One of the things we saw at GDC was a super secret game which was so clandestine we had to go up to a hotel room to see it. A quick elevator ride later and I was sitting on a couch watching the reveal of Infinite Arms, another mobile game which also leans heavily on a real-world toy component. The Infinite Arms ecosystem is by no means first to market when it comes to blending real-world toys and digital games, as in the mobile space both a bunch of Skylanders games, Sick Bricks (Free) and some other franchises I’ve since forgotten have all attempted to enter this particular space. Where Infinite Arms aims to differ is offering up toys which are actually legit action figures instead of just little figurines that either have an RFID chip or a QR code which the game reads.
The way the Infinite Arms ecosystem works is pretty cool. Once everything is available, you’ll buy individual character action figures, which are effectively big beefy robots. These robots all have universal attachment points. Two weapons can be snapped into their backs, while two weapons can be equipped in their hands. The robots themselves connect to your phone via Bluetooth, and the weapon load out you’ve got attached is instantly reflected inside the game. Being used to how other games like this work, with elaborate procedures to scan in your figure into the game, mixing and matching weapons and seeing your dude equip the same stuff in game was really neat.
Once you get settled on your load out, you then compete in battles against other players who similarly have their own robots with the four weapons they’ve chosen. The developers are envisioning a constantly evolving meta game where players are constantly coming up with different strategies involving which weapons they use. Each have different abilities and cool downs, which spice things up considerably as you could be a big beefy robot with ultra-damaging weapons that take forever to reload, a fast-swinging sword wielding guy, or anything in between. They also plan on rapidly releasing new weapons, and have a real cool system planned where you can buy the weapon in-game virtually, then Amazon ships you a physical one for your robot.
If you click on either of the two above figures to see them in a larger size, you’ll see the connectors near the bare fists of the robots. The gatling gun looking thing on their opposite arm can be disconnected, then connected to the empty hand of either of those robots. Here’s what those two dudes look like inside the game then, again you can click for bigger:
All in all, it seems like a really cool idea and certainly a very big step beyond what has been done in the toy world when it comes to linking things together to a digital game. Unfortunately, the App Store is littered with the hastily dug graves of really cool ideas, and I’m just not sure how interested people are going to be in this beyond the (admittedly super neat) tech behind it. I come from this as a different perspective as an adult, but it’s hard to imagine kids getting that invested in totally new robots they’ve never heard of before. Comparatively, if this same tech was used except I was tricking out my Star Wars space ship? Or putting new wheels on my Optimus Prime? Well, then we’d be talkin’. But, I don’t have kids, and have almost no idea what kids are into these days aside from Minecraft, so I could be totally wrong here.
Anyway, for more information on Infinite Arms, head on over to their web site where you can sign up for their mailing list to get updates on the product as it evolves.