When Disney first lifted the lid on their upcoming toy/game hybrid sequel, Disney Infinity 2.0, we were promised a steady stream of new announcements and figures in the run up to the game's Autumn launch. Having heard very little since the original press conference in May (for more on that, see Everything We Know about Disney Infinity 2.0), it seems the House of Mouse are staying true to their promise, with the announcement of two new figures that'll be launching alongside the game - Merida and Maleficent.
Much like the current game, Merida and Maleficent will be available as individual, physical figures, which, when placed on the game's special portal, will let you play as them in the game. To help give more of a feel for how the new characters will work, Disney have also released a brand new trailer, which shows off the feisty Princess Merida, from the 2012 film Brave, and the evil Maleficent from last month's film of the same name (starring Angelina Jolie), battling it out on fantasy landscape, showing off their powers and skills, and, er, surfing on a hoverboard.
Merida, the fiery-haired, headstrong Scottish heroine, will come equipped with a bow and sword as her main weapons, and can pull off rapid-fire combinations of attacks that can be quickly chained together for maximum effect. Players can upgrade the princess' aim with the bow by using special "elemental freeze arrows", letting you freeze an enemy before unleashing a flurry of rapid shots to finish them off.
Maleficent's skills, meanwhile, are based around her magical abilities, giving her a variety of options to engage in both ranged and melee attacks. The horned villain also has the ability to summon minion helpers in the form of ravens to attack her enemies, can summon thorny brambles to block off paths and areas, and apparently boasts some powerful projectile and area of effect attacks - attacks which allow her to inflict damage to whole groups of enemies at once.
The two newly announced characters, "available in retail stores this fall" (that's good old fashioned autumn for us Brits), will operate in a similar fashion to the way characters worked in the previous Disney Infinity game, released last year for Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Wii, Wii U and Nintendo 3DS. It's worth noting here that both Merida and Maleficent will only be playable in game's the Toy Box mode; a free-form creation mode which allows players to "create new adventures" in a sandbox-style way, and won't be available for use in the game's story driven, co-op focused Play Set adventures. Much like in the last game, you're only allowed to use characters from that particular world/film/franchise in each Play Set, so there'll be no taking down Loki with a deftly aimed arrow from Merida in the Marvel Play Set that comes bundled with the game. Annoyingly.
On the plus side, Disney have confirmed that along with Merida and Maleficent, all characters, bases, and power discs from Disney Infinity will be forward compatible with Disney Infinity 2.0 in the Toy Box mode, so you'll be able to use all your old figures and bits and pieces in the new game. All statistics and upgrades players have earned for their characters will also transfer over to the new game, so all that hard-earned progress made in the original Disney Infinity won't be lost. As an added bonus, if you've linked your copy of Disney Infinity to your Disney ID, you'll also be able to download your old Toy Box creations in the new game.
With plenty of time left to go until the game's still vague "Autumn" release date, there's bound to be plenty of new Disney Infinity 2.0 news in the run up to launch - including several more figures, and perhaps more excitingly, new Play Sets. With giant games convention E3 kicking off on Monday, all eyes will be on L.A.