Disney Infinity: Marvel Superheroes: played at E3 2014

By Steve Watts, Jun 12, 2014 4:00pm PDT

Disney Infinity 2.0 Edition is making a smart move by adding Disney's newly acquired stable of Marvel superheroes. So smart, in fact, that it would be easy for the company to rest on its laurels and treat this as an incremental upgrade with some new toys for kids to bother their parents for. Instead, this one seems like a marked improvement in some very welcome ways, to support not only the new superheroes but the community itself as well.

The heroes themselves come equipped with a host of new movement options, which Disney Interactive detailed in its initial announcement. The announcement couldn't have captured how good these movement types feel, though. Hulk crumbles buildings in the wake of his climbing, Spider-Man's swing feels naturally acrobatic with plenty of flourish to fit the wall-crawler, and Iron Man is appropriately fast as he zips between buildings.

Constructing those buildings in the Toy Box mode has gotten major reworking. Disney noticed that a lot of players would only put down a few buildings and then grow disinterested in making more. The new tools allow you to populate an area quickly with buildings or fields, and they'll be automatically generated to look different from each other. You can also hire helpers to populate an area, each with their own specialty. A demo showed off Eve from Wall-E being let loose in Central Park, and sure enough, she quickly went about placing trees around the environment.

More advanced creators have always been able to make specific rule and logic sets to make miniature games inside of Disney Infinity, but 2.0 attempts to make the task less daunting. It will come packaged with a few popular game types (like a platformer, or multiplayer brawler) that can be dropped into the Toy Box and modified at will. For those curious how to make their own, they can visit the logic chains to see how the games were created. Creation will likely still be too tough for much younger players, but older ones with a budding interest in game creation will have an easier time understanding how it works.

A representative also clarified Sony's somewhat strange messaging on Hulk's exclusivity. Hulk will be offered as part of a "Collector's Edition" on Sony platforms 30 days before the figure is sold in individual packs. The Avengers won't be the only Marvel royalty though; Disney has also announced a Spider-Man play-set, complete with Venom, based largely on the symbiote storyline of the comics. We also know of some more obscure characters like Nova and Iron Fist making an appearance, and the power discs reach deep into Marvel canon with appearances from characters like White Tiger. Plus, the angular art style from the first game looks fantastic for these characters.

Of course, Disney plans to roll out more characters progressively--we already saw a cameo from Rocket Raccoon and Groot in the announcement trailer, so they're certainly a likely bet. But Disney Interactive isn't just letting the popularity of Marvel's characters do all the work for it. It's a marked improvement, and the cast is just icing on the cake.

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