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The power to create in Disney Infinity's Toy Box Mode

Posted by: Mike at 4/13/2013 1:38 PM
Disney Infinity places the iconic worlds of Disney at your fingertips. At GDC, I was given the chance to see just how much power Avalanche Studios is giving players to craft their own experiences.

Infinity begins with playsets based on films like Pirates of the Caribbean, Monsters Inc. or The Incredibles. These campaigns clock in at around six or seven hours. The Toy Box Mode will be a bit longer.

Placing the Sully character on the Infinity receiver, my character switches from Mr. Incredible in a matter of seconds. Bringing up a toolbox menu, John Vignocchi, executive producer at Disney Interactive Studios, selects a water gun and Buzz Lightyear's familiar jetpack to outfit the furry blue monster.

Seeing Sully zoom around the map with a jetpack straight from Toy Story is a novel enough experience, but seeing sights like the building from 2012's Wreck-It Ralph, roller coasters from the real-life Disney World, and Scrooge McDuck's Money Bin all in one place is downright astonishing.

"Because Infinity has so many different virtual toys, the combinations are crazy," Vignocchi said. "We have things like Pride Rock from Lion King, so if you wanted to recreate the scene with Simba and Rafiki, you could do that. You can even create your own roller coasters."

Two players can play in the same Box, so the grind-rail roller coasters become competitive playgrounds when playing cooperatively. Alternatively, if split-screen isn't your cup of tea, up to four players can create online together.

These players can build and edit together. "If we were playing online together, it's kind of like our imaginations coming together to create," Vignocchi said.

Not only does Toy Box mode allow you to select and place props, buildings, landscapes and items, but also the overall aesthetics, too.

Using the Fairy Godmother's Wand,  Senior Producer Mike Schneider changes the textures of the world to resemble the Nightmare Before Christmas, complete with theme song and a darkened sky. Orange and black hues cover everything and, in a second, the world is a completely different place.

Wonderland textures and the cyberpunk tile sets of Tron dramatically alter the landscape as well, exponentially increasing the combinations and possibilities within created worlds.

Toy Box mode also gives players dominance over the logic of the world. Schneider conjures two soccer goals and places them at either end of a field within a stadium –– which he also created. After summoning a scoreboard, he uses the Wand to connect the goals and scoreboard, and tells the scoreboard to count one point every time a ball enters the goal.

The possibilities resulting from Disney Infinity's Toy Box mode are expanding the game past its initial dozens of hours of story playthroughs into  fully realized experience that players can return to over and over again. Not only set experiences that players can interact with, but actually create themselves.
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