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Rapunzel, Rapunzel, pick up your bread? Then join Beauty and the Beast’s Belle and Maleficent to battle baddies with inter-dimensional designs.
Sounds a bit different than the way you remember the story, doesn’t it?
In the digital domain of the Disney Mirrorverse, the golden-tressed heroine of animated fairy-tale fame won’t be the only beloved character showing up in decidedly different fashion. The new team-based, role playing game (RPG) from Disney, Kabam and Netmarble drops your fave stars of those original films into a whole new reality.
The mobile platform project for Apple and Android has been under development at Kabam’s Vancouver studio for almost four years. The game launched June 23 and players can register at disneymirrorverse.com.
Think of it as a trip through the looking glass to the reverse side where a sinister threat known as the Fractured had designs on shattering both worlds.
Players choose and customize their Mirrorverse Guardians to join high-stakes quests through 3D environments loaded with new narratives and real-time action combats. Naturally, the Mirrorverse comes with enough challenges that your Guardians will need some upgrades. From an armored Sulley from Monsters Inc., to that previously mentioned, frying-pan wielding Rapunzel, characters can outfit for the coming demands, evolving as you embark on your adventure.
“It’s incredibly exciting to get this kind of rare opportunity to work hand-in-hand with Disney to build a brand new world for players to explore and engage in,” said Kabam executive producer Mark Raham. “To be sure that those characters and environments are authentic to the originals, while also transforming them into something that fits with Kabam’s reputation for action and RPG character games is something that hasn’t really been done before. We are launching with 40 unique, brand new developed characters you know and love from Disney and Pixar films that have evolved to meet the moment of the far more extreme realities of the Mirrorverse.”
Naturally, there are limits to how extreme the divergent reality of the Mirrorverse is going to get. After all, there are grim and Grimm fairy tales. Even Disney didn’t go all in adapting the dark and grisly original stories to film.
“We did want to stay very authentic to who the characters really are, we worked very closely with Disney to develop their action-ready, divergent selves in a way that naturally suited them,” said senior art director Nicholas Tay. “That meant going back and watching all the films and doing deep dives into who the character was and what motivated them. That way, the gamer could say that it was still their favorite character but a supercool new version of them.”
Every scenario and animation tried to take into account how the characters would react in each unique task and quest to compete in the Mirrorverse while traveling through storylines such as the Ages of Isolation, the Fractured and more. New chapters to the main story quest and side stories will be updated every few months as alliances form among players and the Mirrorverse expands. Various special content contests, missions and competitions will keep things interesting as new Disney and Pixar characters are introduced.
“When you jump in, the first thing players will notice is this is an action game with this immediate pick-up-and-play, push button, swing sword kind of controls that have been around for years,” said Raham. “It has a great feel right out of the case and is a mobile game. Then there is the whole additional level of moving from the story mode starting point into how you evolve, put teams together and tackle the challenges to come later.”
Finally, there is the added component that the source material for the game is so deeply intertwined with so many all over the planet. To want to play as your preferred Pixar character says something about how you want to identify millions of fellow gamers.
“The idea of self-expression is quite important in mobile games and I think people want to be able to reflect something about themselves in their character choices,” said Tay. “You can’t suddenly have Snow White turning ninja or something.”
You also can’t have the Fractured and Stellar magic that exists in the Mirrorverse being confused with that whole magical Multiverse that keeps Dr. Strange so spellbound. Kabam also developed the Marvel Contest of Champions game as well as Transformers Forged to Fight. Both Tay and Raham say the unique introductory story for the Mirrorverse game establishes it as its own very separate divergent reality.
“Marvel certainly has set the precedent for multiverses and many Spider-Men and such, but this is the first time Disney and Pixar have gone into those realms of storytelling devices and worlds, so it had to be just right,” said Raham. “So much of the market research we did was surprising because of how strong diehard fans’ opinions were about what it did and didn’t work in terms of characters and actions, and we listened.”
Spoiler alert: The Pixar lamp isn’t presently one of the Disney Mirrorverse characters. Bummer.