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D23 Expo Games Recap

Don Parsons / August 16, 2015 at 3:37 PM / Gaming, News

Disney Interactive took over D23 Expo a little past 2pm EST and they began with a talk about Disney Interactive in general. There was a lot of talk to start about of how great it is to work with Disney characters and focusing on being interactive. While there was no official live stream of the event, multiple people were doing Periscopes of the event, including one from the front row.

They continued with a teaser of the different things to be discussed – from Kingdom Hearts 3, to Disney Infinity, to Star Wars Battlefront along with an unannounced title, Playstation 4, and a new Star Wars arcade game by Bandai Namco.

Square Enix took the stage over first with Kingdom Heart’s 3 after some lauding from Disney and they promised some special news. While at E3 they showed off Sora’s Keyblade transformations, they confirmed that all Keyblades will have transformations. There was shortly thereafter an announcement of a Big Hero 6 world, which if you were wanting to know about which worlds would be in was exciting. They showed off some concept art that looked a bit interesting. After that though, Beymax stepped onto the stage getting applause as he emerged from a curtained off area. It was explained that the Kingdom Hearts 3 appearance would take place chronologically after the movie and let them explore new stories in the world. Sadly, for fans hoping for a release date or more information, nothing more was really forthcoming.

Following that was a presentation of a bunch of mobile games that they have released, which culminated in the announcement of Disney Magic Kingdoms, a new mobile game. Disney Magic Kingdoms aims to bring the fun of going to Disney World to mobile.  They explained that, and announced a partnership with gameloft before showing off some scenes from the game. The game appears to be a sort of tycoon game where you create your own Disney theme park and have fun with the various characters and thematic elements to make it ‘Disney’. Famous rides that are available at various Disney Parks will be available in the game, with things like the famous castle and various other rides. There will also be a story in the game uncommonly for a tycoon game, which is based around some of Disney’s most famous villains being wicked and you working with the famous heroes of Disney to thwart them.

Playmation came up next, with showing people being active in playing the games and had one of the engineers come onto the stage to explain the vision, and some of the Marvel game. After going over a bit of talking of mixing real life play with a digital age, they showed kids playing with various prototypes. It appears to work with a mix of imagination and directed game play, with the gloves of the playmation reading whats going on as you fight the enemy or do the other tasks directed and shown at, with some commentary. The Playmation Avengers pack will be hitting this October, but one thing that might turn people off is that for each character you want to play. Whether that’s Iron Man’s repulsor’s or the Hulk hands you can expect it to be an expensive hobby especially with only 25 adventures per pack.

After that was Bandai Namco with the new Star Wars Battle Pod the arcade game. It has been at D23 for people to play, and they appear to want to bring arcades back in america. The Star Wars Battle Pod premium edition was announced there, a 180 degree doom as it is a personal arcade machine. There is both a rebel and Darth Vader version. The goal is to create an immersive arcade experience that cannot be easily duplicated in a home environment. There are various missions throughout the game that you fly and fight your enemies.

Continuing on with Star Wars, Battlefront was next on stage. After some gushing about Electronic Arts, Justin McCully came out to introduce Battlefront more. Disney has opened up the Lucas Arts archives to Electronic Arts so that they are able to have unprecedented access to the information. They announced the first DLC for Star Wars Battlefront as absolutely free, and it will be Star Wars Battlefront: Battle of Jakku and connect Battlefront to The Force Awakens. Those who preorder will get the DLC a week early on December 1, instead of the normal December 8 release date. After releasing that, they showed Fighter Squadron, the 20 player fighter mode, one of 27 different multiplayer modes that McCully mentioned the game will have. Whether the excellent looking video was in game footage or CGI was not made clear.

Dearth Vader showed up on the screen after that with a Darth Vader Playstation 4, with it looking dark and having Darth Vader’s helmet on it as well as a special controller. It comes with two versions, the first coming with Star Wars Battlefront, and the second coming with Disney Infinity 3.0 as well as the star wars pack. Additionally it will come with a voucher with 5 classic remastered Star Wars games.

It was inevitable, as Disney Infinity 3.0 came up to stage. They showed the fact that Star Wars will be joining Disney Infinity with the 3.0  version that was already known. It does mean you could have Buzz Lightyear, Iron Man, and Luke Skywalker in the same game as long as you are willing to spend the money on getting the figurines to use with it. They were explaining that the starter kit will hit August 30th and the starter kit will include Anakin, and Asoka, saying they believed it was important to have a strong female character. They continued into the second set Rise Against the Empire with Luke and Leia taking prominent roles. They then showed Inside Out from Pixar will also have appearances, and of course Marvel’s super heroes. The Disney 3.0 for Marvel will be Marvel Battlegrounds Play Set and all Marvel Disney Infinity figures will be able to use it and for the first time 4 players will be able to join in. It will be hitting next spring, but to tide you over there are two Marvel characters hitting this fall in Hulkbuster and Ultron.

There were also some new additions to the Toybox, as well as some new stuff for those with magic bands.

Peter Pan was announced as a brand new classic Disney character that was chosen by the artists and will be released in a year. They will continue that on a yearly basis letting artists choose a character a year. Following that was a series of announcements of characters from various movies, as well as light up Star Wars figurines that will launch in the Spring. The ultimate unlock was shown after, and it’s going to be Sora’s Keyblade for those who have everything.

After feinting the close again, they showed an exclusive D23 King Mickey costume for Mickey Mouse, with only 5000 of the powerups created. As they were stopped from leaving the stage they did a discussion about Star Wars: The Force Awakens in Disney Infinity with showing a couple of figures from the Force Awakens pack and they had the actors for the two characters showed to come up on stage. They announced they were giving the figures to the actors but then they decided to give it away to a member of the audience – one of the first figurines for Force Awakens created.


Quick Take

D23 was a disappointment after it kept getting hyped up, especially by Square Enix. The announcements were generally luke warm and not very significant unless you are really into Disney Infinity stuff and particular characters there.


Don Parsons

News Editor

I've been a gamer for years of various types starting with the Sega Genesis and Shining Force when I was young. If I'm not playing video games, I'm often roleplaying, reading, writing, or pondering things brought up by speculative fiction.