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Dreamlight Valley Is Getting Me Hyped For Disney Games Again

Disney games, why do you do this to me? The quick one-two punch of Speedstorm and Mirrorverse had finally reminded me, once and for all, that the sorts of Disney games I know and love are well and truly gone. Even though Disney's might is as powerful as ever, and its characters are enduring enough to not rely on a quick and nasty tie-in game, the kind impossible to make in this era of long development cycles, Disney games are dead. Rather than a triple-A game based on one of Disney's most popular properties – let's for arguments sake say a Frozen game in the shape of Miles Morales – we get cheap mobile cash-grabs or we get nothing. Speedstorm and Mirrorverse are following on from Twisted Wonderland and oh so many Candy Crush/Bejewelled knock-offs, and I really thought I was done with it all. I had made my peace. I had written my last rant and closed the book on my time yearning for Disney games. Enter Dreamlight Valley. Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.

Disney Dreamlight Valley was not a new reveal at yesterday's Nintendo Direct, having been revealed earlier in the year. It's like Disney's Animal Crossing, which sounds great but Speedstorm is Disney's Mario Kart, a formula which should be a lock, so I wasn't sold. Surely Dreamlight Valley, like every other Disney game this side of Brave, was going to be full of mobile game bullshit, microtransactions, timers, and generally a lot of getting in its own way. Please, I just want to make a kitsch house full of Disney tat where I can live with Queen Elsa and dedicate my life to serving under her feet, is that so much to ask?!

Dreamlight Valley seems like a solid concept, but also, it's a modern Disney game. Who cares? Disney having a good idea for a game is like Illumination having a good idea for a movie. It doesn't matter how it starts, we know it's going to end in disappointment. Except… is it? Illumination did make Despicable Me alongside all of the other trash, after all. Could Dreamlight Valley be that one good game in a pile of garbage? The jury is still out until the title hits early access in September, but I'm annoyed that I'm even considering it.

The new trailer demonstrated a lot of the different interactions you can have in the game, and while there's nothing new there, it's all cosily familiar. There's fishing, because all wholesome games need fishing, while you can also cook with Remy, take selfies with Ursula, or chill with Maui. You can also just walk around the town square and wave to Mickey, Anna, and a hilariously tiny Buzz Lightyear. Obviously making Buzz human sized, as you might find him at Disney World, is a little disconcerting, but I have no idea why he's cutting about flashing his little wrist laser everywhere when he's the perfect height to get nicely booted by my custom shoes.

Yeah, we also got to see a glimpse of the wardrobe and customisation, and it's exactly what I want. It's ripe to be infected with microtransactions, but there's still a chance. House customisation is being held a little tighter to the test, but we did see the player moving the whole house around on a grid, so it's fair to assume there will be a decent amount of options.

Why isn’t this just a normal game that Disney wants £30 or so for? I’d pay £30 day one, and probably cough up for a bunch of DLC packs. But instead it’s free, with microtransactions likely unceremoniously shoved up our nether regions a few hours in. And enough people pay well over £30 to make the kind of game I desperately want dreadfully unprofitable for Disney. They are a bit strapped for cash, making just $67.4 billion in profit last year. Poor things.

Disney Dreamlight Valley's new trailer didn't convince me that the game will be great, but it did convince me that it might not be rubbish. That already makes me more excited than I ever have been for Speedstorm or Mirrorverse, so it's a step in the right direction. Until September, that will have to be enough.

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