Avalanche Software has had an interesting history. The once-Disney subsidiary burst onto the scene with the ambitious and critically-acclaimed Toy Story 3 video game, which was a great example of how a game based on a property could still be inventive and immensely entertaining. Avalanche followed up that effort up with the Cars 2 video game, another fun and solid effort that went beyond what we see from many property-based games. However, the company knew it had something special with the Toy Story game and expanded the game’s Toy Box mode into a popular game you may have heard of – Disney Infinity. Avalanche was recently shut down, so we did not expect today’s announcement that the developer is up and running again, and working on the next Pixar video game.
After Disney announced the discontinuation of the Disney Infinity franchise, Avalanche closed down. Today, though, an unexpected announcement was made by Warner Brothers that it has acquired Avalanche (via IGN). More exciting is that Avalanche is already hard at work on a Cars 3 video game. After the sudden end of the Disney Infinity series, Disney announced that it would no longer develop video games in-house – rather, it would license its properties so that other developers (not owned by Disney) could create video games based on Disney-owned characters. The Cars 3 game is one such example of Disney’s current strategy. It is ironic that Avalanche is back at the wheel (had to go there) and managing Pixar’s games even after being sold by Disney. It certainly makes sense, though, given the studio’s skill set and history. It will be interesting to see where it takes the new game and whether it will have any echoes of its previous efforts.
On another note, this will be the first time since Brave that a Pixar film has received a standalone video game adaptation for home consoles. Monsters University, Inside Out, The Good Dinosaur, and Finding Dory were all combined into the various Disney Infinity games. There were pros and cons in being a part of the Disney Infinity platform – perhaps making standalone games for Pixar films once more will allow them to be more well-rounded. There is no release date that has been announced yet for the Cars 3 game, but given the feature film’s summer release date, the game should hit stores around that timeframe.
Below is the press release of today’s announcement:
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment today announced that it will develop and publish the Cars 3 videogame, scheduled for 2017, based on the upcoming Disney•Pixar film. The game will be developed by Avalanche Software, which has re-opened under Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and will be led by John Blackburn. Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has also obtained rights to the Octane engine technology, previously developed by Avalanche Software, which will be used to develop the Cars 3 title.
“It is a tremendous pleasure to welcome Avalanche Software into our development stable, and we look forward to working with our new team, Pixar Animation Studios, and DCPI to create Cars 3 based on the upcoming film and hugely popular franchise,” said David Haddad, President, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. “The Avalanche talent and technology are a great addition to our group of outstanding developers, and we are excited for this Cars 3 game as well as all of the future games the team will create under John’s leadership.”“Disney•Pixar’s Cars is one of the world’s most beloved and recognized franchises, and we’re thrilled to be taking the story further and faster than ever before through a new console experience based on the upcoming, action-packed Cars 3,” said Kyle Laughlin, Senior Vice President, Games, Apps & Labs, Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media. “We are excited to once again be working with the Avalanche team, who have a deep understanding of the Disney•Pixar DNA, and a history of translating our stories into great gaming experiences.”
The Disney•Pixar Cars franchise has generated more than $1 billion at the global box office, and has a strong track record with family gamers, selling millions of units across multiple Cars titles. This includes Cars 2: The Video Game, which was also developed by Avalanche Software and sold several million copies in 2011. Cars 3 is the latest kids and family gaming collaboration between the companies, which have previously produced Lego titles for many of the top franchises from The Walt Disney Company.