In a recent interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Disney Games Senior Vice President Sean Shoptaw talked about the future of Disney games and how the company is looking to have a greater presence in the gaming world, not just with Star Wars and Marvel, but also with more of their classic characters and brands.
"We're really happy with some of the Disney executions we currently have in market — on the mobile side specifically with Princesses and some of the traditional characters,” Shoptaw said. “But we agree, we think there's many more stories to tell. We love the original characters, Mickey and crew. We think there's enormous opportunity, and it's a very underserved part of our portfolio today, especially on the console side. I think you'll start to see that... there's a lot more to come."
With the whole of the Disney vault open, there’s plenty of possibilities for games we’ll see, but here’s a few of our best guesses and ideas.
Epic Mickey 3
This is a no-brainer for the top of our list. Epic Mickey was, well, epic, and introduced Oswald the Rabbit back into the Disney mainstream after decades of copyright entanglement. It was a fresh take on some of the Disney classic characters and even on Mickey himself, returning him to his original portrayal of lovable yet cheeky trickster, not quite the wholesome and welcoming brand ambassador he’s since become.
Epic Mickey 2 ended on a cliffhanger, with plans for a future game, and it could be the perfect companion piece for a remastered collection of the first two games and a port to Nintendo Switch. Of course, given Disney’s recent movie trends, they might also opt for a live-action remake of the whole series too.
Fantasia Party Game
OK, hear us out. It’s a little unorthodox, but between the original Fantasia and Fantasia 2000, there’s a ton of characters, music, and settings that a developer could play with. Add the exquisite classical music track to it, possibly given a modern twist like Yoko Shimomura has done with several Disney pieces for Kingdom Hearts, and voila!
Maybe I just want to play a game where I hop around like a little adorable mushroom creature or fighting butterflies versus bats, pitting the light against the darkness. I promise that last one was a real segment in Fantasia 2000, you can look it up on YouTube.
Disney Princess Adventure Game
Again, this one might be a bit out there, but Wreck It Ralph Breaks the Internet has proved that there is indeed a massive market for Princess team ups. Most Disney Princess games that are and have been on the market since the ‘90s are aimed at girls and feature art, dressing up, and other traditionally “girly” activities. I should know, I bought most of them.
With the advent of more action-oriented Princesses in recent years, an epic adventure or RPG quest is totally doable. Ariel, Jasmine, Merida, Rapunzel, Elsa, and Moana are all excellent candidates, and if you wanted to add a less physical and more magical element, Cinderella, Aurora, and Belle would be perfect additions, with different fighting styles and specialties for each of them. Hmm, maybe what I want is a Lego Disney Princess game instead.
Haunted Mansion Survival Horror
Haunted Mansion is one of Disney’s most iconic attractions at the parks around the world, with a version being present in every park except Shanghai Disney Resort. It’s spooky, and there’s recognizable characters and, let’s be honest, a really creepy backstory. Resident Evil has proved that single-location horror games can be just as scary as anything else, and dealing with ghosts eliminates the need to actually “kill” any Disney characters.
Branching out into survival horror would definitely be a leap for Disney, but let’s face it, it couldn’t be any worse than the movie was. Just don’t cast Eddie Murphy this time, please.
Classic Disney-style Animal Crossing
Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley-esque games are all the rage, and who else to better capitalize on a village of oddball characters with unique storylines and loose connections than the classic Disney shorts? Of course Mickey and the gang should all be there, but it’s a great way to reintroduce characters who don’t tend to get as much notice nowadays, like Clarabell Cow, Horace Horsecollar, the Three Little Pigs, and Mortimer Mouse.
Give every character a handpicked plotline, some prizes and decorating mechanics, and throw in a few mini-games and it’s sure to relax people for hours. Plus I hope that whoever they pick to run the stores would be far less creepy than Tom Nook, but Scrooge would probably still own your soul.
With so many Disney properties that have so much video game potential, it's refreshing to hear directly from Disney that their IP vault is open, and they can totally pay me off for any of the above ideas. What would you want to see them turn into their next gaming franchise? Let us know in the comments below!