When Disney Infinity shut down, so too did Avalanche Software, the Salt Lake City-based studio that created the popular toys-to-life series of games. But now at least some of those developers have found a new home in the world of augmented reality.
CastAR — an AR platform created by former Valve hardware gurus Rick Johnson and Jeri Ellsworth — has just announced a new game development studio that will be led by former members of the Disney Infinity team. While the specific number of hires hasn’t been revealed, CastAR says that its new Salt Lake studio “will more than double the size” of its internal development team. (The company also has a team at its headquarters in Palo Alto.) The new studio will focus on creating “mixed reality experiences,” though no specific games have been announced yet.
Originally founded in 1995, Avalanche was acquired by Disney a decade later, and made a name for itself with the ambitious Disney Infinity, which combined real-world toys with a family-friendly video game, all while mashing together various fictional Disney worlds. Following the success of Activision’s Skylanders, Disney Infinity first launched in 2013, and was followed by a pair of sequels that introduced characters from the Marvel and Star Wars universes. The studio was shut down on May 10th of this year.
According to CastAR, it was this unique experience of bridging the physical and virtual worlds that made the former Avalanche employees a good fit for the company’s incoming AR platform. “With their experience in bringing massive franchises to life through breakthrough interactive design, the addition of this team is our next bold step in launching a dynamic platform that will bring awe-inspiring mixed reality to households,” CastAR president and COO Steve Parkis said in a release.
CastAR’s glasses-based augmented reality platform is expected to launch some time in 2017.