One of Marvel's strongest assets lies in the company's dedication in creative continuity, and during today's Disney Infinity event the emphasis centered on how the Marvel Universe will successfully integrate into the Disney Infinity world. Coming out this fall, Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes will feature over 20 Marvel characters, including Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow, Thor, Hulk and Hawkeye.
Attendees were treated with a short video introduction from Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) before a nattily dressed Clark Gregg stepped on stage with his Agent Coulson attire. Gregg's appearance was brief, as he simply stated that "Disney Infinity is moving forward with the second phase of their operation," before introducing Disney Interactive president James Pintaro.
During his speech, Pintaro noted that since its August launch, over three million Disney Infinity starter packs have been purchased, generating over $500 million in global retail sales. With the impending addition of a new batch of characters from an entirely different universe, revenues are bound to increase. "The addition of Marvel characters and stories has allowed us, in fact, it's forced us to think very differently about this game and the gameplay," said Pintaro. "For us, it wasn't just about dropping Marvel superheroes into Disney Infinity. Rather, it was about creating timely new experiences that uniquely match these characters and their amazing qualities."
The best banter of the event came from Marvel Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada and Gregg, who jokingly expressed disappointment that Coulson was ignored in a couple of movies. "I need to have a word with you about 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' and 'Thor: The Dark World,'" said Gregg to Quesada. "They were great films, but (they were) lacking something." The actor also expressed his desire to join 'Dancing with the Stars,' to which Quesada quipped that only agents of Hydra worked on that show.
One of Marvel's main goals is to tap into the new generation of comic fans while also keeping a continuum with the universe's gloried past. Writer Brian Michael Bendis, one of Marvel's most revered scribes, was hired to pen the story behind Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes, and he explained why he wanted to take part in this epic undertaking.
"[Marvel] was kind enough to call and [told me] that they wanted me to create the story for them and create the characters' voices and make sure it really breathed and smelled and tasted like Marvel," said Bendis. "I was so happy to do it because I watch my kids play Disney Infinity and I saw how much they loved and [I thought] this game could do for this generation what comics did for us when we were kids."
Bendis also added that the characters announced today are not the only thing to look forward to, as there other Marvel characters and stories down the peak that will, to paraphrase the writer, blow our minds.
Disney Infinity general manager John Blackburn and executive producer John Vignocchi rounded out the event to discuss the gameplay for Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes. A video was shown that featured various Marvel characters in combat mode, and several notable villains, including MODOK and Loki, as well as Guardians of the Galaxy's Rocket Raccoon and Groot appeared in the clip.
Blackburn announced that all the figures, power discs, the toy boxes, and the power base from Disney Infinity 1.0 will be compatible for the Disney Infinity 2.0 edition. Along with possessing three Marvel super heroes figures (Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow), the Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes starter kit will also include two pieces that will provide players access to a new addition called Toy Box games. The initial adventures will have players taking part in a dungeon crawler and a tower defense adventure.
Over 80 new Power Discs will also be available with the release, as players can customize their various environments, ride on a hydra motorcycle, or even team up with the Winter Soldier or Iron Patriot.
One improvement with Disney Infinity 2.0 will be its combat system, as players can customize the fighting abilities of their characters as they gain more experience. Vignocchio admitted that with the first game, on a combat level, "there wasn't a lot of difference from one character to another." With the 2.0 version, players will choose and customize their characters' abilities through a skill tree.
Both the Disney and Marvel organizations blended as one team during today's press event, with developers Avalanche Software back in the saddle and Marvel stalwart Brian Michael Bendis on board, Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes has the makings of another home run for the nascent franchise.
Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes (2.0 Edition) comes out this fall on the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii U, PC and iOS.