When a game is labeled as a "˜movie tie-in', people's immediate response is to assume it's complete garbage that's been rushed to market with minimal effort in order to make a quick buck. The vast majority of tie-in games have proven this belief to be accurate. However, Toy Story 3: The Video Game, made by Avalanche Studios, appears to be a rare exception - a movie tie-in that can stand on its own as a quality game. This is due to unique features that Avalanche have crafted to make the game embody Toy Story's overarching theme of imaginative play, best illustrated by Toy Box mode.
The idea behind the Toy Box was to give players complete freedom to make their own fun, wherever and however they please. Therefore, Avalanche decided a sandbox, open world design was the best way to achieve this freedom. Players have the ability to choose everything from the setting to the inhabitants in their world. The demonstration showed a Woody themed wild west setting, with tiny villagers and/or alien inhabitants. Customization also extends to the layout and style of each building. In short, Toy Box mode is built to be a playground where imagination can thrive.
While Toy Box mode offers a great deal of customization, there are also more structured missions and mini games in the Toy Box. Completing tasks such as rounding up cattle or time trial races will reward players with gold to unlock new toys. Since Toy Story 3 is naturally directed at a younger audience, the game gives out gold in generous portions to ensure there's always something new to experiment with. The missions also skew younger, they're very simple and directed experiences so kids aren't confused. That being said, the point of the Toy Box isn't to be challenging its meant to be fun. If the missions aren't your thing you can climb up the tallest mountain, shrink a pig, and kick it off the top to see how far it goes, or whatever else you want. Toy Box appears to be a well thought out playground that could provide numerous hours of entertainment.
Along with the open world elements, Toy Story 3 has a traditional story mode that follows the plot of the film. Some examples the developers gave were playing as Woody in a train chase scene, and another as Buzz in his own spaceman themed video game inside the game. Avalanche also claim that the team has a very close working relationship with Pixar, which provided them with 3D assets and staff from the film. Pixar wanted the game to have as high standards as any of their films, so attention to detail was crucial in the development process. Close relations with the iconic animators seems to have paid off, as Toy Story 3 looks like what you'd expect from the film.
Based on what has been shown so far, Toy Story 3 appears to be more than your typical movie tie-in game. The unique Toy Box mode and the charming story mode show that Avalanche put a lot of effort into this game. They wanted to capture the imaginations of players, and it seems as though they'll be successful.