Avalanche Software has been working with the game based on the coming film Toy Story 3 since 2007, and has worked closely together with Pixar ever since. Avalanche's John Warner tells an assembly of games journalists, that has been flown in to London, that they offered Pixar to either do a linear game or a gigantic playground - Pixar loved both ideas. "The result is two game modes," Warner says. "Story Mode and Toy Box Mode."
While the Story Mode includes some rather hectic moments, including an Uncharted 2-like sequence on a train, the Toy Box Mode features an open world where the player can freely play around with Andy's toys in a big western-inspired town where the pig Ham acts like the mayor and gives out different missions. The more missions you finish, the more new buildings are added to the town.
"We've put a lot of focus on making our toy box as free as possible," Warner says. "An open world inspires the player to explore the many parts of the game on his or her own, if you prefer to dive into the missions straight away or taking it slowly and one step at a time. The town keeps growing even if the player doesn't add to the development. You can add more houses, hairdressers, banks and toy stores - just to name a few - that then will add to the population of the city."
You can change the buildings according to your own tastes, and paint walls and roofs and add new features to them. The graphical style of the game is delightfully over the top, and really captures the look and feel of the films, and it's easy to see that the developers have been working closely with Pixar.
I get to try out rounding up some cows, something that according to Warner wasn't planned to be a mission on its own from the start. "The idea came from an 11-year old tester, that thought it was a lot of fun and did for a whole hour. So why not make a mission out of it? It's been fantastic to see how the many testers found their own favorite activity." The game is friendly for children, since that's the main demographic, but Warner points out that a lot has been done to keep the older fans of the Pixar movies interested as well.
While it's hard to draw any conclusions from the brief play session I had with the game, there is at least potential here for a good game. Hopefully it won't end up as your typical licenced game when it is released later this year.
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