One element of the wildly successful Disney Infinity game is the Toy Box, where players create their own unique worlds and even download additional puzzles uploaded by users around the globe. With the release of Disney Infinity 2.0 hitting shelves on September 23, 2014, the team at Avalanche Software hosted the inaugural Toy Box Summit this weekend (August 16 & 17) in Salt Lake City, Utah to allow the top Toy Box designers to get their hands on the upcoming version. In addition to some great discussions with some official Avalanche Software team members, the attendees also competed to try and create the best Toy Box they could in less than 24 hours – and the winner would win some pretty amazing prizes. Read more as we recap the events of the weekend and even watch the full live stream of the event below.
Day one of the Toy Box Summit kicked off with a keynote presentation with John Vignocchi (Executive Producer, Disney Interactive) and John Blackburn (VP, GM Disney Infinity) who recapped the successes from Disney Infinity 1.0 as well covered the first version of the Toy Box. Additionally, the pair gave a great high-level look at what we can expect from the Toy Box 2.0 while covering the top 10 fan-requested features to be added to the new Toy Box (listed below).
- Make it easier to build toy boxes – The new toy box contains reworked controls to allow for faster building.
- I want to save time when building toy boxes – There are now templates which you can use as a starting point to help speed the creation of your toy boxes.
- Help me create real games – This topic also covered the templates.
- Let me Inside – Users can now create building interiors as well.
- Let me save more toy boxes – Users can now save up to 300 (rather than 100 in 1.0).
- Let me share with my friends – Users can share directly with friends while still maintaining privacy controls.
- How about some more toys and vehicles – The team integrated even more ride vehicles and weapons.
- More adventures for all of my characters – Each character has even more built in Toy Box missions.
- Let’s have a toy box started pack with disney characters! A Disney Infinity 2.0 starter pack featuring the Merida and Stitch Toy Box characters has been announced for Disney fans who may not want to get started with Marvel characters. This set is slated to hit shelves on November 4, 2014.
- Bring us to Avalanche to play 2.0 – OK, so this wasn’t a fan-requested feature but made sense being at the Summit!
Next up was a screening of the gorgeous introduction to the Disney Infinity 2.0. For people that played the first Disney Infinity, this is when the spark comes on the screen when you first start up the game and you run through the various worlds as Sheriff Woody, Jack Sparrow and others as you bring the game to life with your imagination. The new introduction was gorgeous – you can tell the amount of time they put into it and it really gets you excited to play the game. The introduction does show the previously rumored Baymax and Hiro Hamada characters in-game from Big Hero 6.
The second portion of the event was the Toy Box Team Panel in which some of the key players in the development of 2.0 discussed elements that they were most proud of, lessons learned, and new features in the second iteration of the game.
The panel consisted of (from left to right in the image above):
- Reed Hawker – Artist
- Chad Liddell – Lead Artist
- John Blackburn – VP, GM
- John Vignocchi – Executive Producer
- Jeff Bunker – VP, Art director
- James Rowe – Lead Programmer
Highlights from the panel include:
- They learned early on when they animated Buzz Lightyear (during the development of the Toy Story 3 game which Avalanche Software also created) how Buzz should run. A Pixar animator helped show them that Buzz runs quite differently from how a standard charter would run and they carried this animation through to the Disney Infinity franchise.
- Chad Liddel mentioned that Merida is his favorite character in the Toy Box due to her combat capabilities.
- John Vignocchi’s favorite character in the new Marvel play set is Venom because when he’s leveled up he’s as strong as Hulk, but he can web swing (like Spiderman) as well. For his favorite Disney character he teases a new character (a female who is yet to be announced) – although this is rumored to be Mulan.
- A fun fact is that you can now dive into the coins in Scrooge’s money bin (since interiors exist in 2.0).
- Another item that changed in the game is that the flight controls are much more intuitive this time around.
- The team did mention (and briefly tease Ariel and a Finding Nemo play set) that a swimming mechanic will eventually find it’s way into the game, but most likely not in 2.0 (so don’t count Little Mermaid or Finding Nemo characters as a release for 2.0, but maybe 3.0).
The final panel of the day was a gathering of the five lucky Disney Infinity community members who were sought out and hired by Avalanche Software to create Toy Boxes full time. The new team members have already been feverishly creating new content which will be downloadable at launch to provide even more levels and content for Toy Box only characters.
The panel consisted of the following Toy Box Mentors (from left to right in the image above):
- Quinn Johnson
- Patrick Efird
- Steuart Malcolm
- Tyler Cole
- Jose Abalos
During the panel, the team explored the new features (which are upgrades to 1.0 tools) and elements to help the Toy Box artists learn how to create the all new 2.0 Toy Boxes.
As soon as this panel came to a close, the Toy Box artists jumped on their station and began working on their creations in hopes of winning the grand prize – a Sony Play Station 4 and a copy of Disney Infinity 2.0 (it turns out that the prize was much, much more impressive than they originally stated – read more at the end of Day 2).
Day two’s focus was taking the time to walk through each of the creations from 22 Toy Box artists who (most without a wink of sleep) created some amazing Toy Boxes in such a short amount of time (just about 15 or so hours).
It turns out that at the close of the live stream, John Vignocchi mentioned that the grand prize for the first place toy box wasn’t big enough. But before he revealed the new grand prize, he also mentioned that all of the Toy Box artists who were invited out will receive a Play Station 4 (that’s in addition to the amazing amount of swag they were given just for showing up as well – 5 figures, power discs, shirts and more). John announced that the updated grand prize now included their own custom Townsperson in a future edition of the game – yup, the Avalanche Software team will create a custom Townsperson that resembles the winner’s likeness to be included in the game. Now that is a great grand prize! The grand prize winner has not yet been announced.
Other Details From The Event
In addition to the all great insights into the Toy Box at the event, there were also some other great details revealed at the event.
- Mr. Incredible has a costume change power disc which will allow him to change into his original black with blue accent super-suit. For a full list of the 40 known power discs be sure to visit Disney Infinity TV’s great post with images of all of the discs. The video below is also from Disney Infinity TV’s YouTube channel.
The much-talked-about Crystal Sorcerer’s Apprentice Mickey figure was given to all of the Toy Box artists in attendance and John Vignocchi revealed that it will be released in December 2014.