What's an adventure game designer to do when he moves on from PC titles? Conquer Disney World, of course.
Once upon a time, Jonathan Ackley worked at LucasArts, where he worked on classics such as Day of the Tentacle and Sam and Max Hit the Road. He now works for Disney, where first he worked on the Kim Possible game at EPCOT, a Carmen Sandiego-like experience where players chased clues around the world pavilions. Since, he has spent four years developing a live-action game that visitors to the Magic Kingdom can play as they tour the park.
Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom launched recently, combining elements from card trading games, role-playing games, and adventure games to create a play experience in the real world (or, at least, as real as the world of a Disney theme park can be). In an interview with ARGNet, Ackley described the project, saying, "We have themed environments. We are in a unique position to make you the main character in an adventure story. We're really lucky that we have such great stories and characters to draw from."
The game plays out like so:
Players assume a role or roles from their playing cards. Family members can all play the same character or adopt different one. The players use the treasure map to locate the magic portal where they want to begin. Each portal has an identifying brass floor plate and keyhole where guests swipe their key cards, which activates an engaging animated presentation for the game. At the end of each presentation, players aim their spell cards at the video or a physical object (e.g., a fireplace), which directs them to another symbol on the map or gives them the opportunity to cast a spell to defeat the villain. Much like a traditional role-playing game, some actions, such as casting a spell, may require using a character stat in addition to problem solving. Players might have to solve a riddle or act quickly before their spell sizzles. Successful players are rewarded by earning stronger spells during the course of the game.
Spell-casting in the real world? Sounds exactly like the kind of magic that Disney always wants to produce.