Disney unveils Tron for iPhone

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One of the most popular booths at E3 has been Disney’s Tron display, complete with neon light cycles and demos of its highly-anticipated console game. But unbeknownst to convention goers, the iPhone is also getting its own version of Tron.

Macworld sat down with Stephen Saiz, Director of Marketing in Digital Publishing of Disney Interactive Studios to talk about this exciting new title that is so new, Disney isn’t even ready to demo it on the floor at E3. Slated to be released prior to Tron: Legacy this winter, Tron will incorporate many of the themes and games associated with the franchise that first began with the iconic 1982 sci-fi film.

“We’re looking to appeal to core Tron fans. Fans [of the franchise] for 30 years,” explained Saiz. When players first load the game and enter the grid, they’ll need to claim allegiance to one of the different factions in the game. Like in the movie, these factions each have their own iconic color and represent a different program within the Tron grid. The world of Tron takes place inside of a computer and the soundtrack and bright lights reflect that technologic theme.

Tron for the iPhone will have single and multiplayer gameplay elements, with multiplayer offering connectivity both over WiFi and Blutooth.

Though the pricing of the game and release date have yet to be determined, Saiz confirmed that by downloading the initial application, players will have access to four different iconic Tron minigames. Further updates and games may become available, but Disney hasn’t decided upon a pricing model yet.

The games included in the Tron app should satisfy fans of the series: tanks, light cycles, 3D recognizers, and 3D light cycles. The only stage ready to be shown was an early tanks level. The player is tasked with reaching a goal at the other side of the level and must use both puzzle-solving and combat skill in order to circumvent the obstacles on the level. A joystick on the left controls movement while the one on the right controls where your turret fires. Additional weapons can be unlocked, but initially you start out with a cannon that is capable of breaking down certain barriers and destroying little red spiders that try to destroy you. The controls were surprisingly responsive for such an early build of the game, and the art was definitely something true to the original Tron film.

Saiz is happy to report that the lightcycles are reminiscent of the vehicles piloted by Jeff Bridges in the original movie as well. You’ll be playing with angles and trying to best your opponent in head to head action. From the gameplay to the load screen, there are plenty of nods to the original film, but that won’t mean Tron for the iPhone is strictly for hardcore fans. The gameplay is supposed to stand on its own as appealing to hardcore and casual gamer alike.

The movie is due to be released December 17th and the Tron game for the iPhone should release well ahead of that date. Disney is still pretty early in the development process, but Macworld will preview the other features of this game as they become available.

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