Toys-to-life war: Disney Infinity 3.0

Christopher Dring
Toys-to-life war: Disney Infinity 3.0

Disney Infinity is currently the most popular toys-to-life game in the UK.

And this year's title is generating a lot of attention due to the inclusion of one major brand – Star Wars.

Disney Infinity 3.0 will feature three Star Wars ‘Play Sets': one inspired by the prequel movies, another surrounding the sequel films and a third devoted to Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, due out in December.

The Star Wars that exists within Infinity 3.0, however, is in contrast to EA's upcoming Star Wars Battlefront. Considering Infinity's younger audience, plus its popularity amongst girls, the game boasts cartoon visuals and a plethora of female characters.

The Starter Pack comes with Twilight of the Republic, which is set during Episodes 1-3, and the toys of Anakin and Ahsoka,” explains John Vignocchi, producer on the franchise.

Infinity has a really great split of male and female gamers: 55 per cent male and 45 per cent female. A big part of the reason why is because we have always been conscious of introducing strong female characters, and when we were looking at Star Wars, we really wanted Ashoka to be a strong female Jedi. That's why we have this original story, so that she could appear.

"Infinity has a really great split
of male and female gamers:
55 per cent male and 45 per cent female."

John Vignocchi, Disney

With the upcoming movie generating tons of hype, there will be no bigger brand than Star Wars this Christmas. But that doesn't mean Infinity 3.0 is a sure-fire hit.

There will be a variety of other Star Wars merchandise vying for shelf space this Q4: toys, LEGO sets, duvets, the aforementioned EA game and a whole Millenium Falcon-load of products. In many ways, Infinity 3.0 has more competition than either of its toys-to-life rivals.

What Vignocchi is keen to address, however, is that it's not all about Star Wars with Infinity 3.0. Disney has developed another set based around its Marvel licences, plus a set dedicated to the recent Pixar hit, Inside Out.

Inside Out has no combat, so we we have made a 2.5D platformer, inspired by the likes of Crash Bandicoot and Rayman,” he continues. It is a sequel to the film where [lead human character] Riley has fallen asleep and the broccoli monsters have been unleashed into her subconscious, so it is up to you to restore order.”

Out of the three big toys-to-life brands this Christmas, Disney Infinity 3.0 feels like the safest bet - boasting the biggest licences and with prices at the lower end of the spectrum.

The one area the franchise needs to work on is its quality. Last year's Infinity 2.0 received mixed reviews, and its Metacritic average was well below that of Skylanders.

This is something Vignocchi is keen to address. Referring to the combat in previous games as a bit meh”, he said that the firm has recruited Ninja Theory – the team behind the recent Devil May Cry – to make sure the lightsaber combat is exciting.

You can see the Dante from Devil May Cry inspiration here,” he says. Ninja Theory gave us their expertise with the combat, and it applies to every hand-based weapon – even from the old characters. We've re-written all these hand-based weapons at an engine level. So we are bringing new value to old characters.”

What's more, adds Vignocchi, the game adds more variety. Inside Out's platforming Play Set is very different to the third-person combat of the Star Wars sets, with something ‘completely different' promised for the to-be-revealed Marvel add-on.

Furthermore, and perhaps in response to Skylanders' move into vehicles, Vignocchi demonstrated racing tracks and even Star Wars-inspired space combat levels.

He concludes: We refer to Infinity as a platform, and it means that we can do right by the property.”

Why should I stock it?

Star Wars, Star Wars, Star Wars. Inside Out characters should win new audiences. The franchise is growing in the UK. It's especially popular with female audiences. Oh, and Star Wars.

What should I be aware of?

The game faces rivalry from other Star Wars toy ranges. Historically, its quality has not matched that of Skylanders.

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