LOS ANGELES | E3—Although video games based on Disney movies and TV shows often have a "that'll do" feel to them, at this year's E3, Disney showed off some highly polished titles with the goal of turning the shovelware ship around.
The flagship game is "Disney Universe," hitting Wii, PS3 and Xbox this fall. A four-player romp through worlds inspired by Disney films like "Monsters, Inc," the game offers platforming fun for families. The characters are not actual movie legends like Aladdin and Stitch, but instead mischievous gremlins wearing costumes of their Disney favorites. Ever the synergistic marketers, Disney has even reached outside the usual classics for contemporary films like Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland" and "TRON: Legacy."
Disneyland Adventures" was a buzz-worthy game on the show floor, as one of Microsoft's featured titles for their motion-sensing, body-tracking Kinect add-on. Built for kids and based on rides at the Disneyland theme park, the game uses walking, waving, jumping and even hugging gestures.
At E3, the demo version included four Disneyland attractions: Peter Pan's Flight, Big Thunder Mountain, Alice in Wonderland, and Pirates of the Caribbean. The Kinect versions merely use the rides as a jumping-off point for bigger adventure, as seen when the Peter Pan game turns into a battle with Captain Hook. There is also an explorable zone that replicates portions of Main Street and Sleeping Beauty's Castle. In this area, players can walk around, waving to get the attention of animated characters like Cinderella... and then extend their arms to give a virtual hug.
"Kinect Disneyland Adventures" is booked for release this holiday season.
This report is based on products demonstrated at E3 2011. Products may change by time of final release.