Disney Infinity 3.0 Preview

Plumbing the infinite possibilities of the mind. 

Disney Interactive and Pixar recently hosted an event at Pixar's Emeryville campus to preview Disney Infinity 3.0's upcoming Inside Out play set, in which you can play as one of the upcoming movie's five character emotions: Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust. But while its gameplay was Pixar-oriented, the developers at Avalanche and Disney Interactive got a chance to talk up the general plans for 3.0, which was touted as the final piece of the introductory phase of Disney Infinity.

Inside Out is part of the Disney Infinity 3.0 rollout of play sets, along with the three Star Wars sets and new Marvel content: one play set for The Prequels and Clone Wars TV show era, Twilight of the Republic (which is focused on melee combat); one for the original films and Rebels era, Rise Against the Empire (focusing more heavily on vehicular gameplay); and one for the new film series, The Force Awakens. Disney appears to be trying to hit every genre they can with the game, and for Inside Out, the developer took a different route than their prior, more open-world style of action-oriented gameplay, with a puzzle platformer featuring over 25 levels. 

The Inside Out play set is a mix of 2D and 3D platforming levels, with puzzles involved where you must help rein in the imagination of Riley—the girl whom the emotions are inside of—imagination while she has a nightmare after falling asleep to a scary movie. The five characters each have their own gameplay bonuses, each with advantages in the levels. Joy can float after jumping similar to Princess Peach, Fear can run really fast, Anger can walk on lava, Disgust has a super-jump, and Sadness can run on clouds without them evaporating the way they do for other characters. The play set comes with two characters, and in multiplayer characters can use their advantages to solve puzzles easier, or carry one another while using their specific abilities. 

In the most innovative sections of the game, it turned into a 2D sidescroller that resembled a single-player version of Ibb and Obb, with a series of platforms that when the player was above them, gravity worked regularly, but when below them gravity was reversed. This made for some great puzzles. 

Senior producer Mike Schneider was on hand to walk people through the Inside Out levels, some of which weren't completely finished (but still functional), but it was a discussion of the Star Wars content we had that really caught my attention. Disney and Pixar characters are still not allowed to enter another's play sets—since those represent separate universes—but in Disney Infinity 2.0, some Marvel characters could cross over; Iron Man showing up in the Guardians of the Galaxy set, for instance.

Schneider told me that the Star Wars play sets would have the possibility of having all the characters from each set work in other Star Wars sets. As in the Marvel 2.0 play sets, you still need to collect the coins to allow the players to enter each other's set, but that it would be much more open in that respect—even if it makes no sense to have Luke Skywalker show up in a play set set three years before he was born.

Speaking later, VP of Production at Disney Interactive John Vignocchi said that though meetings about the property began just a month after the deal was signed, getting Star Wars into Disney Infinity wasn’t as simple as people might have thought it was. Even though the company is now owned by Disney, they still had to convince Lucasfilm they would do right with their characters in order to add them to the Toybox and play sets. He credited Disney Interactive’s long and successful partnership with Pixar as being the perfect example he could show the company. Inside Out Co-Director Ronnie Del Carmen confirmed it, asking during the presentation, “When we do we get to see more?”, since the games provide a way to spend more time with the characters than the limited—but highly concentrated—90 minutes of the Inside Out film. 

An important part of the process of building these play sets is scaling. Mike Schneider told me that while the platforming got challenging in later levels of the Inside Out Play Set, they always had to keep in mind their young target audience and keep it accessible, also saying that he saw it as a great vehicle for parents to play the games with their children. He added that in the melee-heavy Twilight of the Republic play set, you could get through it just by button-mashing, but that they also made a combo system available in it for more advanced players, rounding out the gameplay for everyone.

While I only got my hands on the Inside Out play set and characters, it sounds as if Disney Infinity 3.0 is moving forward steadily and continuing the series' trend of providing a wide variety of different gameplay experiences that use the depth and breadth of the content to show players what they can create in their own Toybox experiences once unlocked. Disney Infinity 3.0 releases this fall, with the starter set planned to retail at $64.99 on Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, PS4, Xbox One, and PC.