Admittedly, this little puppy has been sitting in the Stitch Kingdom inbox for a long time, but recent activity makes it harder to ignore. You see, back in March, Disney registered a slew of domain names at once, including: disneyimaginationgame.com, disneyimaginationgame.net, disneyimaginationworld.net, disneysimagination.net, disneyworldofimagination.net, imaginationonlinegame.net, disneyimaginationonline.com, disneyimaginationonline.net, disneyimaginationworld.com, disneysimagination.com, disneyworldofimagination.com, imaginationonlinegame.com, disneyimagination.net, disneyimagination.org, disneyimaginationgame.org, disneyimaginationonline.org, disneyimaginationworld.org, disneysimagination.org, disneyworldofimagination.org and imaginationonlinegame.org.
Can you detect a pattern here? The sheer number of domain names registered as well as the common thread should have been enough for us to jump all over it, but alas, it did not. So why do we choose to revisit this months-old topic all the way in July? Not because of what Disney did then, but what they did just the other day. And that was — yes, you guessed it — registered even more domain names. But not just any domain names… international domain names: disneyimaginationonline.at, disneyimaginationonline.ch, disneyimaginationonline.com.ve, disneyimaginationonline.dk, disneyimaginationonline.in, disneyimaginationonline.it, disneyimaginationonline.jp, disneyimaginationonline.pl and disneyimaginationonline.ru.
So apparently this project will ultimately be called Disney Imagination Online, but the real question is just what is it? We know that China already has an online MMO called Disney Fantasy, developed by NetDragon, in which players (or, as the music to Bob Iger’s ears sings out, subscribers) build virtual castles in worlds based on Disney properties. And, of course, there was the free Virtual Magic Kingdom over which many fans still lose sleep at night over losing.
If we were betting folk, and we are, our bets are placed on a future Disney MMO with a free/paid subscription model essentially modeled after Club Penguin, Pixie Hollow, World of Cars, et al.,but with Captain Rockhopper sporting Mickey Mouse ears instead of a pirate hat (and no beard, to conform with the Disney Look).
Gazillion Entertainment, a leading developer, publisher and operator of massively multiplayer online (MMO) games for wide audiences, today unveiled the first glimpse of the eagerly anticipated Super Hero Squad Online. For the first time, players worldwide will have the chance to be their favorite Super Heroes in a living online world. Based on the Super Hero Squad intellectual property that has spawned a wildly popular action figure line and smash-hit animated series, the game draws upon the 5,000-plus iconic heroes and villains in the Marvel Universe. Super Hero Squad Online offers players the chance to team up with friends as they engage in exhilarating combat, show off their decked-out squad in the game’s social spaces, collect thousands of items, and explore interactive environments based on classic and new Marvel worlds.
Developed by Gazillion studio The Amazing Society, Super Hero Squad Online allows gamers to unleash their imagination and lead their handpicked squad of Super Heroes on unforgettable adventures. Players will blast bad guys with Iron Man’s repulsors, slice through waves of robots with Wolverine’s claws and smash villains with Hulk’s huge fists. Master the talents and amazing powers of Spider-Man, Iron Man, War Machine, Invisible Woman and dozens more Marvel heroes. Discover new locations from the hit Super Hero Squad TV show, including the sewers of Villainville and the streets of Super Hero City, while also exploring classic Marvel landmarks such as the Daily Bugle, Baxter Building and Stark Tower.
Super Hero Squad Online also offers a fully customizable headquarters where players can show off their collection of trophies and design their own unique Super Hero hangout. Players can even invite friends over to their headquarters to watch as their squads interact with the environments they’ve created.
Gamers will be able to get their first look at Super Hero Squad Online when the teaser trailer debuts exclusively on GameTrailers TV (on SPIKE) Friday night, May 14th at 12:30am.
Super Hero Squad Online is the first game released under the 10-year exclusive publishing agreement signed between Gazillion and Marvel Entertainment. “Super Hero Squad Online perfectly captures the unique mix of action, humor and customization that make the franchise a massive hit with fans of all ages. The team at The Amazing Society is creating a Super Hero Squad MMO that does justice to this extremely popular IP,” said Ira Rubenstein, Executive Vice President of Marvel’s Digital Media Group. “Gazillion is proving that its capabilities in MMO development, operations and publishing make them the ideal partner to deliver a breakthrough Marvel online experience.”
