XP. The 1.0 Playsets will not be compatible, but the Toy Box elements unlocked through playing them will transfer just fine.
Upgrades include an increased level cap – figures can now level up to level 20 – and the introduction of skill trees to further customize your characters. Disney Infinity 2.0 will also now allow you to decorate the interiors of your buildings. But the big announcements are all about superheroes.
Iron Man will be the first Infinity character capable of unassisted flight, while Spider-Man has a new web-slinging mechanic. The buff discs will now include costume changes and team-up discs, which make sidekick heroes like War Machine come to fight by your side.
Advised by Brian Michael Bendis, the stories for the Marvel Play Sets are inspired in their absurdity. For Spider-Man, Norman Osborne gets the genius idea to clone the symbiote (For non-nerds, that's the Venom thingie). Even Doctor Octopus thinks this is a bad idea, leaving Mysterio to play "Second-villain", because these days, you always need two. Of course, Venom breaks out, and things get crazy.
But it's the Avengers Play Set concept that is so delightfully geeky that I confirmed three times that I was hearing correctly. Loki enlists the help of none other than Marvel's silliest villain ever – MODOK – to ice over planet Earth via a frost giant invasion. I have no idea what MODOK, who is essentially a giant floating head -- has to do with this, but dude, it's MODOK. That's just awesome! The inclusion of characters like MODOK and the equally obscure Iron Fist are indications that Disney isn't just going for mass appeal with this expansion. It's aiming their "spend money" ray squarely at hardcore nerds.
Full disclosure: The random Disney Infinity figure I got as swag was Iron Fist. I was thrilled.
So Disney Infinity has successfully opened itself up to another portion of the market, and they're likely to sell a lot of figures to people who will never actually play the games just because they're well-designed figures. They're also adding more playable characters of color, thanks most-notably to the Samuel L. Jackson version of Nick Fury.
Disney Infinity 2.0 will ship in fall 2014, with starter packs featuring Iron Man, Black Widow, and Thor, and a special Playstation collector's edition which also has the Hulk. The Hulk is hilarious when riding a motorcycle. Just saying.