Toy Story Mania conference call

by: John -
More On: Toy Story Mania
Another Toy Story movie is in the works but that’s not the only thing coming out featuring the lovable characters voiced by Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, and others. The Wii will be privy to a carnival style game based on the characters of the movie as well.

Toy Story Mania
will let you participate in 30 games spread across 5 themes as you experience the carnival setup by the toys in Andy’s room. I had a chance to sit in with Papaya Studio’s Senior Producer, Richard Robledo, Disney Interactive Studios’ Senior Design Producer, Amy Kalson, and Executive Producer Mike Jacobs as they talked about this theme park inspired game.

It was funny how the game was prompted into creation because about 10 people got the idea at the same time. It was really after the theme park ride was released that a game was thought up to be created. It wasn’t because a third movie was coming out, which is why I thought the game was being created as Toy Story Mania has no direct ties to the upcoming movie.

To do research for the game, Papaya Studios actually got to ride the ride a lot and also be in the park after hours. There were also times where they turned on the lights and walked the ride going over the details of the attraction. It helped that the team was based near the park so getting to the ride and doing research was pretty easy for them. Seeing the ride, you can see why some folks thought it would be a good idea to turn it into a console game. If you don’t know anything about the ride, check out the video below.

Many of the original voice actors provided their talents to the game. I was told the actors have a great passion for the Toy Story characters so they were more than happy to participate in helping bring the game to life. Also, Pixar helped with some of the animation so the movie team did lend a hand in helping bring the game out.

So being a Pixar game, the demographic is naturally aimed at younger kids but people of all ages can enjoy the game. In testing, kids as young as three were able to enjoy some of the mini-games in Toy Story Mania and even grandparents were able to sit down and play with their grandkids and enjoy the game.

As mentioned previously, there are 30 games spread across five themes that lets you interactive with Toy Story characters. There’s a Western theme with Woody and Jess, a Space theme with Buzz Lightyear and the little green aliens, an animal theme with Ham and Rex, a Tea Party, and an Army theme with the Sarge and soldiers. So you’ll get to see many if not all of the characters from the movies as you play the game. You start out with 2 games and work your way to unlocking the rest. Like most carnivals, doing well will earn you tickets and you can use these tickets to unlock levels earlier as well as trade them in for prizes.

For the 30 games available, 1/3 are shooting gallery type games while the rest, depending on the theme, take advantage of the motion capabilities of the WiiMote. Papaya Studios looked at making better uses of the motion controls so we’ll see if they did or not when the game is released.

There are actually six 3D levels included so you’ll put on the included 3D glasses and play through them in a whole new way. It’s not the first Wii game that incorporates 3D into it but we’re starting to see more and more games tout 3D and the dev team is interested in using 3D where it fits in future titles as well.

For multiplayer, the game supports both split screen and single screen and it’s really dependent on the type of mini-game being played. If it makes sense to give each person their own screen the game will. There is no online play however as the people at Papaya Studios focused on making a game where everyone can be in the room and have fun with each other.

To accomplish all this, the tech team added many new features to a proprietary engine which they have running at 60 frames per second. They hope this game will capture the fun of the ride as well as add some great new experiences to an IP that’s loved by many.

Toy Story Mania comes out September 15th in the US and will feature about 6 to 10 hours of gameplay.

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