Jan. 15, 2013 at 8:37 PM ET
A new multi-platform game is coming from Disney that combines real-world figurines with virtual action, not unlike runaway collectible-gaming success "Skylanders." Disney's "Infinity" will arrive in June on nearly every gaming platform available.
Disney no doubt felt the sting of a missed opportunity while witnessing the skyrocketing sales of "Skylanders" — the company's vast portfolio of characters and settings, from Mickey Mouse to The Incredibles, is potentially a perfect match for such a game platform.
So it's no surprise that they're making a go of it themselves with a new "gaming initiative" they call "Disney Infinity." Kids (or rather, their parents) will be able to pick up a starter kit with software, board, and three characters for $75. Around 30 characters will be available at launch, and there are a number of add-on pieces that enhance the functionality of your Buzz Lightyear, Hercules, or Jack Sparrow.
Up to two characters at a time can be placed on the USB-powered platform, along with a "Play Set" piece that determines the setting or adventure in which players will appear. You can play multiplayer locally (two players) or online (up to four), and progress and achievements are saved to your character's figurine.
Gameplay looks to range from open-world exploration to on-wire racing and fighting, but on the whole it looks consistently well-realized: This was clearly a major effort on Disney's part not just to get a piece of the "Skylanders" pie, but to really bring their characters and world into a modern gaming context without losing the "for kids" element of the equation.
Plans are for it to be available for PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, WiiU, 3DS, PC, iOS and possibly more platforms (some of which may not even be announced yet). Here's the trailer, which appears to mix real gameplay with more cinematic stuff:
There's lots more information on the characters, sets, and other aspects of the game at the official Disney "Infinity" site. We'll be sure to get our hands on it at E3, where it is certain to have a major presence.
Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBCNews Digital. His personal website is coldewey.cc.