For those of you who missed it here is a recap of the SOTMK portion of the Disney Parks Blog live chat with Imagineer Jonathan Ackley. There were a few exciting tidbits of info, however they certainly didn’t live up to the “you’ll have access like never before” hype that was advertised. Nonetheless we got a sneak peek at some merch that will be released late in 2012. At the very bottom of the transcript there’s a blurb with my opinion on today’s chat. Enjoy!
Jenn Fickley-Baker: Now let me introduce Imagineer Jonathan Ackley. Thanks so much for being here!
Jonathan: Hi, I’m Jonathan Ackley, senior director & interactive show producer for Walt Disney Imagineering, and I’ve been creative director on Kim Possible and Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, and the new Agent P World Showcase Adventure.
Jenn Fickley-Baker: Jenn: Our readers are very excited, so let’s kick it off with our first question..”
Jenn Fickley-Baker: From the blog post: Chadwick asks “How did you decide which “powers” to give certain characters?”
Jonathan: When Merlin was coming up with the spell cards, he used Disney heros and villains as inspiration. By looking at the characters and finding what magical powers or talents they already had, those powers suggested spell ideas to Merlin who put them in our spell book.
Jenn Fickley-Baker: Also from the blog: Joyce asks “The SOMK cards seem to have a lot of detail too them. Is there any significance to the patterns/symbols that I might be missing?”
Jonathan: Yes, there’s a lot of significance to the detail on the cards. The spell type – “gross,” “charming,” etc. – refers to a type of spell that a particular villain might be susceptible to. For example, if you cast a “gross” spell on Cruella, on her it will be doubly as effective than other characters. That’s very important to know in medium and hard levels.
Comment From Guest How is working on an interactive game like Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom different than working on a ride?
Jonathan: In a ride as a designer, you control the entire guest experience – the visuals, the audio, in an interactive attraction, it’s more collaborative. The guest’s enjoyment of the experience depends on their desire to play, learn and become the character in the story.
Comment From DisneyDayByDay How many spell cards can you hold up? I’ve tried a few before but it seems to only grab one of them.
Jonathan: If you’re playing as a single player, it’s limited to two – it’s limited by the number of people in your party. Depending on the size of our party, you can cast up to six spells at once.
Comment From Terry Do you find yourself waking up at 3am with an idea??!
Jonathan: I actually usually get my ideas during work hours, I do wake up at 3 a.m. Trying to figure out how I’m going to implement the idea.
Comment From Keith C. will SOMK ever be featured in Tomorrowland or New Fantasyland?
Jonathan: We’re always looking at our options, but nothing planned at this point.
Comment From Eric When will the medium and hard levels be open again?
Jonathan: We’re currently doing a lot of investigation into how to run medium and hard levels. we don’t have any specific date. We’re continuing to test those features.
Jenn Fickley-Baker: From the blog: Heather asks “What do you find most interesting/challenging about taking a part of the Disney Parks ‘virtual’?”
Jonathan: The challenge and the fun is identifying new technology and finding ways to combine it with traditional Disney storytelling. It really gives the guest a new view into things they never saw before in our parks. You direct them to areas they may haven’t seen. We’ve been able to bring back characters from movies you love into a new adventure.
How long did it take to for SOTMK to go from an idea to release?
Jonathan: Five years!
*At this point in the chat Merchandise Communications Manager Steven Miller is introduced*
We’ve also received a few questions about possible Sorcerers merchandise on the horizon. Well, Disney Parks Blog author Steven Miller just happens to be right here with us to give a few updates. Welcome, Steven.
Steven: Hi, I’m Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager with Disney Theme Park Merchandise, and I’m excited to share a few updates with you about Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom merchandise.
From the blog, our reader Allie asks, “Are you going to sell SOMK-themed merchandise?”
Steven: We have a few options currently in development for merchandise. The softlines team is designing a few tee-shirts. There will also be an official spell card book released. Yet, we have an option for those who want a spell card book now. It is a soft binder that was originally developed for pins yet it can also hold the cards. We sell a few extra pages for the binder as well.
Steven: Speaking of pins, we have two different items coming in late 2012. One will be a mystery pin set based on the villains featured in the game. The second, which is my favorite, is an open edition replica medal pin. The pin’s design was based on the medal that Merlin gives in the final scene of the game.
Jenn Fickley Baker: We have time for just one more question…
Jenn Fickley Baker: A large majority of you are asking about the SOMK cards 61-70. Let me have Steven speak to those questions…
Steven: We’re currently looking at a few options as to how we’re going to release cards 61-70, so stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog!
Thanks everybody for joining us for our live-chat with Jonathan. As a reminder you can revisit this chat at any time and click ‘Replay’ to review all the questions and answers.
As excited for the live chat as I was, I have to admit I was disappointed. There were many questions left unanswered. I understand that they are on a time constraint and I do appreciate that this took place to be begin with. However with no clear answer on things like the villain sidekick battles, cards 61-70 or how to reduce wait times I felt they took the easy way out. Perhaps it’s just the impatient fanboy in me talking but that’s how I feel. The one thing I do believe is that it more than likely that cards 61-70 will be sold in the future seeing as the merchandising manager fielded that question. Either way I’m glad that Disney finally decided to speak officially about SOTMK hopefully this will put some of the nonsense to rest.