Disney Infinity 3.0 is the Disney – Star Wars – Marvel Mash Up We All Expected

Disney Infinity 3.0Disney’s surprisingly robust Infinity game is getting another boost this year with the rollout of Disney Infinity 3.0, expected to launch this Fall. Joining the ever expanding cast of Disney characters and Marvel superheroes will be Disney’s latest blockbuster acquisition, Star Wars.

The timing couldn’t have been more deliberate. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens is releasing theatrically in December and it only makes sense for Disney to time the updated version of Infinity with the potentially biggest film of the year.

I love the light heartedness of the Infinity games. Let’s be honest, the best part about these games isn’t the isolated adventures that take place in each character’s personal world, it’s the Toy Box. Dozens of characters from a plethora of different films, playing together in a world entirely of your own making. That’s what it was like to play with toys as a kid and that is the magic that Disney has captured in Infinity.

Disney Infinity 3.0Star Wars characters that have already been confirmed included prequel characters like Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Darth Maul, Yoda and Ahsoka Tano (from the Clone Wars series) as well as original series characters Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Leia Organa, Chewbacca and Darth Vader. Both the prequels and the original trilogy will have their own starter sets, complete with characters, playsets and power discs. The Force Awakens and its attached sequels will begin seeing the Infinity treatment in the winter.

Several other figures have been outed as well including new Mickey and Minnie figures, Mulan, Olaf (Frozen), Sam Flynn and Quorra (Tron: Legacy), Iron Man Hulkbuster, Ultron and the cast of Pixar’s summer film, Inside Out.

Disney is also shaking things up for owners of 2.0 systems by expanding the functionality of that base. Previously, 2.0 characters were incompatible with the 1.0 base and the assumption was that a new 3.0 base would be released as well. Disney has clarified this stating the 2.0 base will accept 3.0 figures. The 3.0 base will, of course, accept all figures.

Disney Infinity 3.0Another nice addition is that Star Wars characters can jump between the prequels, original trilogy and the new films without as many restrictions. Characters have always been cordoned off into their own worlds when it came to playsets but last year’s Marvel sets were restrictive by not allowing heroes and villains to jump into each others worlds.

Disney is being very aggressive and proactive with their toys-to-life program by constantly adding new figures as well as providing software updates and community challenges for Toy Box creators. I haven’t been keeping up a lot with their offerings but just looking at Disney Infinity’s official YouTube channel and their creation tools and challenges are surprisingly robust.

Feeling the pressure of Lego Dimensions and the eventual new entry into the Skylanders franchise probably pushed Disney into really standing behind Infinity, which was already a fantastic product on its own. Maybe a certain Japanese console maker can pay attention to what these three games are doing in the toys-to-life space.

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Star Wars Battlefront’s First Trailer Looks Great, Lacks Gameplay

Star Wars BattlefrontElectronic Arts and DICE are hitting the hype train right on schedule with the first official trailer for Star Wars Battlefront unveiled at the Star Wars Celebration Anaheim. The game is scheduled to release November 17, 2015 on Sony PlayStation 4, Microsoft Xbox One and Windows PC, the first Battlefront game in 10 years. Continue reading

Star Wars Battlefront is Officially Gorgeous

Star Wars Battlefront“That’s not CGI.”

Electronic Arts and DICE are hard at work on Star Wars Battlefront with the official unveil scheduled tomorrow as part of the ongoing Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, California. But if this early screenshot is any indication of the quality of the first Battlefront game in a decade, then this game has immediately jumped to the top of my watchlist for the Fall season. The game is expected to launch on November 17, 2015 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Windows PC.

Lead level designer at DICE, Dennis Brännvall, made a preemptive confirmation of the validity of the yet to be unveiled screenshots on Twitter, April 2.

He then put any questions on the screenshot’s validity to rest with three simple words.

Tomorrow’s gameplay reveal can’t come soon enough.

Midweek Timewaster: Paul Johnson’s Animated TIE Fighter Short

This fan-made TIE Fighter themed animated short is just the type of ’80s-anime-styled creation that gets my blood pumping. Created by Paul “OtaKing” Johnson, the short is a fantastically well created piece of work that took him four years to make on the free weekends that he had. Give it a watch and a favorite, it’s fantastic stuff.

The Entire X-Wing Franchise Now Available Digitally on GOG

X-Wing vs TIE FighterFor GOG.com, being good was never enough.

Just months removed from bringing the beloved X-Wing and TIE Fighter space combat simulators to digital storefronts for the first time, CD Projekt’s GOG.com pulled back the curtain on the masterpiece of the franchise: X-Wing vs TIE Fighter. One of the greatest games ever made is available as a digital download for the first time ever.

The move is part of a major partnership with GOG.com and Disney Interactive, which absorbed the Lucasarts historical library as part of the Lucasfilm acquisition. Also making their digital distribution debut is X-Wing Alliance, Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds, Rogue Squadron 3D and Star Wars Rebellion. It is a massive project for GOG.com as they have added a slew of LucasArts branded games to their library and many exclusives that not even Valve’s Steam has access to.

