Game News Disney Dreamlight Valley: When Animal Crossing Moves to Disneyland. We have seen it!
Have you ever wanted to have Goofy as a neighbor while Wall-E is raking your yard and Scrooge is about to open a clothing store at the end of the street? With Disney Dreamlight Valley, Gameloft wants to take the player to a magical world. On the agenda: life simulation, adventure, a shovel of Disney characters to befriend and lots of personalization. We were able to attend an exclusive demonstration for France to give you a glimpse of what lies ahead in this funny epic. Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo!
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We got to watch a hands-off demo of Disney Dreamlight Valley (in a PC version in development) for an hour with some of the development team.
The cross between life simulator and adventure game
The idea for Disney Dreamlight Valley came about when the Gameloft development team, fans of the enchanted world of the famous American mouse, wondered what it would be like to live in a world surrounded by all the characters from Disney Pixar. With no action or combat mechanics involved. After much thought, it was finally the life simulator concept that won the votes among the developers† In the studio members’ own words, Disney’s Dreamlight Valley is “a hybrid between a life simulator and an adventure game that includes all the cool content of a sandbox, but also a scripted epic where you have to solve mysteries†
The demo started out in a normal enchanted universe corrupted by strange roots that had put their thorny organ around most of the structures in the valley. The sun gave way to darkness and the inhabitants began to lose their memories. These sad events took place after the departure of the person in charge of this once majestic place, the main character whose identity is kept secret for now. After creating his avatar, the user is greeted by Merlin, whose beard size is matched only by his optimism† The sorcerer is convinced that the character embodied by the player is the chosen one who will restore the valley to its former glory. It must be recognized that hope is allowed, because within a few minutes the avatar discovers that he has magical powers capable of destroying the demonic roots. After a short sequence of magical weeding, an orb appears and the druid regains his memory.
Disney Dreamlight Valley is a game you could think of as a meeting between Animal Crossing and Disney Adventure. The adventurer’s mission is to manage a village, bring the inhabitants back to the valley and befriend them† It is playable as classic third-person software and requires you to manage many elements with fun and good humor. The world is divided into large areas inspired by great Disney-Pixar movies with the countryside (Mickey), the forest (Snow White), the snowy world (Frozen), the savanna (The Lion King), the swamp (The Princess and the Frog ), the beach (Vaiana) and the “Forgotten Land“, a universe specially designed for the game. Each biome has its own unique elements (fauna and flora) that are useful for creating objects or dishes. Because yes, the player will have to find different resources if he wants to become friends as a pig with the heroes of Disney.
Become a friend to win
In his quest to free the valley from the terrible threat of oblivion, the player will have to sympathize with the stars of our childhood. All the Disney characters you encounter in the game have their own storyline that develops during missions† These are unlocked based on the level of friendship collected (from level 1 to level 10) and give bonuses to the sandbox. For example, it is possible to unlock Remy’s restaurant (Ratatouille), as well as skins for the avatar. Gameloft wanted (in consultation with Disney) to develop unique stories that match the character of the protagonists. For example, Goofy has goals related to fishing or making a scrapbook, Mickey wants to find Minnie and Scrooge wants to fix up his shop, find treasures in the valley and make a profit. †We want Disney characters to be the main reason why the player joins our sandboxexplains Gameloft. The world is also populated by small animals that can be tamed in exchange for a little time and a lot of food.
The Dreamlight Valley can be shaped by the player using tools (such as a shovel, watering can, pickaxe, fishing rod) to find as you progress. These very important tools are quickly accessible via a selector wheel. Since the aim of the game is to befriend as many inhabitants of the valley as possible, you will not only have to succeed in special quests, but also prepare small dishes† Thus, the player has the option of planting a garden with his shovel, watering seeds with the watering can and mixing the different ingredients using the pots present in the world. According to the development studio, a recipe that is too daring can’t ruin a friendship, unlike what could happen in reality. Little by little, alliances are created, even strengthened, and the player controls the village like a real manager.† With the right words (and especially the right choices), the friends roll up their sleeves and help the user in his daily tasks: Goofy fishing and Wall-E works wonders in the garden (or vice versa).
Interacting with the heroes he encounters is the only way to level up his avatar, and thus to increase his energy, allowing him to do more actions in the sandbox before having to rest in the house or eat a flat. Gameloft clarifies that it is not possible to spend real money to increase the energy level or improve your character: only cosmetic items are for sale for a few euros† Once the pickaxe is collected, the cursed blocks are no longer an obstacle for the player. Some special cubes even release light, making parts of the kingdom shine again. The pickaxe is also used to extract materials that are essential for the manufacture of certain objects. Each time a new area is unlocked, it gives access to new characters to chat with to progress through the story† Because yes, unlike other games of the same genre, Disney Dreamlight Valley has a real scenario, we are assured.
For geniuses big and small
While we mostly mentioned the life simulator aspect of Gameloft’s future production, Disney Dreamlight Valley is also an adventure game. In addition to the narrative arcs to discover with the inhabitants of the valley, the player can go to the Castle of Dreams in the heart of the village† Inside are many doors, doors that teleport the adventurer into universes (called Realms) belonging to other Disney characters who fled the valley as events escalated. During our demo we were able to observe the world of Wall-E. †A Disney Kingdom is a story bubble where you spend time with a character through various missions” sum up the developers. Again, several goals are suggested to gain the trust of the hero, in this case Wall-E, so that he then returns to the village. Among other things, he was asked to repair his caterpillar. The team warns that the puzzles, simple at first, quickly get more complex† The main target of the software is audiences between the ages of 25 and 35, mainly because of these famous puzzles that promise their brains at certain times, proof if need be that the game doesn’t seem to be just for a young audience. According to Gameloft, it will take between 40 and 60 hours of gameplay to complete the main story. The ambition is to regularly add new doors to expand the endgame experience.
Personalization at the heart of the business model
Obviously, Disney Dreamlight Valley is necessarily reminiscent of Animal Crossing in its life simulator dimension. Just like the Nintendo-designed game, customization is possible everywhere† The avatar house can be decorated to our liking, as well as the valley itself. Indeed, it is possible to move any house and integrate the elements available in the library as you see fit. According to Gameloft, the protagonists of the valley will be able to react to the placed elements.
Every day Scrooge’s shop gets new clothes to buy and rest. With hats, jewelry, jackets, t-shirts, pants, shoes… lovers of excessive personalization will be delighted. There is even a tool available to make your own clothes using layers† The avatar can be redesigned at any time, both in terms of facial features and body proportions. Disney Dreamlight Valley is intended to be a 100% single player game, although the team seems to be preparing content in the future, articulated around a multiplayer dimension. This can be a chance to show off a beautiful valley to your friends.
Disney Dreamlight Valley will be released in Early Access this summer via Founder Packs. Game Pass subscribers also have access. The final version will adopt the Free to Play business model and will be released in 2023. At the launch of Early Access, between 10 and 20 Disney characters are scheduled to meet. The goal is to add them regularly, as in any good service game. Only cosmetic items can be unlocked for real Euros. Disney Dreamlight Valley is coming to PC, Switch, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, and Xbox One.