Every year, millions of tourists from all over the world visit Disney theme parks to see their favorite characters and enjoy the aesthetics and attractions that allow them to relive their favorite movies. The magic and exhilaration of entering a Disney-infused world is unparalleled — a kid rite of passage and an opportunity for adults to relive their youth.
With its recently announced free-to-play game Disney Dreamlight Valley, Gameloft hopes to recreate that sensation in the gaming industry. The life-simulation adventure game allows you to construct your own avatar and environment, where you’ll interact with iconic characters and discover tributes to Disney and Pixar masterpieces in the items and structures around you. We recently watched a Dreamlight Valley demo and spoke with the guys behind it, and it has a lot of promise. Here’s everything you need to know about the experience, which will be available for all major consoles, PC, and Mac sometime in 2023.
It’s divided into two parts: an adventure game and a life simulator.
Consider Disney Dreamlight to be a hybrid experience. You have the primary story path, where you learn why the world went black and its residents lost their memories. Every target you fulfill gives you a picture to help you piece together what happened. This involves figuring out why you’ve been chosen to transform this world from a bleak wasteland into a thriving landscape.
“We have that big overarching meta-narrative where the player discovers their purpose and saves the valley,” says Claire Llewellyn, senior product marketing manager. “They also have a storyline that revolves around characters forming friendships with one another for the story cycles. Third, they have the entire realm story arcs to explore — the adventure aspect that they’re on.”
While immersed in the main tale, you may anticipate it to play like an adventure game, with mysteries and puzzles to solve. It was compared to LucasArts titles such as Monkey Island and Indiana Jones by Gameloft. According to what we observed, there are several portals to the Disney and Pixar worlds, and you’ll have missions to do within these to restore characters’ memories and bring them back into the world. For example, in order to fix Wall-E, we had to find certain hidden things and move trash mounds. We not only unlocked fresh tale clues as a result of this but Wall-E was also reintroduced into our world as a character living their own life in it.
The game also has a life simulation component. Imagine a hybrid of The Sims with Stardew Valley or Harvest Moon. You are actively cleaning up the earth and unlocking new biomes, such as a meadow and a beach, which will advance the main story. According to Gameloft, unlocking all of the game’s regions will take between 40 and 60 hours.
Furthermore, by designating it as your location, you are placing your own stamp on it. You have your own avatar that you may customize, as well as a house that you can decorate. Harvesting crops, mining minerals, fishing, taming animals, and even designing your own outfits are all activities available to you in the world. Cooking and crafting recipes abound, so you’re constantly working on something new to offer as gifts or use to beautify the world.
Every Disney character has its own story arc.
Gameloft got the idea for the game by asking its team, “What would it mean to live next door to Disney characters?” Aside from the main tale, the team created individual stories for a slew of well-known personalities who would casually stroll through your environment as you progress through the main story. Speaking with characters on a daily basis should yield new dialogue, and they all have their own A.I. routines and behaviors. Is there a bonus? Gameloft is also collaborating with Disney’s voice team to ensure that the voiced dialogue is authentic to the characters.
Inspired by role-playing games, each character has a friendship level to demonstrate their bond and advance in their particular narratives. In our demo, Goofy requested assistance in locating his misplaced fishing gear, a tribute to the character’s fondness for the sport. Our bond with the anthropomorphic dog improved once we found it in the world.
Every new level of friendship you achieve with a character grants you benefits such as new objects or decorations. Giving characters gifts might help you establish your friendship faster, so crafting objects or preparing food for them can be beneficial — just bear in mind that everyone has different likes and dislikes. You unlock more of the character’s unique tale as you progress through the friendship ranks.
There is a plethora of customization available.
A big part of the experience is definitely expressing yourself and leaving your mark on the world. You’re constantly changing the landscape, transforming it from a bleak wasteland to a bustling metropolis. The introduction of numerous Disney and Pixar characters into your environment is a highlight, but so are the new things you may acquire and manufacture that reflect the Disney spirit.
The game currently contains 1,000 decorative elements, allowing you to design everything from a Monsters Inc-themed living room to a Little Mermaid-themed bathroom. Developing your own originality with your attire is a part of creating your own avatar. Gameloft wants users to dress up as Disney enthusiasts, just like you see people do at theme parks. You can create or buy your own clothes, focusing on unusual hats, masks, spectacles, and other accessories. We saw everything from a cold Buzz Lightyear jacket to Elsa’s iconic blue Frozen gown in our presentation.
A photo mode allows you to share your entertaining creations and experiences with others, but the game is still under development, so it will be interesting to see if Gameloft introduces a feature that allows you to visit other friends’ worlds and download their ideas.
“We have numerous plans for multiplayer involvement, but we won’t have this kind of interaction during the Early Access launch,” explains game manager Manea Castet.
Monetization is still in flux, but let’s talk about cosmetics first.
This is always the burning question with any free-to-play game, and it’s one Gameloft is still finding out. The team, on the other hand, was adamant that microtransactions would be more focused on cosmetics.
“We made sure that the revenue part of the game was established with our users during Early Access to ensure that they liked it,” Castet explains. “The strategy is now to ensure that it is all about customization. We’ll have a mechanism in place to unlock new clothing and decorations, which you may speed up with actual money if you wish. There is no option to invest real money to speed up your gameplay, progress, or unlock a new section.”
Throughout the game, you will acquire currency by doing various activities in the environment and completing certain milestones, but you will not be able to unlock it with real money. This currency can then be used on things like expanding inventory space and purchasing new decorations.
Early Access Is Aiding in the Development of the Game
With all of Disney’s worlds and characters at its disposal, Gameloft has plenty of content to pull from and believes the game will have a long tail. Early Access will only be the beginning of what’s to come.
“We’re going to have four doors [to Disney and Pixar realms] unlocked during Early Access,” Llewellyn confirms. “We’ll be providing free access to additional doors for players. There’s a lot more on the way, as well as a lot more Disney and Pixar IP that we’ll be introducing in the next months and years.”