“Everyone who has wanted to be Silver Surfer, Wolverine, Captain America or any of the amazing Marvel heroes and villains will find the game has something for them,” stated Jason Robar, Vice President and Studio Manager for The Amazing Society.
Jay Minn, Creative Director for Super Hero Squad Online, says: “In Super Hero Squad Online you are not a nameless sidekick! You’ll swing through Super Hero City as Spider-Man or zap the bad guys with Cyclops’ optic blasts in high-voltage missions. Or you can just hang out in a high-energy, immersive world filled with other Marvel fans!”
Additional details on Super Hero Squad Online’s features, gameplay and release date will be announced at a later time. For more information about Super Hero Squad Online and to sign up for future product updates, please visit www.shsonline.com.
Club Penguin and its millions of animated penguin inhabitants are going green. On April 22, 2010, the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, the popular children’s virtual world will launch a special online party and new ways for its players to exercise their passion for making the world a better place.
“Our players constantly ask for ways they can improve the virtual world of Club Penguin and the world at large, and we like to encourage that spirit of global citizenship and giving back,” says Lane Merrifield, co-founder of Club Penguin and executive vice president of Disney Online Studios. “Children today are far more environmentally aware than ever before and they truly want to make a difference. It’s important that their experiences on Club Penguin reflect and reinforce those ideals.”
The Earth Day party will allow the kids who play Club Penguin to work together to make good things happen in the online community, and will include the launch of a permanent recycling depot and community garden, which players will be responsible for maintaining. In addition, players will have the opportunity to help plant and nurture a community tree, which will become a permanent fixture on the virtual island’s snow-covered landscape. In an effort to further promote sustainability and encourage environmentally friendly behavior, Club Penguin will also offer suggestions on things kids can do in the real world.
“We hope by taking an active role in caring for the virtual environment of Club Penguin, where their penguin avatars live, work and play, the kids will realize they have an important role to play, and they’ll take those lessons into their home communities and find ways to make a positive difference in the real world,” says Merrifield.
Club Penguin is available in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese, and is enjoyed by players in more than 190 countries. Word filters and live moderators monitor chat and activity on the site and work to prevent the sharing of inappropriate or personally identifiable information. Club Penguin is free to play, however paying members receive special features such as front-of-the-line access to game features, exclusive parties and opportunities to customize their penguin and igloo.
The 2010 Earth Day party is just one example of Club Penguin’s ongoing efforts to motivate its players to help change the world. A portion of the proceeds from each Club Penguin membership purchase supports organizations working to improve the lives of children and families around the globe. The annual Coins for Change online giving campaign lets players vote on where some of those donations go, including to environmental causes.
Club Penguin also supports kids or schools that want to help a village in one of the world’s poorest regions with a matching gift program, and sponsors a free speaking tour and leadership program to empower elementary school students. For more information on these and other initiatives, visit http://www.clubpenguin.com/global-citizenship/.
Earlier today I had the opportunity to visit Disney Online at the International Toy Fair in New York City and got a preview at Disney’s newest massively multiplayer online (MMO) game, The World of Cars in addition to some of the new and not-yet-released enhancements to Disney Online’s other worlds.
Sharing a lot in common with the Club Penguin model, the World of Cars is completely Adobe Flash-based. This means there are no downloads required aside from the common plug-in that most folks should already have. Although I probably should know better than to be impressed to how the game has been implemented inside the Flash engine, I still am. The game looks very appealing with a great heads-up display (HUD) loaded with information and controls while still leaving plenty of room for the actual gameplay.
As you might imagine, you will assume the role of a car in Radiator Springs. The action in the game takes place after the first movie — Lightning returns to the sleepy town after winning the Piston Cup and has set up shop in the middle of Downtown Radiator Springs. Throughout the game, you’ll encounter all of your favorite characters from the film with all new original dialogue as recorded by the original actors with exception to Owen Wilson (Lightning), Paul Newman (Doc Hudson) and George Carlin (Fillmore), the latter two having passed away prior to the studio work. For those three, Disney has brought in soundalikes who do a really good job at filling in some rather large tires.
Meeting the characters, who are non-player characters (NPCs), meaning they’re automatic and interaction is quite limited, you’ll often find a yellow exclamation point over their heads. This means they want to talk to you and might even have a job for you. Performing jobs for the characters will yield you rewards, often being money and additional jobs.