Utah-designed 'Disney Infinity' ready for breakout role at E3
The world's largest video game trade show, known as E3, begins in earnest on Tuesday in Los Angeles, and although only one game maker from Utah's growing developer community will be there, others are poised to make their mark with upcoming new titles.
The three-day convention involves worldwide video game designers and publishers debuting future titles to retailers and the gaming press at the Los Angeles Convention Center through Thursday. On Monday, Sony and Microsoft will present separate media briefings to tout their upcoming next-generation video game systems, the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One, respectively.
As Utah's sole representative, Disney Interactive will be showing off an as-yet-unreleased game at the show. Here's what it is and the status of new titles from other local game makers:
Disney Interactive • The locally produced game expected to make a big splash this week at E3 is "Disney Infinity," developed by Salt Lake City game makers, Avalanche Software, which is owned by Disney.
"We're most of Disney Interactive's booth, probably 80 percent of it," Avalanche Software Studio General Manager John Blackburn said about "Disney Infinity's" presence at E3.
"Disney Infinity" isn't just a video game but a gigantic platform that ultimately could involve all of Disney's movie and/or television franchises.
It's a 3D open-world sandbox in which the player can unlock new Disney characters in the game world through figurines that will be sold separately from the game. When the player puts a figurine on a platform connected to the game console (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii and Wii U), that character is unlocked to play in the world.
So far, figurines from "Pirates of the Caribbean," "Cars," "The Incredibles" and the upcoming "Monsters University" have been announced. Disney also will debut a playset at E3 involving the upcoming film "The Lone Ranger."
"We're not just introducing one game. It's an entire software platform that all Disney games will go into in the future," Blackburn said. "This is a big initiative for Disney overall."
The game will be released in stores in August.
EA Salt Lake • The local satellite studio for publisher Electronics Arts already released its new mobile iOS game, "Tetris Blitz," last month, which recently catapulted to No. 1 on the Apple iTunes App Store.
The game is a modern and quick pick-up-and-play version of the classic Russian puzzle game. "Tetris Blitz" is not expected to make a showing at EA's Mobile Demo Suite.
Chair Entertainment • The Salt Lake City makers of the blockbuster iOS games "Infinity Blade" and "Infinity Blade 2," will not be at the show because, as company spokeswoman Laura Mustard said, "we're in crunch mode . . . and head-down on our next game," which they hope to reveal later this year.
Although the company has been developing for the iPhone and iPad of late, it's roots are with console gaming development. With two new consoles debuting later this year, could their next project be either for the Xbox One or the PlayStation 4?
Eat Sleep Play • Although the Salt Lake City company that transitioned from console gaming development to mobile gaming with its first iOS title, "Running with Friends," will not be in L.A., its game is expected to be a part of Zynga's presence at E3. Zynga is the worldwide publisher and maker of "Farmville" that co-produced and released "Running with Friends."
Wahoo Studios • The Orem based makers of the popular "Kingdom for Keflings" are working on a mobile game called "Nutjitsu," about a ninja squirrel collecting nuts while running away from samurai foxes. The game already was shown at an earlier gaming show, PAX, running on Windows tablets, but the studio has not yet decided on which platform the game will be released.
The studio also did some contract work on "Disney Infinity."
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What it is • The world's largest video game trade show, where game makers and publishers meet with the media and retailers to demonstrate their newest titles.
When • Tuesday through Thursday at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Media briefings from Microsoft and Sony will be presented Monday.
Utah developers • Avalanche Software will be showing off "Disney Infinity;" Eat Sleep Play's "Running with Friends" will be shown by publisher Zynga.