Disney Infinity is a 2013 video game made by Disney Interactive. It is an action platformer-ish game that was inspired by the Toy Story 3 videogame's Toy Box mode. Taking a page from Skylanders, the game uses figures of Disney characters to unlock content. The idea is that players are literally playing with virtual toys of Disney characters, and while certain characters can enter themed "Play Sets" based on the movies they come from, the Toy Box mode allows players to take their toys and play any way they want thanks to a deep Level Editor.Many Disney characters, from Jack Skellington to Wreck-It Ralph and various others from Pixar, Disney Animated Canon, Live-Action Disney movies, non-canon Disney animated movies, Disney television series, and possibly more kinds of media, are in Infinity, and more will follow.A 2.0 Edition has been announced for a Fall 2014 release, with a focus on Marvel Universe properties.
(series with accompanying Play Sets are marked with an asterisk)
Art Shift: All characters are modified from their original versions to fit a unified Infinity art style. Justified as they're not the actual characters, they're toys of the actual characters.
Ascended Extra: In Monsters University, Fear Tech doesn't have much of a presence. Aside from a few scenes and a moment with Archie the Scare Pig, Fear Tech's mascot, the movie focuses more on Mike and Sulley putting Oozma Kappa into shape for the Scare Games. In Disney Infinity, however, students of Fear Tech go out of their way to prank the students of Monsters University and making their lives miserable.
Big Bad: Every play set except Monsters University seems to have one, and they're frequently available as player characters. This doesn't change the storyline, though, so you can play as Syndrome and battle NPC Syndrome's forces or play as Davy Jones and fight your NPC doppleganger's crew.
2.0's addition of Marvel heroes brings the opportunity for Nick Fury and Frozone, though as things stand now it's averted since Frozone is absent from the Incredibles content, and even if he was Nick Fury wouldn't be able to enter the Play Set. There's also potential, if and when Star Wars is included, for Mace Windu to join in as well.
Family-Friendly Firearms: Especially noticeable in The Lone Ranger content, where the guns are modified to have different sound effects and orange caps on their muzzles to resemble cap guns rather than real ones. Justified as all the characters and firearms are toys.
Which is weird since the Pirates characters' special ability is a regular flintlock pistol that shoots real bullets.
Freeze-Frame Bonus: Stitch, Merida, and Maleficent appear in the 2.0 trailer as Captain America's shield bounces around; as teases for their own inclusion in the game.
Furry Confusion: In one of the trailers, Mater tries to strike up a conversation with a non-anthropomorphic vehicle.
Gameplay Roulette: Each Play Set focuses on a different game genre; for instance The Incredibles is primarily a beat-em-up while Cars focuses on racing. Monsters University is a third-person stealth shooter, and Pirates is an exploration game with ship-to-ship combat.
Milestone Celebration: An interview noted that Jack Skellington's inclusion was in honor of the 20th anniversary of Nightmare Before Christmas.
Mooks: They seem to differ between different worlds, as they should. Davy Jones' crew members for Pirates of the Caribbean, Monsters from a rival university for Monsters University, Syndrome's robots for The Incredibles, Emperor Zurg's drones for Toy Story, members of the Cavendish Gang for The Lone Ranger, Frost Giants for The Avengers, and symbiotes for Spider-Man.
Part of the Pirates Play Set is modeled after the Disneyland ride.
Mater's song in the "Unexpected Pairings" trailer seems to be one to Heavy Metal Mater.
At the end of the tutorial, Mickey throws you above the castle. The way the castle pans across the the sky and castle after that is reminiscent of the current Disney movie logo, complete with the word "Disney" appearing at the end.
In Aladdin and Jasmine's trailer, the two share a moment together, only for Stitch to fly by on a Recognizer and ruin the moment. This is similar to the trailers for Lilo & Stitch where Stitch would hijack into a scene from a previous Disney animated film.
Pinball Projectile: The Lone Ranger's six-shooter can fire bullets that ricochet off of metal objects. Tonto's tomahawk axe also works like this.
Product Placement: The games tend to have a share of its characters and Play Sets come from movies released the same year. In the original game, it was Monsters U, The Lone Ranger, and Frozen. For 2.0, it's Maleficent and Guardians of the Galaxyand a leak reveals Big Hero 6 as well.
Required Party Member: "Play Set" levels can only be played with characters from that specific world - for instance, Mr. Incredible can't be used in a Pirates Play Set, and pirates in turn can't enter Monsters University. The Marvel Play Sets in 2.0 can allow a few characters to be exchanged between them, though; for instance, Nick Fury is a Spider-Man toy but can cross into The Avengers while the Guardians Play Set allows fellow sci-fi heroes Iron Man and Nova.
Revenue Enhancing Devices: In addition to character figures and Play Sets, Disney is also releasing "Power Discs" in two varieties: round ones provide Status Buffs and gear for playable characters and hexagonal ones add Toy Box customization options. The discs are even packaged in random assortments like trading cards.
There are also translucent-white "Crystal" variant figures with boosted EXP gain and abilities.
Rewarding Vandalism: Destroying objects in the game allows you to get sparks to get experience for your character and the coins to buy more toys.
Wolverine Publicity: Out of nine decades of Disney history, the majority of franchises represented by Play Sets and figures are ones that have had a movie within the last three years! The only major exception is The Incredibles (which is apparently still popular with kids), and even that's less than ten years old. Aside from that, the only other figures are Jack Skellington and Mickey Mouse. 2.0 appears to continue the trend, as the only confirmed characters outside the three-year range are Stitch (12 years old), Aladdin, Jasmine, (22 years) and Donald Duck (80 years).
On a more specific note, the Toy Story Play Set is a Science Fiction world themed after Ensemble Darkhorse Buzz Lightyear. Justified in this case, as the Toy Box mode already takes care of the movie's "living toys" concept, and Woody and Jessie's home genre of The Western is covered by the Lone Ranger Play Set.
The second game features the Marvel Universe, which became a hot property after the release of The Avengers a few years before; with most of the focus on the Avengers themselves plus a tease of one of their other AAA heroes, Spider-Man (ironically, the trope namer himself is absent so far). Guardians was also teased with the comics' Ensemble Darkhorses Rocket Raccoon and Groot.
Your Size May Vary: Part of the reason the toy justification is used is because if they use the "real" characters, they'd be out of scale (imagine action figure Buzz Lightyear next to full-size car Lightning McQueen). This is especially noticeable with Tinkerbell, as here she's sized the same as any other human(oid) while every other appearance of hers emphasizes just how tiny she is.