I have written quite a lot about Disney games. More than I expected to, really. Every now and then I write about my distaste for Disney's modern gaming operations, and the back to back arrivals of Mirrorverse and Speedstorm provided the perfect opportunity to rant and whine about it. I had gotten it all out of my system until this week's Nintendo Direct showcased Disney Dreamlight Valley. Not only showcased it, but made it look great, even though a couple of hours in it will suddenly become a terrible cash-grab. I complain a lot, so that's why I'm here putting my money where my mouth is, pitching my Frozen game.
I assume Disney's gaming executives are reading all of my articles, as I assume everyone reads my articles because they're so great. Yes we have traffic tracking software but I assume it's broken when my stories don't return seven billion clicks. In any case, so desperate am I for a good Disney game that I will waive my patent for these game design ideas, giving up what I assume would be trillions in raw profit for myself. Everyone knows the hardest part of making a game is coming up with a vague idea at the start. It's extremely gracious of me to step aside from this unsolicited idea about what Disney should do with one of its most cherished IPs, I know.
Getting back to the matter at hand, there are a few things to consider. Frozen is Disney's biggest phenomenon this century, and perfect for a video game adaptation. I know Frozen is for girls and video games are for boys, but on the other hand, it's not, and they're not. Tie-in games have always been a little iffy, even back when they were good they were only okay. That's why I'm not asking for a game that recreates the events of Frozen or Frozen 2, but a game that gives me the spirit of Frozen. Despite Elsa being the marketable star and having the big song in both flicks, it has always been Anna who is the star of the movies. Elsa has a major role, but the narrative is constantly driven by Anna, we see most of it from Anna's perspective and it's Anna we're supposed to relate to. A game needs to switch it up – make Elsa playable and give the game to her.
Elsa's power set obviously lends itself very well to a video game. Being able to shoot beams out of her hands (in this case to freeze things) is very common in gaming. She could attack with beams and projectiles, form shields, cause area hazards, and use it to provide platforms or destroy obstacles in order to traverse. Anna (along with Olaf, Kristoff, and Sven) would need to be there, but I think spreading it out across the cast would dilute the magic a Frozen game could have. We need it to be Elsa.
I imagine it working something like Spider-Man: Miles Morales. Obviously not set in Harlem, but in a fairly small map with some character driven stories to make our own, a few collectibles to encourage exploration, and some tight-knit battles. Elsa isn't going to hang from the ceiling via icicle and crash down on armed assailants, but a mixture of cartoonish combat driven by combos and powers, plus some sneaky stealth sections in gorgeous environments. Frozen is a name that sells itself, can be easily adapted to video games, and still has a lot of story to tell. It's the perfect fit.
I know Frozen's Kingdom Hearts level acts as an easy counterweight to all of these points, but also it's Kingdom Hearts. It has never been that good at conveying the wonder of Disney, and also just straight up never been that good. It's a mishmash of ideas that childhood nostalgia has convinced us is good storytelling, but there's not a single moment across Kingdom Hearts that hits as hard as Elsa thawing Anna in Frozen. Shorn of Kingdom Hearts, Frozen could give a much better account of itself.
This isn't as strange an idea as it seems, either. The constant barrage of Frozen merchandise proves the audience is there, while we've seen how successful smaller, more concentrated solo-experiences like Miles Morales can be. It doesn't have the potential for sky high microtransactions like other Disney games, but just imagine Disney tried to make a good game for once, one that earned your money honestly by convincing you to buy the game and have a nice time with it – not picking it up for free and slowly sinking money into it until you're in a pit you can't climb out. Actually that's probably the least realistic suggestion I've had all day.
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