Disney Infinity's Toy Box mode lets users create many varied environments, including those heavily inspired by unrelated shooters.
Disney has always been a colossal media giant, even before it added Han Solo and Captain America to its repertoire. These many, varied properties are what allow games like Disney Infinity, the crossover based on Disney's licensed properties, to become a reality without extensive cross-company legal agreements. Still, Disney doesn't own everything pop culture related (at least not yet). What happens if its creators want to design something inspired by, say, Irrational's BioShock Infinite? The answer: Make it anyway as a less-than-subtle homage. At least that's how Disney Infinity is proceeding with "Toy Columbia", a recently revealed toy box environment eerily similar to Infinite's floating vistas, even if the racism and civil strife are noticeably toned-down.
Toy Columbia is one of five new worlds that Avalanche Studios created to highlight Disney Infinity's Toy Box mode. Players can use Infinity's objects and resources to craft a variety of unique environments, a feature that will eventually extend into user-made downloadable content. "This toy box was created using existing and available Toy Box components," Disney Interactive director of communications Brian Nelson explained. "It's meant to resemble an environment our community might recognize, and it's part of our strategy to push out new, and sometimes surprising, Disney Infinity content every Thursday. We've already made more than a dozen new toy boxes available for players, including a recreation of Disneyland, and we plan to push new worlds every Thursday. Later this month we will also begin calling for user submissions, and the best entries will be made available for all connected players."
Seeing homages like this isn't entirely surprising; every time a videogame offers custom creation tools, one of the first things you see are faithfully recreated levels from other games. That said, it's pretty surprising for a major developer to be this upfront about a crossover without slapping BioShock Infinite's name on the title. Apparently Disney Infinity doesn't just encourage players to make what they want, it also shows them how to get around copyright: With a distinct lack of trademarked material and a knowing wink to the audience.