Ninja Theory's Collaboration with Disney Infinity is Just the Start
With the impending release of Infinity 2.0, Disney reveals plans to expand partnerships with developers.
At this year's Giant Bomb PAX East panel, Disney Infinity executive producer John Vignocchi announced Disney's collaboration with Ninja Theory--the development house behind DmC Devil May Cry, Enslaved, and Heavenly Sword. While this specific partnership may come as a surprise, the concept of external development teams working on Infinity isn't a new one.
"It's an interesting collaboration, and one that I don't think people saw coming," Vignocchi said to GameSpot in a recent interview. "They're really great at what they do and we've designed Infinity to be a platform, not only for players to expand content, but for developers to join and create content based on the amazing catalog of IP we have at Disney."
Ninja Theory's general proficiency with action games has already been put to good use, designing abilities for various Disney characters--such as Princess Jasmine from Aladdin and Loki from Marvel's Thor. But the company's specific expertise in complex combination-based mechanics is something that appeals to an older gaming audience, which has raised some questions about who's actually playing Disney Infinity.
"At launch, we thought this was going to be primarily for six to 12-year-olds, about 70 percent boys and 30 percent girls," Vignocchi says. "Our post [release] studies have revealed that it's 55 percent boys and 45 percent girls. We have just as many non-parent adults playing the game, as we do six to 12-year-olds."
And it's not just the audience that's had an influence on Disney Infinity, and its decision to court developers like Ninja Theory, but also the characters the audience is using the most. "Of course, you have events like the release of Frozen when you see Anna and Elsa become very popular from a retail perspective in terms of sales, but then you see which characters people are playing with in the game and why," Vignocchi says. "The Incredibles characters are always at the top of the list."
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"That bode well for us as we were working on Marvel Super Heroes," he adds. "The Incredibles had the most varied powers of anyone inside of the game, and our entire focus for 2.0 is making sure every one of the Marvel Super Heroes, and all the new Disney characters, feel a lot different than the characters from last year."
Disney isn't quite ready to reveal the other developers that have signed on to create Infinity content, but much like the Ninja Theory selection, the reasons will be obvious based on how Infinity has grown. "Over time, we'll be announcing more developers that are joining the platform, but for right now we're thrilled that [Ninja Theory] is a part of this," Vignocchi says. "It will make sense over time why we've chosen these developers to help us. The thing that we cared most about was bringing on developers that would raise our game."
Could one of those developers be Nintendo? The company announced its entry into the toys-to-life market with the debut of Amiibo--Nintendo figures that store customized information--at this year's E3. It's an exciting proposition, but one that's not likely to happen anytime soon. "Nintendo has presented Amiibo to us and I think they have a very interesting strategy," Vignocchi says. "We're always interested in talking with partners--whether it's first-party or independent developers--on ways we can integrate their content inside of the platform. But no official discussions have happened, as of yet."
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