Just when we thought we had finally gotten over our addiction to the endless hopper mobile game that featured characters like Chicken having to safely make it past traffic and various obstacles, developer Hipster Whale is back at it again. This time, it has teamed up, to bring us new worlds and characters, with a franchise we all know and love: Disney.
Disney Interactive and Hipster Whale announced on Thursday the launch of Disney Crossy Road, the new mobile game that will have users controlling 8-bit figurines from Disney and Pixar franchises across levels with the goal to get further across each time they play.
The game equally combines the look and feel of the titles we all love, while still feeling fresh and unique with lots of new twists and surprises from the magical worlds of Disney and Pixar.
"Most of us have played Crossy Road and love the game. We love what it does, how it brings in all ages, male, female. We always try to strive to do that with our own films, our own franchises, so it was the perfect match," Keith Michaelis, Senior Producer at Disney told Tech Times.
"From our point of view, it was a chance to reboot and solve some of little those problems that happened in Crossy Road because we made it so quickly," Matt Hall, co-founder of Hipster Whale added.
At its launch, Disney Crossy Road features nine different themed worlds from popular films like Inside Out, classics like The Lion King and those dedicated to its theme parks like Haunted Mansion.
Each of the worlds is distinctly its own, complete with its unique look, specific obstacles, vehicles and theme music.
"In each world, we added a different way to play," Hall said. "The laws change depending on what world you go to, so getting a high score on Toy Story is going to be very different from Wreck-It Ralph."
Every world is so different with its own cool surprises that it's hard to ever get bored in Disney Crossy Roads, even after playing the Lion King level (a personal favorite) a million times in a row.
"In the Lion King, we have this really awesome wildebeest stampede that comes. The further you get in the game, the wildebeest stampede gets larger and larger," Michaelis said. "Every time you have a different world, you have to try a different gameplay style to get through that level."
Take, for example, the Toy Story world that takes place in Al's Toy Barn.
"If you remember that scene from the movie, the gum ball machine breaks open and all the balls go out, so that's a different enemy in that world where the balls bounce towards you inside of coming from the side; the world is structured very differently, there's all chattering teeth scattered around as well as larger toys like skateboards, etc. that can get in our way," Hall said. "We change it up a lot for each world."
While the original game had an eagle that came down if you took too long to cross the road, this title features its own versions of the eagle, which vary with each franchise, such as a claw from Toy Story.
There are also other interesting touches, like in the Haunted Mansion level, where you will notice that it starts to get really dark as you're playing, and you have to find the candles throughout the level to bring back the light.
What would be the worlds be without the characters?
"The main difference is Crossy Road was all set in one world, and we had this rule that all the characters were going to play the same," Hall said. "We wanted people to be able to play with their favorite character that they liked — their spirit Crossy Road animal. But with Disney, of course everyone already has their favorite franchises and characters, so this was something we didn't have to worry about. What we did was concentrate early on on really cool figurine representations of some of the most famous characters in the Disney universe."
At its launch, there are 125 figurines across Disney's nine franchises. One-hundred of these characters can be won through the prize machines, and then 25 are secret unlocks. To get to the secret unlocks, the player will have to do things like collect specific items in the worlds, but the player should uncover these ways for themselves.
"There is something for everybody in there. Our hope is that everyone will be able to find that favorite character that they really love and is dear to them over all these decades," Michaelis said.
To decide which characters to include, the team at Disney looked at its most popular ones and top franchises to see what would make the most sense in the game.
These include: Mickey, Goofy, Chief Boho from Zootopia, King Candy from Wreck-It Ralph, Babyhead from Toy Story, Sally Slater from Haunted Mansion, Grub from The Lion King and Joy from Inside Out.
"A few [characters] we held off because we plan on doing really cool things with them later," Travis Marshall, Associate Producer at Disney told Tech Times. "It was really about finding ones that would be different sizes, small ones, medium-sized, large ones, ones that would look the best in the 8-bit style and really just figure out which ones our audiences would be the most excited about as well as more obscure and cooler ones people will be surprised to see."
Of course, some characters were more difficult to create than others. "Zootopia is an example where the characters are widely different in scale, you know, if you saw the movie, so that was a challenge but a fun challenge," Hall revealed.
It was Mickey that was the greatest challenge, since the team at Hipster Whale didn't know how round to make his ears. "It's clearly Mickey, it's clearly Crossy Roads," he added.
"We worked really closely with all our filmmakers and various stakeholders to make sure they were happy with the visuals," Marshall said. "The good news was that most of them all knew Crossy Roads, either played themselves or their kids play it, so they were already familiar with the 8-bit look, so we didn't really have to sell them into that style. It was more of making sure the essence and the feeling of the characters come through in that 8-bit style."
Over time, Disney Crossy Roads will get updates that feature new franchises with new characters, with the possibility of adding extra special effects to those that need a boost.
"We are already looking forward to what we are going to do for the rest of the year, and we got new franchises lined up, old franchises lined up and everything in between," Michaelis said.