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Disney Infinity 3.0 Meets Mario Kart In The Speedway Toy Box

by Kyle Hilliard on May 12, 2015 at 09:00 AM

The Toy Box game sets represent genre-specific alternate experiences for Disney Infinity. Past Toy Box games were built entirely using the in-game creation tools and included Thor’s Assault on Asgard and Guardians of the Galaxy’s Escape from the Kyln, which were tower-defense and dungeon-crawler style games respectively. For 3.0, Avalanche and its team of contracted developers are taking the Toy Box games a step further and stretching the engine beyond what’s available to the average player in the interest of creating a refined experience. Neither Speedway nor Toy Box Takeover is something the average player would be able to create with Disney Infinity’s creation tools, and they will be available separately from the main game. They will both be sold as separate discs, but you will need a 3.0 starter set in order to play.

Look out for more information on the other planned Toy Box game for Disney Infinity 3.0, a dungeon-crawler hack-n-slash called Toy Box Takeover, soon.

Driving has been an important part of Disney Infinity from the beginning. Whether you were using the cars to get from point A to point B quickly, jumping off gigantic ramps, or doing some racing, you and your favorite Disney and Pixar and later Marvel character spent significant time behind the wheel – and Avalanche wanted it to be better.

Speedway is a racing-focused Toy Box game that seeks to offer as much kart-racing action as your typical Mario Kart, but with Disney Infinity’s deep roster of characters, vehicles, and tracks. If you want to place Han Solo in the Disney World teacup-ride vehicle and fire off missiles at Thor as he speeds by in The Incredibles’ Incredicar on Wreck-it Ralph’s Sugar Rush track, this will be a destination for you.

Above: Watch split-screen gameplay footage of Yoda vs. Darth Maul on a Tatooine track.

In order to craft this full, separate experience, Avalanche enlisted the help of Sumo Digital. Sumo has a history with the racing genre, and has specifically seen success in the kart-racing sub-genre. Most recently, the studio developed LittleBigPlanet 3, but before that it crafted the well-received Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing and its sequel Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed as well as the last-gen version of Forza Horizon 2. It’s a studio with a varied collection of releases, but controlling cars is quickly becoming its specialty.

The partnership began when Disney Infinity’s VP of production at Disney Interactive John Vignocchi ran into Sumo’s Sean Millard at GDC and professed his appreciation for Sonic & Sega All-Stars racing. Then the discussions began that ultimately lead to Speedway. “I’m a comics geek, a toy geek, and certainly a Marvel geek, and I love the Disney characters as well,” Millard says regarding his own appreciation for the first two Disney Infinity games. “I’ve been on board with it right from the start.” Despite being an admitted fan, Millard recognized that driving controls could use some work. "It’s fun to drive, but it seemed practically specific about everything. It never did quite feel as tight as it could have been," Millard says.

The first thing Sumo did was start tweaking the driving controls to tighten them up and make them feel more consistent with a quality kart racer. “We’re aiming for it be as much fun and as pick-up-and-play as Mario Kart. That is absolutely the intent,” Millard says. Those tweaks and changes are implemented throughout all of Disney Infinity 3.0, not just to Speedway. We got a chance to play with the new controls and though Sumo insists most of the tweaks were minor saying, "We’re using all of the existing technology, but we’re sort of making the numbers slightly different,” the change is dramatic. In Disney Infinity 2.0, I found myself driving my motorcycle into the walls and buildings of New York. Racing through the Frozen-themed track of Speedway in 3.0 with the new controls, however, I felt the Mario Kart 8 muscle memory I had been curating over the past few months start kicking in as I slid around corners and dodged track obstacles. It feels much better overall.

Above: Watch everybody's favorite Wookiee race on a track from Frozen.

You can expect to race in Frozen, Wreck-it Ralph, and a few Star Wars tracks, but some of the more creative tracks are digging a little deeper in the Disney library. One we didn’t get to see but were told about is a track taking place inside of the Monsters, Inc. door factory. Millard had to be convinced of its inclusion, as he wasn’t sure how well it could work. “I do really like Monsters, Inc. but as a fanboy it’s not really my favorite brand,” says Millard. The end result, however, is one Millard is glad the team fought for, as it has the thousands of hanging doors from the original film framing the racing action and creating plenty of rails the cars can jump on and slide along.

The Speedway Toy Box will be released as a separate, stand-alone game on a disc sometime after the release of Disney Infinity 3.0, though you will need the initial 3.0 starter set to play. “It’s going to stand out like a sore thumb – in a good way,” Millard says contemplating if there has ever been a kart racer with the same collection of different characters from so many franchises. “A pleasantly sore thumb.”

Super Mario Kart or Mario Kart 64?
Mario Kart is an admitted inspiration for Speedway, something that can be said of any kart racing game, so we asked Millard to take a side in the Super Mario Kart and Mario Kart 64 debate. “I love the SNES one. I never got beyond the SNES one,” Millard says without hesitation. “There hasn’t been a Mario Kart that I’ve really hated, I’ve got to say,” Millard says to stay at least somewhat political. “I played the SNES version to absolute death.”

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