GOG.com has built a fantastic reputation as a sort of historical catalog of games that are difficult to find on modern digital distribution services. Where Steam has major gaps in its historical offerings, often related to publishing deals and rights restrictions, GOG.com has quietly amassed a large library of games made over the last 25 years. The games themselves are a piece of history, often merely tested to run on today’s modern processors and graphics cards. Keep in mind that the original TIE Fighter released as a special edition CD-ROM some time after its initial floppy disk first print.

Personally, I can’t wait to dust off some of my old equipment and hop into the cockpit of my favorite A-Wing for some simulator runs or finally finish the campaign of X-Wing Alliance. If this release does well, maybe somebody will be able to back a remaster of these games.

X-Wing vs TIE Fighter and X-Wing Alliance both carry price tags of $9.99 and are unaltered versions of their past lives, built to run on current hardware. As always, games purchased through GOG are DRM (Digital Rights Management) free, so purchased copies can be moved without additional security measures. So grab your serial port flight stick, fire up your monitor at 800×600 and hop into that combat simulator. Those TIE Defenders aren’t going to shoot themselves down.

GOG.com – Lucasfilm on GOG.com: Wave II Continues

Kingdom Hearts III Just Might be the Game of My Dreams

Kingdom Hearts IIIDisney’s expanded library might be on the table for Kingdom Hearts III. You read that right. Disney, who already had their classic Disney and Pixar films as potential Kingdom Hearts characters and worlds, just might work with Square Enix to include their recently acquired properties of Marvel and LucasFilm.

Mickey x Spidey x Darth Vader (Ani).

In an interview with Kotaku UK, Kingdom Hearts III co-director Tai Yasue said that the new Disney properties were all under consideration.

“Nothing’s off limits. We’re considering all the worlds,” Yasue told Kotaku UK. “There are so many wonderful concepts. We’re happy about that, but at the same time it’s really tough to choose.”

The formula for Kingdom Hearts is not a difficult one to decipher. Take one game designed by Square complete with characters pulled from their Final Fantasy series and speckle it with the magical whimsy of Disney’s entire historical catalog and you clearly have a game that was crafted in some fanboy’s basement. Or in Square Enix’s development studio in Tokyo.

The potential for a new Kingdom Hearts game to include Star Wars and Marvel properties had long been wondered about, especially after recent past entries included live-action characters from Tron and Pirates of the Caribbean. After all, isn’t Princess Leia technically a Disney princess?

What would be curious is to see if Square Enix relinquishes a little control over their properties and decides to mix in some Dragon Quest or Chrono Trigger nods. Or even dip into their western properties and add Lara Croft or Agent 47. Now I sincerely doubt that a Hitman character or a Deus Ex character would meet Disney’s requirements for positive image, but Lara Croft is a universally recognized character, fresh off a positively perceived reboot.

Even without the new properties, Square Enix has a ton of excellent Disney characters and worlds to choose from. Disney is enjoying a bit of a popularity spike, especially since their in-house 3D animation team became so popular (even topping some of the Pixar offerings). With the worldwide success of Frozen and the popularity of Wreck-It Ralph and Tangled, Disney certainly has the recent catalog to give the Kingdom Hearts series some further clout.

Keep in mind that it has been over four years since the last Kingdom Hearts title, Birth By Sleep, was released. Its been even longer since Kingdom Hearts II released in 2005, so by the time Kingdom Hearts III really gets going, Square Enix should have a ton of modern Disney titles to consider.

Kotaku UK – Marvel and Star Wars are “Not Off-Limits” for Kingdom Hearts III

Top Ten Tuesday – Lucasarts Games

“This deal is getting worse all the time…”

Lando Calrissian knew not what he was getting himself into when he bargained with the Empire to protect Bespin. Likewise, when Disney acquired Lucasfilm and its subsidiaries for a massive $4.05 billion, it all seemed a bit too true to have new creative direction, the production power of Disney and maybe even a little of that Pixar magic. But just like Darth Vader said, “I have altered the deal. Pray I do not alter it further.”

It seems that Lucasarts, the longstanding gaming division of Lucasfilm, is the first major victim of the acquisition. While the current plan is for Lucasarts to continue as a publishing studio, its days as a developer are over. To be fair, the studio had been in limbo for sometime with Star Wars projects 1313 and First Assault stuck in development purgatory. The end of Lucasarts as a development studio not only closes the door on the Boba Fett featured title of 1313, but marks the end of one of the most fantastic studios of all time.

To me, Lucasarts was synonymous with quality. Despite all the constant negative feedback regarding video games based on licensed intellectual properties, Lucasarts delivered time and time again to their Star Wars and Indiana Jones titles. While not every title was perfect or even ran properly (Star Wars: Obi Wan), Lucasarts had a penchant for making sure everything stayed true to form, with fantastic art direction, graphics engines, stories and sound.

Now I have to disclose, as much as I’ve wanted to, I have not played every single Lucasarts game released. As much as I want to place a title like Grim Fandango on this list for all its critical acclaim, I simply don’t have the experience with it to give it the ode it deserves. Thus, only titles that I have a solid amount of experience with have made this list.

10. Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II – Rogue Leader (2001)

Rogue Squadron II - Rogue Leader

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