Toys and video games have gone hand in hand for years with little plastic representations of video game characters being sold on the shelves of specialty stores and toy departments, but it was really only until recently with the popularity of games like Skylanders, Disney Infinity, Playmotion and now Lego Dimensions that the two have truly become one. The “toys-to-life” genre of games has made it such that toys that once could only be played with in the real world could now be transported into a video game and enjoyed in a completely different way. In 2014 characters from Marvel’s roster joined this booming genre in Disney Infinity and now thanks to Lego Dimensions, DC is getting in on the action too. Thanks to these games video game stores and sections are starting to look more and more like toy stores, and this isn’t expected to stop any time soon. Early 2016 already has plenty new offerings to both Disney Infinity and Lego Dimensions that are fighting for your money and shelf space, especially if you’re a fan of comic book characters. What characters can you look forward to playing with and displaying? I’m glad you asked…
Last year’s Disney Infinity was all about Marvel, but the super heroes of the Marvel Universe have taken a back seat to the heroes and villains of a galaxy far, far away in the third iteration of the franchise. Things are expected to swing slightly back in Marvel’s favour in 2016 with the release of the Marvel Battlegrounds play set for Disney Infinity 3.0 that will come with a brand new Captain America figure that resembles the character’s new look in last year’s Avengers: Age of Ultron and this year’s Captain America: Civil War.
Right now this is the third Marvel figure unveiled for 3.0, the first two being Ultron and Hulkbuster Iron Man that came out last November, but I would expect some more surprises from the folks at Avalanche and Disney Interactive in the coming months. Play sets always come with two figures, and right now we only know about one for Marvel Battlegrounds. Could it be that we’ll see yet another Iron Man with Civil War around the corner? Traditionally play sets have come with a male and female figure, so perhaps we’ll see characters like Captain Marvel and Wasp who were quest givers in 2.0, maybe even the legacy character, Ms. Marvel.
The character collection screen in Disney Infinity 3.0’s menu also hints at an alien costume Spider-Man variant that was previously only available for those who purchased the PS Vita version of 2.0 when it released quietly in May of last year. Hulk, who was also a pre-order exclusive, made his way to shelves as a solo purchase, as to will Boba Fett at an undetermined time this year. Given this trend, one would expect that hopefully a second Spider-Man will swing into 3.0 at some point. Another character who surprisingly hasn’t shown up yet is Ant-Man. Disney Interactive has done a good job of releasing figures along with most major Disney releases this time around, with Spot and a slew of power discs arriving around the same time The Good Dinosaur came out in theatres last November and Nick and Judy coming in March alongside the release of Zootopia. With that trend, it’s baffling that Disney has not released a figure based on one of last year’s surprise hits and only other Marvel film outside of Age of Ultron. A cryptic teaser was released on the official Disney Infinity Twitter account that strongly hinted Ant-Man would be coming at some point, and with the small hero set to return alongside other Avengers in Civil War and a new Marvel play set on the way, I can’t think of a better time for him to make his Disney Infinity debut.
Lego Dimensions publisher WB Games spared no expense when it came to franchise selection for their debut entry in the toys-to-life game: The starter pack alone has characters from Lord of the Rings, The Lego Movie and of course, DC Comics with properties like Back to the Future, Doctor Who and Ghostbusters among others sold separately. Even with numerous franchises to pick and choose from, the developers at TT Games are still very much committed to making DC a huge part of Dimensions. Both Cyborg and Wonder Woman are already available on store shelves to add to your collection and 2016 will see four new packs that will bring five new DC characters, starting as early as this month.
On January 19th a Team Pack will be made available that includes the clown prince of crime, the Joker, and his main hench wench, Harley Quinn, each with their own unique vehicle to assemble.
Around the time when Batman V. Superman hype reaches a fever pitch in March, you’ll also be able to bring home a Superman Fun Pack complete with the Man of Steel and a hover pod vehicle on the fiftenth of that month.
Though they will be sold apart, unlike Joker and Harley, Aquaman and an aqua hovercraft will also arrive the same day as Superman on March 15th.
The final DC character Fun Pack that we know of at this time will arrive on May 10th and will include Bane and his drill driver vehicle from the Lego Batman games.
The folks behind Lego Dimensions have been way more forthcoming with their plans as opposed to their competitors, providing a release schedule five months into 2016, however it’s what not has been said that’s equally exciting. Disney has been drawing upon their extensive roster of characters from their history along with characters from the Marvel and Star Wars respective universes. Warner Bros. has a long history of successful franchises under their belt, including Harry Potter that has yet to be touched even though it has a history in the Lego series of games, but TT Games have been pulling instead from Universal, BBC, Sony and even Valve with the Portal franchise. As Marvel has proven with Lego Marvel Super Heroes and the forthcoming Lego Marvel’s the Avengers, they’re not opposed to lending their characters to WB Games so does that mean that Marvel characters are fair game? No Spider-Men or women will be featured in Lego Marvel’s The Avengers, so could that mean they’re being held out for Dimensions? Lego has also produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sets and DC just started a Batman/TMNT crossover series so why not have the heroes in a half-shell team up with Batman in Dimensions?