Sometimes, I take heat from my fellow GotS writers for not being more timely with the topics I select for articles. For example, Rob Stewart refused to write a Spider-man for the PS4 review because at a couple months past its release date, he already thought it was old news. I’m sure he shutters in his boots over some of the topics I choose to cover.
As a lover of all things old and forgotten, you can find me more likely puttering around with old Commodore 64 games than the latest on the PS4 or taking deep dives into some obscure 1930s Black and White horror movie than watching the Cabin in the Woods. And although sometimes those choices are out of the fact that I’m trying to bring attention to some sort of lost gem buried in the sands of time, other times, it’s just simply because I still love something old and I don’t want to let go of it. As I’ve said, I hate goodbyes and endings. Maybe if I continue to talk about something, it will be as if it never went away.
Case in point with the topic of today’s blog which really isn’t super old in the grand scheme of the universe, but enough of old news that many may scratch their heads and ponder as to why the hell I’m still going on about it. It’s the Disney Infinity series of games and more importantly some of the playsets and figures that were slated to be released prior to the game series being shut down.
Even now almost 3 years after Disney officially abruptly and some may say tragically cancelled the series amidst a cloud of questionable decision making, I still think it was one of the best game franchises to come out of the toy to game model, and they had only begun to scratch the surface of what the game was capable of if they had only gotten the chance to continue. I mean if the movie Wreck It Ralph Breaks the Internet proved anything with their “Disney World” segment, its that the idea of all the various portions of the Disney universe all interacting with each other in some sort of shared playground is an incredible one. I mean I was immediately reminded of Disney Infinity when I was watching the part where Vanellope has to escape from Storm Troopers and seeks refuge with the Disney Princesses. That could have totally been a level in the game! What a wasted opportunity!
In any case, for a lot of us fans of the game, the harshest news was that there were tons of really great characters and concepts in various stages of development at Avalanche, who designed the game, when the Disney execs pulled the plug. And over the years, a lot of those designs and ideas got leaked out on to the internet by one source or another to give us all tantalizing glimpses of what could have been even if the game had been allowed to go on for even one more year. So with today’s blog, I’m going to highlight my personal top 5 concepts from this game universe that never got to see the light of day.
I mean I still play this game with my kids regularly even many years after its demise, so they definitely could have gotten a couple more bucks out of me had they just allowed these figures to make their way on to the shelves. Plus, they would have been a damn sight better than the final figures we eventually did get. Sure, the Mad Hatter and Alice were worthy additions, but the Time figure?!?
C’mon, we got screwed out of some of the figures below for this joker?!? That’s just a travesty of justice! Look at this shmuck! He’s almost saying to you:
“Hey! You know I suck as a figure! Meh! Don’t care! On to clog up some bargain bin at your local Wal-mart!”
No wonder the Disney Execs thought this product sucked if these were the figures they were putting out!
Anyways, on with the list…
5. Baze Malbus from Rogue One
Let me begin by saying that I really did love the Star Wars aspects of Disney Infinity. I mean that’s where the game really picked up I feel. Now some will say it was Disney Infinity 3’s focus on better action and fighting mechanics than the previous games, but I think that the inclusion of the Star Wars universe and the impact of that can not be denied.
From not only bringing in all of those wonderful characters from Star Wars movies past and present, but then packaging it in such a way so that you had both the ability to have space battles and the standard ground combat, allowed the game to grow up in some ways and make it accessible to the masses that were just interested in playing decent video games with a lot of adventure. I for one was in that boat. The previous Disney Infinity games felt unpolished, like they were focusing on the wrong things, like incomplete sandbox play instead of making engaging traditional video games similar to the style of the Lego Games. But the Star Wars games again changed all that, and I was as a result looking forward to more play sets from the Galaxy Far Far Away.
Now it’s not as if I was a huge fan of the character of Baze Malbus from Rogue One. I mean he was alright in a Sancho Panza way. But I put him on this list because of what he represented: The possibility of a Rogue One Playset, and a bunch of additional characters from that film. We could have got this character, maybe a Jyn Erso figure with the playset itself, and of course that snarky insult machine in KY-SO, was also in the pre-production phase.
Yep, that would have been something to see for sure. Instead we got a Finding Dory playset to finish out the series. Not that I’ve got anything against that particular film, but I’d take more Star Wars adventures over fish any day.
As my token non Marvel or Star Wars entry on this list, I wanted it to be special. I mean there were a lot of straight up Disney characters that Infinity had plans for release. Some of them got so close like Peter Pan, that for a little while there were bootleg versions of him circulating around on eBay for hundreds of dollars. Not to mention they were going to release a Moana playset with Moana and Maui figures, and that got so far into production some players swear they have found the one of the islands that would have been used in the actual game.
But for this entry, I thought I’d pick the one that was pretty much criminal that they didn’t get around to releasing. That is the almighty Goof himself. Yes, the fact that they let this core member of Disney’s Sensational Six not see the light of day and join the likes of Mickey, Minnie and Donald is to say it bluntly…goofy.
Yes, goofy, stupid, poor decision making, call it what you will, the simple fact is regardless of what you want to say about any other part of Disney’s empire, these 6 characters: Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Pluto, and Goofy are the bedrock upon the entire rest of the House of Mouse is built. They are Disney’s flagship characters, and they should have been some of the first figures out of the gates, not the last.
