How Disney Infinity's starter set was chosen

When Disney Infinity launches, the $75 Starter Set will feature Mr. Incredible, Monster Inc's Sully, and Captain Jack Sparrow. But, how did Disney settle on these characters?

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Disney Infinity is the House of Mouse's twist at Activision's successful Skylanders franchise, by incorporating real-world toys with video gaming. As pretty much everyone has concluded, "this thing is going to print money."

When the game launches, the $75 Starter Set will feature Mr. Incredible, Monster Inc.'s Sulley, and Captain Jack Sparrow. But, how did Disney settle on these characters, especially considering the breadth of IPs at their disposal? We asked John Blackburn, developer Avalanche Software's CEO, about exactly that.

"The Incredibles is one of my favorite things ever, so we actually pitched this as one of the original properties," Blackburn answered (correctly). "Aside from that, what we look for is what properties are really popular and what properties will game well. You can go through a list of Disney properties that are harder to make video games out of, like Finding Nemo is a little more challenging than Pirates of the Caribbean."

Of course, Disney well intends to expand the roster significantly in the future, and many properties will be included in the game in some fashion. "There's going to be a release of more Play Sets over the course of the cycle," said Blackburn. "We'll be announcing the other two Play Sets that will be coming out at launch. We'll also be launching some new figurines, some come with Play Sets and others are individual pieces that can only be used in the Toy Box. That will happen over the rest of this year."

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

From The Chatty
  • reply
    January 16, 2013 9:00 AM

    Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, How Disney Infinity's starter set was chosen.

    When Disney Infinity launches, the $75 Starter Set will feature Mr. Incredible, Monster Inc's Sully, and Captain Jack Sparrow. But, how did Disney settle on these characters?

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      January 16, 2013 9:25 AM

      "The Incredibles is one of my favorite things ever, so we actually pitched this as one of the original properties," Blackburn answered (correctly)

      hah, damn right, correctly

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      January 16, 2013 9:41 AM

      Y'all know this thing is going to be an unstoppable juggernaut that makes Skylanders look like McDonalds toys, right?

      it's not just Disney-Disney

      -LucasArts, which yeah it's Star Wars but it's also Maniac Mansion, The Dig, Full Throttle, etc
      -Marvel, which isn't just supers. There's lots of romance comics and war comics and other stuff they could dig up.
      -Saban, digimon and power rangers
      -Muppets, which are the goddamn Muppets

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        January 16, 2013 9:44 AM

        Yeah Disney is scary big when you look around. I'm waiting for the Lost and Grey's Anatomy figures!

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        January 16, 2013 10:18 AM

        Disney owns Power Rangers??!

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          January 16, 2013 2:03 PM

          Actually, Disney used to own Power Rangers. I believe Haim Saban bought the rights back from them.

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      January 16, 2013 9:42 AM

      When is the Pokemon version of skylanders coming out? Cause that'll sell a billion dollars worth easily.

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      January 16, 2013 9:55 AM

      I have to believe they went with Monsters Inc. not because of popularity or that it will "game well," but for the fact that there is a new Monster Inc. movie releasing in June which is the same month the game is scheduled to release. Maybe Monsters Inc. is more popular than I realize, but I'd think Toy Story and some original Disney stuff is much more appealing. By the way, the article has Sulley misspelled.

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        January 16, 2013 10:08 AM

        Monsters Inc is big in Disney, they have attractions devoted to it at the parks. Not to dismiss your theory, and there is a reason they redid Monsters Inc in 3D and wrote Monsters U, it's already quite popular.

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        January 16, 2013 10:08 AM

        There's plenty of older Disney franchises that would have been a better fit for a game than Monsters Inc. They went with the stuff that's easiest to market. It's not an awful character selection but it could have been better.

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      January 16, 2013 10:02 AM

      " Mr. Incredible, Monster Inc's Sully, and Captain Jack Sparrow"

      so playing it safe and appealing directly to boys.

      will each of the characters have individuals powers/skills? cuz I dont see the point of using figures otherwise. this seems like a quick cash grab by riding skylanders' popularity.

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        January 16, 2013 10:30 AM

        From what I've seen, yes, and there are "power up" icons that could show up anywhere from cereal boxes to collectors packs that you can add on top of that to any character.

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          January 16, 2013 10:45 AM

          so the icons are more important than the characters gameplay wise?

          what makes skylanders work is that the characters individual powers are sometimes best suited for specific tasks. without the powers they're just visually interesting characters and you dont need a platform + expensive toy collection in a game if it doesnt do anything

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            January 16, 2013 11:54 AM

            I'm not sure if the individual abilities are more important or not, just from what I've read/saw in a post made by valcan_s yesterday.

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      January 16, 2013 10:12 AM

      The Skylanders formula will see so many copycats in the next few years...

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        January 16, 2013 10:17 AM

        It would only work for a superhero game or rpg IP

        Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 Skylanders style would be awesome

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      January 16, 2013 12:21 PM

      My little man was disappointed WALL-E was not in the trailer.

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