Disney Interactive Studios has announced plans to release “Toy Story Mania!” this fall for the Nintendo Wii console.
Although many aspects of the game are still in the works, a demo version of the Wii game was premiered recently and will be showcased in June’s E3 Expo, an annual gathering for computer and video gamers.
“From the success of the ride, Disney felt that the Wii was a good fit to bring the ride home,” Senior Show Producer Richard Robledo said.
The game was produced by the Irvine-based company Papaya Studios. Because of the company’s close proximity to the theme park, game designers got to spend time understanding the game.
The toss in space game is show producer Robledo’s favorite. “Especially when you’re playing with a friend, it’s a good competitive one. You can kind of steal each others points,” he admits.
“We’ve been working a lot with the WDI group, learning what they went through and how they built their story. In this game, we’re hoping to expand that story so you get a little more insight into Andy’s room and the toys and how they’re setting up the different games,” Senior Show Producer Linda Jo said.
Toy Story Mania! for Wii is very similar to the Toy Story Mania attraction, which opened last summer in Disney’s California Adventure and at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida.
The game version includes the five carnival galleries found in the ride, such as balloon pops, plate tosses and darts. In addition, game developers came up with new and original galleries along with a series of mini games, for a total of 30 different games.
“Half of this game is pretty much shooting galleries, which is similar to the ride,” Jo said. ”We don’t exactly copy it, because we want to make sure that the toys are constantly changing things, and then we expand on that – that’s where we get, like, the block hit, a hammer game, and all sorts of games that you’d find at a carnival.”
Other new elements of the Wii version include a fishing game and a butterfly-catching game hosted by Bo Peep.
“We just kind of imagined when Andy’s away, what type of games would the toys build that would be fun to play,” Jo explained. “The audience is the toy now.”
Because the characters from the movie are a focal point of the game, the original voice actors from the movie are used in the game as well (Although the voice of Woody, originally played by Tom Hanks, is instead played by Hanks’ brother James).
In developing the game, designers wanted to make use of the variety of functions that the Wiimote can perform.
“It’s not always pointing and shooting. We want to expand off of that. You’re skeeball-ing, you’re throwing, you’re fishing,” Robledo said.
Robledo challenges some experienced gamers to a game of Toy Story Mania.
While working with Imagineers, Papaya game designers noticed the emphasis on the attraction’s use of layered targets.
“It’s great, because sometimes when you’re playing by yourself you might not see all the good things that are in one level,” Roledo said. ”When you’re playing together — even though you’re trying to outscore each other – you’re going to see new things that you couldn’t score with by yourself. They helped us understand the teamwork.”
The only aspect of the attraction noticeably missing in the Wii version of the game is one of those pesky spring-action shooters, notable for their ability to build the riders’ arm muscles — or to just make them really tired.
While some games use the Toy Story Mania attractions concept of point and shoot, other games make use of the Wiimote features, such as this skeeball game.
Jo: “Just keep testing out the different targets in there. The targets aren’t just, well, the targets. There’s a progression to them; you keep finding things to unlock and find out what leads to another surprise or bonus.”
Robledo: “On block hit, you’ll notice in the background the parachutes. At one point, a crate is going to be falling. If you hit that crate, you get more balls, which in turn will give you more points, because you have more blocks to hit.”
Toy Story Mania! will be released in stores this fall and will retail for $49.99.
D23 also has some information on the Toy Story Mania! Wii game at this link.