Disney Infinity is not a Skylanders clone, but that doesn't mean the Disney title wasn't inspired by Activision's toy-meets-game success story. Heck, three Skylanders toys even showed up for this Disney Infinity "Designing the Figures" video. Update — The video has been removed from the Disney Infinity YouTube channel. We've swapped out the original link with a mirrored version.
Since the initial announcement of Disney Infinity, due to launch August 18 for just about everything, the Disney folks have downplayed the similarities between their game and one of Activision's biggest franchises. In an interview with GameIndustry.biz earlier this year, Disney Interactive VP Bill Roper said, "We've been working on this for about three years. I think the comparison is where you have a physical toy, you put it on a base and it goes into the game world - and in my mind, that's really where it ends."
So maybe the guys at Avalanche Software are just checking out the bases of Skylanders' Gill Grunt, Spyro and Double Trouble as they go over the toy designs for their game.
It makes sense, of course. Whatever its impetus and origin, one of the goals of Disney Infinity is obviously to take advantage of the success of the Skylanders franchise, which I estimate has made 11 bajillion dollars from me alone over the past couple of years. Disney's game does some radically different things, and I'm sure there's room for both it and the upcoming Skylanders: Swap Force in the market.
But Disney, seriously — we know there's Skylanders-inspiration going on with Disney Infinity. There's no need to hide it, but if you are, proper video editing is a must.