Video Games

Disney and Marvel Games Showcase Is a Disney Gaming Renaissance Six Years in the Making

Six years ago, Disney appeared to be out of the game altogether, announcing that it would be shutting down its publishing and development divisions.

Today, with a showcase chock-full of Disney and Marvel licensed titles, it’s like it never left.

New trailers and updates for known games like Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, Disney Dreamlight Valley, Marvel’s Midnight Suns, Marvel Snap and Disney Speedstorm, plus new reveals for games like Bithell Games’ Tron Identity and Dlala’s Disney Illusion Island. confirmed. , and Amy Hennig’s mysterious project with Skydance Media: A Game of Captain America and Black His Panthers set in World War II. Gamers who love Disney are still eating well today.

But when I told you in 2016 that the smorgasbord of this Disney game was just around the corner, I might not have believed it.That year, not only Disney Disney Infinity, a major Toy to Life franchise, is shutting downhowever, announced that it would be closing its in-house development studio Avalanche, abandoning self-publishing altogether and moving to a licensing model only.

At the time, most people interpreted this as Disney essentially throwing in the towel on games in general. It’s understandable because it was almost completely down after getting the game. Most of our 2016 library consisted of mobile games like Disney Emoji Blitz and Disney Crossy Road. Aside from Kingdom Hearts’ longtime relationship with Square Enix, it seemed like the blockbuster Disney game could be on forever.

But now, in 2022, that doesn’t seem to be the case. For Disney, Pixar, and his Disney VP of 20th Century Games, Luigi Priore, that was never the plan. According to Priore, the game’s relative drought over the last few years and the subsequent sudden burst of releases were all part of a strategy he began in 2016 when the company stopped publishing games. I have never seen fruit.

We wanted to get out of publishing. We weren’t successful with that. We had a great studio making great content, but it wasn’t working.


“Before 2016, this was the plan,” he says. “We wanted to get out of publishing. got out of publishing and thought our strategy was to make more licensed products.The best part of that strategy is that we can work with the best.”

Priore continues that it was “really tough” for Disney to have its own in-house studio. But working with a partner isn’t just a more reasonable prospect for the content giant, it’s also racing from small indie endeavors to mass AAA, from his games to the likes of Animal Crossing.

That range was on display at today’s presentation, where Priore saw many individuals, teams, and companies approaching Disney with passionate projects for long-loved Disney properties. Often times, they’ve been hiding ideas for Disney’s dream games over the years.

Once those ideas are approved, Disney appears to be taking a rather half-hearted approach when it comes to how it hands-on with studios. increase. There are no “hard and fast rules” about what partners can do on Disney properties, and Disney doesn’t often dictate what they want others to make. There aren’t that many standalone games, but that’s not because Disney isn’t open. “We’re ready for it. It just has to be the right time.”

But it is entangled. For example, Avatar: Pandora Frontline was already in development when Disney acquired his 20th Century Fox in 2017. “We were observers at first,” says Priore.

This showcase is the culmination of where it started in the late 2000s and continues to the present day.


“I have had the pleasure of working with them and the filmmakers at Lightstorm. It’s very exciting to work on these video games as well.”

Priore said this philosophy generally applies to Disney IP available to original creators of movies and TV shows to work on game adaptations. “Every studio at The Walt Disney Company is involved in the content they create,” he says. “I want it to be as real as possible”

Here’s Disney’s current and long-term strategy with regards to gaming. When I asked if Disney was likely to revive its in-house studios and publishing division, Priore dismissed the question (and Disney didn’t respond to follow-up requests in time for publication). But it’s possible Disney properties will see even more adaptations in the gaming space in the near future.

“The whole idea is not how much we do, but how important each thing is,” says Priore. “This showcase is the culmination of where we started at the end of 2020 to where we are now. You said 2016, 2017. Think about it. It’s going to take a year, we’re hitting those first games right now, and we’ve got something to announce from a Disney/Pixar/20th century perspective, yes, we’ve grown, we’ve done more, Expect more products that hopefully immerse you in the world of Disney.”

A roundup of everything announced at today’s Disney and Marvel Games Showcase at D23 can be found here.

Rebekah Valentine is a news reporter for IGN. you can find her on her twitter @duck valentine.

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