This past weekend, I went to Chicago and during my 13 hour drive there from the NYC area, I happened to stumble across the fact that the Disney Infinity Tour will have shop set up at Taste of Chicago, the annual food festival in Grant Park. Knowing that I had some free time Saturday morning, I ventured over to the festival when it opened at 10am and went directly over to the Disney Infinity booth.
The booth consisted of 8 stations. Five of the stations was where you could demo each of the five play sets that will be released at the games launch on August 18th:
Included with the Starter Pack (MSRP $74.99):
Monsters University (with Sulley figure): Monsters University and collegiate rival Fear Tech go head to head at Fear Week. Sulley, Mike, and Randy must come together to make sure MU comes out the victor.
The Incredibles (with Mr. Incredible figure): The Incredibles need to team up with Syndrome in order to defeat a new Super Villain.
Pirates of the Caribbean (with Jack Sparrow figure): Jack, Barbossa, and Davy Jones must combine forces to find the Krackenbane and gain control over the Kracken.
To purchase and add to the game (MSRP $34.99):
CARS (with Lightning McQueen and Holly Shiftwell figures)
The Lone Ranger (with Lone Ranger and Tonto figures)
In addition, there were 3 stations set up to where you can play in the Toy Box, which is basically a place without rules and imagination can flourish.
When I arrived, I realized how eye catching the booth was set up. Inside they had product displayed at all of the demo stations, as well as inside on a center display.
Before it got too crowded, which it did in short time, I got pics of just a taste of what you can expect to find in the Toy Box: Tonto riding Stitch’s Surfboard, Mike riding a TRON Recognizer, and Jack Skellington riding an Incredibles hover board. NOTE: This has all but confirmed that Jack Skellington will be a playable character in Disney Infinity down the road… and my hopes of a Nightmare Before Christmas Playset.
Also eye catching was the promo that the Disney Infinity Tour is having: if you preorder the Starter Pack through one of the sponsored retailers on site, you get an additional free figure (MSRP $12.99) right on the spot. Considering that you also get a free figure with almost every retailer listed [and a few even add a free Power Disc Pack (MSRP $4.99)], you can potentially get over $30 in free product when you preorder the Starter Pack at the tour stops. Pretty sweet. For the Chicago event, they were giving out the Dash figure.
At 10am, the booth opened and it got crowded pretty quickly. At the entrance I met up with Brittany, After finding out that I was with Vinylmation Kingdom, she asked if I wanted to meet with Disney Infinity’s Executive Producer, John Vignocchi. A chance to demo this much hyped about game system? I did not hesitate to say yes.
For the next hour, John and I demoed the game. We began with the Pirates of the Caribbean play set, where I learned the basic game play of that realm, including sword fighting and sailing. We then moved on to the Toy Box where he showed me some exciting things with Logictech items. Here are some things that I noted:
~ Each play set is its own world, and characters cannot go into another “world” (i.e. Jack Sparrow cannot race in Radiator Springs, etc). The Toy Box is where they can all interact. However, within each world, and playable character can be used during the levels. Certain characters are needed to unlock special treasure chests throughout the game, however.
~ Game play in each world can vary, depending on gaming experience, etc. However, look for a range of 6-10 hours. Since I like exploring, I will probably be above that.
~ In the Pirates world, after you finish a opening set of challenges to train you in the controls of that world, you basically have reign on what you want to do. For example, after you save Mr. Gibbs from prison, you can explore Tortuga, where there are numerous missions to complete… anywhere from throwing someone who wants to be cooled off in the ocean to buying your ship. Once the ship is purchased, 10 or so islands are waiting to be explored, each with their own set of challenges.
~ You can play 2 player in each world, and each character can be ANYWHERE in the same world… they do NOT need to be near each other, or in eyesight either. The split screens are totally independent of one another.
~ A first set of 20 Power Discs, which enhance game play in either the play sets or the Toy Box, will be released. A few of the special, or rare ones, will be “retailer exclusive”. John was not 100% sure of what that means, but we agreed that it probably means that Walmart will have a rare that you can only get in their packs, or BestBuy in theirs, etc. Considering I think I have seen all 20, and know that there are three Orange Rare ones (according to John Day at the Holiday Preview show), safe bet is that those three are the retailer exclusive rares.
~ With Logictech items in the Toy Box, kids can learn valuable skills, including decision making, the importance of sequences, etc. With the ability to create games within the Toy Box, from a soccer game to a roller coaster, to a sweet racetrack, a child’s imagination can run wild.
~Disney Infinity will have weekly contests where people can submit their Toy Box designs (based off a theme), and the winning designs will be posted as downloadable content, so everyone can experience the awesome designs themselves.
~ According to John, ALL of the characters in the play sets made so far were voiced by either the original voice actor or the Disney approved replacement. Unfortunately, Johny Depp did not have time in his schedule to voice Jack Sparrow or Tonto.
~ Numerous play sets and characters are in development, including ones we have yet to see hints at. This excites me because it shows that there is a support system for this gaming platform to be EPIC.
~ When asked about Marvel or Star Wars, John said that would be awesome… and nothing more.
~ When asked to confirm about the Fantasia event at D23 and the Fantasia Mickey DI figure giveaway, John could not confirm, but stressed that I should be there if possible. DANG IT! I wish I could go!
After the hour, Brittany swung by and urged us to wrap it up, being that there was a considerable crowd lined up to try out the game. Neither John nor I wanted to end things… I could have demoed for HOURS… but that would have been unfair to all of the other Taste of Chicago guests. So, a little after 11am, I bid farewell to John, Brittany, and the Disney Infinity crew and went off to explore more of Chicago.
Special thanks to John Vignocchi for taking the time to meet with me and give me an in depth look at Disney Infinity. As the release date approaches, I am getting more and more excited about this game. You can follow John on Twitter.
Interested in demoing Disney Infinity for yourself this summer? Check out the remaining stops on their tour!