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Secretly the best gaming showcase of the year

You’d be excused if last weekend’s D23 Expo slipped off your radar. The biannual Disney Convention isn’t exactly known for big gaming news, and being sandwiched between Gamescom, PAX West, Nintendo Direct, and Sony State of Play while simultaneously airing Ubisoft Forward didn’t help either. But if you haven’t seen the Disney and Marvel Games Showcase, you’re missing out on one of the most exciting reveal streams of the year. Disney may have retired from publishing video games more than six years ago, but now it’s making a big push, partnering with established studios and pairing them with movies and characters that match their strengths and style. Here’s an overview of all the games featured at D23 Expo, along with links to our coverage of each game.

THEGAMER VIDEO OF THE DAY

Tron: identity

The showcase opened with the reveal of Tron: Identity, a visual novel detective game in development at Bithell Games. Best known for games like Subsurface Circular, Volume and Thomas Was Alone, Mike Bithell’s studio is no stranger to thoughtful, emotionally gripping stories about artificial intelligence and futuristic technology. In a post-unveiling interview, Bithell says Tron: Identity is Subsurface Circular has been taken to the next level: “This kind of decision-based and character-driven story stuff just felt like something I wanted to see in a Tron game. “

Tron: Identity will be released next year for PC and console. Watch our full interview with Creative Director Mike Bithell here.

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Disney Island of Illusion

Disney Illusion Island is the next game from Dlala, the studio behind the Battletoads remake. It’s a four-player co-op platformer starring Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and Donald Duck, coming exclusively to Switch next year. Unlike similar 2D platformers like New Super Mario Bros. and Rayman Legends, Illusion Island is not level-based. Rather, it offers a continuous map to explore with collectable upgrades that give access to new zones. Dlala was actually developing another Mickey Mouse game with Disney before closing its publishing arm in 2016, but toward the end of Battletoads development, the studio got another opportunity to work with the mouse. Dlala CEO AJ Grand-Scrutton says the development team is filled with lifelong Mickey fans, and he even keeps his personal copy of Castle of Illusion on his desk.

Disney Illusion Island is a Switch exclusive and couch co-op only. Watch our full interview with AJ Grand-Scrutton, CEO of Dlala.

Wonderland of Heroes

When Pokémon Go creator Niantic acquired Seismic Games, the studio behind Marvel Strike Force, the two teams set out to combine their expertise and create a location-based Go-like set in the Marvel Universe. World of heroes – create your own superhero and patrol your real neighborhood alongside the Avengers. Executive producer Phil Hong tells me that World of Heroes will have many parallels to Pokemon Go, but it will go much deeper into character customization and the player’s personality. He also says that “location awareness” is a key feature for WoH, which means integrating real-world locations with missions. An example he shares is stopping a bank robbery in a real bank.

Marvel World of Heroes doesn’t have a release date yet, but EP Phil Hong provided plenty of insight in our D23 Expo interview.

Marvel’s Midnight Sun

After several delays, XCOM creators Firaxis finally announced the release date for Marvel’s Midnight Suns at D23 Expo. The massive 60+ hour tactical RPG comes to PC and console on December 2nd, just in time to swallow up everyone’s winter break. Creative director Jake Solomon and producer Garth DeAngelis say a single playthrough of Midnight Suns won’t be enough to see everything it has to offer. In fact, the creators say that despite having a roster of 13 Marvel heroes, including Blade, Ghost Rider, and Spider-Man, you can only get level two or three of them by the end of the campaign. This is the greatest game Firaxis has ever made. Congratulations, tactical nerds.

Here’s our full interview with Midnight Suns’ Jake Solomon and Garth DeAngelis.

Marvel snap

The Marvel Digital CCG has been in closed beta for the past four months, but the official release date was finally revealed at D23 Expo. You can get your hands on Marvel Snap on October 18 for PC and mobile, and it’s completely free to play. Marvel Snap differs from most other trading card games in a number of ways. Decks only contain 12 cards, matches only last two minutes, and there are no packs to open. Studio head and former Hearthstone director Ben Brode says they wanted to create a game that was easy to learn and accessible, yet offered infinite depth for players. Brode also addressed the dust surrounding Nexus Events, a failed attempt to add loot boxes to the game earlier this year. Nexus Events was quickly removed from the game entirely after significant player backlash, and according to Brode, everyone on the team agreed that the players were right and the monetization model didn’t sit well with Snap. That kind of prompt response is exceedingly rare, and the studio’s ability to respond quickly bodes well for the future of Marvel Snap.

Watch our full interview with Marvel Snap’s Ben Brode ahead of the October 18 global launch.

Disney Lorcana

The upcoming Disney Lorcana trading card game, while not featured in the Disney and Marvel Games Showcase, made its debut at D23 Expo with the reveal of the first seven cards that will be part of the debut set, The First Chapter, when it releases next fall appears. Disney Lorcana features classic and reimagined characters from all Disney animation eras, but is limited to films and characters created by actual Walt Disney Animation Studios — so no Pixar, Marvel, or Star Wars, at least for now. The publisher behind Lorcana, Ravensburger, only sold 900 Collector’s Sets at the convention, with each card sporting an exclusive 1st Edition and D23 stamp.

To learn more about Disney Lorcana, watch our interview with brand manager and co-designer Ryan Miller, who has decades of experience working on trading card games.

The most mysterious revelation at the presentation was the as-yet-untitled team game between Captain America and Black Panther, which is currently being developed at the recently formed studio Skydance New Media. Directed by Uncharted’s Amy Hennig, the game is set during World War II and features four playable characters including Howling Commando Gabriel Jones and Wakandan Queen Nanli. The game is still in early development, but Hennig told attendees in a stage interview that those who’ve played her previous games will have a good idea of ​​what kind of experience to expect.

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