Sure, I guess if you were some wise ass executive that had some 10 year plan for the game and part of this plan was to slowly release these characters in some sick perverted way to tease lifelong fans into following along blindly in anticipation, not releasing Goofy until like 3 or 4 years after launch would be following this strategy to a tee.
But see where this strategy got you? An incomplete mess. And for some fans, they would argue that Goofy was really the missing component. Maybe you could have gotten by without Daisy or Pluto, but miss at least getting a Goofy by mere months, is frustrating beyond measure.
3. Dr. Strange
With our first of the Marvel Super Hero figures we got shafted out of at the last moment, here’s a glance at the could have been super awesome Sorcerer Supreme figure, Dr. Stephen Strange. Yes, finally Cumberbitches the world over could have flocked to their Gamestops in droves just for a chance to own this figure which was obviously set to hit store shelves around the time the Doctor Strange movie came out in October of 2016. That means that sincerely we missed this figure by about 6 months, and that’s a damn shame. Even if the line had been allowed to continue through the end of that year, we could have been able to secure this final great figure to add an already impressive collection of characters from the House of Ideas.
And the real crying shame of it was the fact that if the figure had been released we could have finally got some more decent Master of the Mystic Arts action in a video game. There are so few that feature this OG of the Orb of Agamotto, that the major ones that spring to mind only include Contest of Champions, Marvel Super Heroes, and the original Marvel Ultimate Alliance. In both of those games I couldn’t wait to get Dr. Strange, simply because it’s not often you get to play as him that its a real treat when you do. Plus, he’s got such an interesting power set visually, that it’s practically made for video games.
Not only that but with this figure there would have been a chance to see the release of maybe some cool mystic arts style items for the Toy Box or Free Play. Maybe a Cloak of Levitation item for any of your heroes to wear and fly around with? Or maybe some neat Dark Dimension environmental pieces so you can build a really trippy side scrolling course for you and your friends to tackle.
Besides, haven’t you always wanted to see a battle royal between Dr. Strange and the Sorcerer’s Apprentice version of Mickey? We already had the Mickey toy so delivering the goods with Strange would have allowed us all to mix it up with some truly epic magical mayhem all the while allowing Disney to laugh themselves all the way to the bank.
I mean these Marvel characters with the following of fan boys out there were just cash on the vine. It’s a real shame they passed on that…
2. Hera Syndulla
Back with another wasted opportunity to give us more solid Star Wars characters, our number 2 entry is simply a crime against collectors that need to have things complete as well as females that were sorely underrepresented in both the Marvel and Star Wars lines.
From the TV series Star Wars: Rebels, there were only 5 non droid main characters that made up that family of freedom fighters. And of those 5, only one did not get their own Infinity Character. Or should I say, they would have gotten their own if the line had just been allowed to finish out the 2016 selections. And the biggest shame of it was that this character was one of the most important. She’s the matriarch of that space group everywhere just as important as the patriarch, Kanan Jarrus. I’m talking about Hera Syndulla, Captain of the Ghost and eventual Rebel General.
A core member of that entire part of the franchise, her figure should be able to fight side by side with the rest of major heroes, all of which got toys made, including Ahsoka. Plus, in an Easter Egg to Star Wars: Rogue One, Hera and the Ghost take part in the Battle of Scarif where the Rebels steal the Death Star Plans, so she could have easily been incorporated into any playset created surrounding that movie.
Plus again, perhaps as an add on related to this figure we could have finally got a Ghost spaceship vehicle to use during some of those space fights throughout the game. How cool would that have been to see the Falcon and the Ghost battling Tie Fighters in an Asteroid Field.
However, the most important part would have been to give us another female character just to play around with for God’s Sake. I mean my daughter loves playing the Star Wars portions of this game but unlike her brother who has tons of male characters to pick from, she has just 4 in Rey, Leia, Sabine, and Asoaka. Adding even one more female would have taken some steps to give female gamers more choices in terms of characters of their own sex, which could have brought some more gamers into the tent as it were.
1. Spider Gwen
Finally, we get to the number one entry on this list. A character that in some ways takes what I said about the lack of females in the Star Wars line and how this game should have been given a chance to correct that and really drives the point home by showing that there was a segment of the game that was even worse. Yes, I’m talking about the Marvel Universe portion who was represented by a whopping 2 characters out of the nearly 20+ figures.
Yep, if you were a female that wanted to play as a charter of your own sex during any of the Marvel portions of this game, you could have either played as Black Widow or Gamora. That’s it! No Scarlet Witch despite them making a Vision figure, no Wasp despite them making a Ant-Man figure, and these were both characters that made appearances in the MCU Movies so it wasn’t like they didn’t have public exposure. It boggles the mind!
However again, the developers at Avalanche did have an absolutely great figure in the pipes that although wouldn’t have completely cured that gaping difference, would have definitely been well received among the game community as well as given younger female players a real bell ringer in terms of a character they could connect and role play through. Yep, I’m talking about Spider Gwen aka Ghost Spider aka whatever you want to call her as long as you call her one of my daughter Johanna’s favorite comic characters.
Alas like so many on this list, we were given the shaft at the very last minute and Spider Gwen which a lot of reports said should have the very next Marvel hero to be released before the game shut down. And what a cool figure it would have been! They really spent some time developing her as something special with that chimney style stack of bricks for the base, a bit of artistic flair with the design which was a first for this series.
And that’s why she tops my list. She would have been super popular, beefed up the female presence in the game, and would have doubled as a really nice mini statue for your desk. Plus it would have been awesome to do some two player web swinging with the Spider-man figure. Just think of that for a bit…