It’s hard to believe that it’s been more than ten years since the last Toy Story movie.
There is enough hype behind the third film – due in cinemas at the end of this month – that you could be forgiven for thinking its predecessor only came out last week.
This level of anticipation is a testament to the timeless quality of Toy Story, and it’s one of the many reasons why Disney is predicting big things from the Toy Story 3 video game.
“We are expecting Toy Story 3 to be an absolute smash hit,” says UK marketing manager Steve Woodward.
“Toy Story itself is a massively successful franchise with a universal appeal and the game not only faithfully re-captures the film’s story and characters but gives players a unique way to create their own story through the Toy Box mode.
“Toy Story 3 gives players so much more than they could ever expect from a film-based title. We’re anticipating an extremely positive reaction from the games media and we’re hoping to capture the imagination of both gamers as well as fans of the film.”
INFINITY AND BEYOND
The original Toy Story was ground-breaking in 1995 and the property has had an impact on more than just cinema in the decade-and-a-half since. Today, it is a global franchise with $878 million in box office sales and $8 billion in retail merchandise sales under its belt.
The ever-enchanting concept of what happens when toys come to life still delights new generations of children as well as their parents, and the familiar characters provide an instant draw for any product, including video games.
“Toy Story is one of those rare franchises that connects with absolutely everyone, regardless of their age,” says Woodward.
“The original Toy Story is now 15 years old so not only are there a huge number of fans from the original film but we are also talking to new audiences with the latest film and the game.
“The reason people love Toy Story so much is the characters. Not only do they look amazing but they also convey real emotion and depth.
Coupled with fantastic storytelling, humour and fun, the Toy Story franchise and the game has something for everyone.”
The key selling point for Toy Story 3: The Game – aside from the chance to relive Woody and Buzz’s latest adventure – is the Toy Box mode. This mechanic gives players a blank environment in which they can create their own levels and challenges using many of the toys seen in the films and the game’s
“Games based on films are often perceived as being of inferior quality and we’re hoping the Toy Box mode will really change that perception,” Woodward says.
“With an open-world sandbox-style of play, this mode taps into the beloved franchise’s humour and brings fans into the toys’ world to create their own unique story.
“The Toy Box mode elevates Toy Story 3 beyond a traditional movie tie-in and we’re expecting it to be well received by a really broad range of gamers. Toy Box mode offers kids, families and fans the opportunity to dive into Andy’s toy box with creativity driving their own stories and adventures.”
The release of Toy Story 3 is one of Disney’s biggest events of the year. As such, the firm is once again encouraging collaboration between all of its divisions, such as games, films and merchandise.
An extensive campaign has already been drawn up (see ‘Playtime Plans’), and will help further raise awareness of this already highly-anticipated release.
“The entire Walt Disney Company is behind this property in a big way – from the film, the game, DVDs and Blu-rays to toys, homeware, books, magazines and more,” Woodward says.
“Every part of the company is fully behind Toy Story 3 and the spirit of collaboration between all areas of the business has been phenomenal. We are all working together as one voice and as a result, Disney Interactive Studios is in a unique position to roll out a huge, fully integrated campaign across multiple categories.
“Consequently, we’ll be able to achieve a market presence far beyond what we could hope to with a standalone game campaign. Consumers won’t be able to miss Toy Story 3 – it literally will be everywhere this summer.”
As with all of Disney’s biggest properties, the Toy Story 3 game will be promoted in conjunction with the film, putting the whole weight of the Walt Disney empire behind it.
The game will be part of a massive Toy Story franchise marketing campaign encompassing other areas of the Disney business such as cinema, home entertainment, theme parks and resorts, consumer products and publishing. Highlights include:
- 20-second TV spots targeting kids, tweens and parents. The TV campaign will run for three weeks on a variety of channels such as Sky 1, Sky Sports, MTV, GMTV and Nickelodeon.
- 20-second cinema trailers running before some of the summer’s biggest releases, including Shrek Forever After 3D and Twilight: Eclipse.
- This will all be complemented by an extensive online campaign, including a dedicated in-depth franchise site, Facebook page and Youtube takeover.