When you think of Disney Infinity, you usually think of fun little characters running around having adventures, and not giant slugfests. The Battlegrounds expansion is aiming to change that.
Disney Infinity, now in its third version, is expanding into new areas it hasn’t explored before. With the launch of Disney Infinity 3.0 this past fall, the Inside Out expansion saw puzzle platforming added to the mix. Now a few months later, Marvel Battlegrounds is on store shelves and it brings with it the ability to put all of your favorite Marvel characters in a four person brawl. We recently had a chance to speak with Ryan Rothenberger, Game Director of Marvel Battlegrounds about what he sees as this expansion’s position in Infinity overall, and where else we might be going.
“We’ve gotten a lot of feedback from a lot of parents saying, ‘Hey, you know what, I’ve got more than two kids, all of them love playing together in the Toy Box, that’s great, but we would love it if they could play together in a playset.'” Rothenberger explained. “All these things came together, and we thought a Marvel brawler would be awesome. We started looking back through some of the games we enjoyed. Power Stone, Power Stone 2 from the Dreamcast days. Obviously Super Smash Bros. was a bit of an influence for us. And we’re like, this is starting to tick all of the boxes for us.”
After Rothernberger and his team settled on their inspirations and studied the mechanics they would need to add to the game – Marvel Battlegrounds is the first Infinity product to require an Internet connection to download new data – they got to work on the product. But this raises an interesting question in just where else could Infinity go now that the team has opened this door? “Infinity was always seen as that game where it’s kind of limited only by your imagination. Now that we’re seeing how people want to play, and how they are identifying with the game, they’re not only going to want, but they’re going to push us into trying different things, and trying different genres.” He went on to add, “I think the sky’s the limit on what we can do at the playset level as well as in the Toy Box for our next thing.”
With the Internet door open to them now, and downloadable content being so en vogue in the world of gaming, it seems like a natural expansion to think that more arenas will come along for Marvel Battlegrounds, but the company is taking a wait and see approach. “We want to see how it does. We’ve gotten amazing reactions from both the player community as well as the press, but we still need to evaluate what, if anything we will add to it. If and when we do an expansion for it, it would be a downloadable patch.” That doesn’t mean you won’t see fresh content, however. “Since this only shipped with Captain America: The First Avenger, we’re trying out the idea of trial characters. Each week you’ll find three new characters you can try out for free so you don’t just see Captain America vs Captain America vs Captain America.”
Before you think you can run into a two-on-two fight with Rapunzel from Tangled and Mickey, remember, this is Marvel only at this point. “Our franchisees are very protective of their licenses. So they like seeing them contextually inside their own universes. With Battlegrounds, because it is so unique, I think we’re going to see what fans say and the response is. Then maybe we’ll be able to convince some other folks to let their characters in, but for now it is primarily going to be Marvel driven.”
Keeping with the idea of infinite possibilities, the Marvel Power Discs also play a role in the new expansion, but have been re-imagined to fit in with the system better. “All the Power Discs are still usable, so all your round 2.0 and 3.0 Marvel discs are usable. Things like Ant-Man’s team-up where he would fight alongside you, now he comes in as a pick-up so anyone can go and grab it. Instead of him just coming out and fighting with you, he grows huge and you just see a giant boot coming down and stomping on the whole arena.”
With 28 Marvel characters currently available in Disney Infinity, there are plenty of characters for you to choose from, and with the free trial characters rotating each week it’s going to be some time before you run out of new things to try. And if it’s a success, who knows what other expansions this could lead to. I will not, however, rest until I can pit Lightning McQueen against Black Widow.