Disney has been capitalizing on the nostalgia hype in the cinema world for a few years now. Remakes of The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, and other Disney classics have raked in big money at the box office - even more than the originals in some cases. That need for nostalgia has now leaked over into the video game world via the release of Disney's first Classics pack across all major platforms.
The pack includes Disney's Aladdin and Lion King games which were released on SNES and Sega Genesis during the 1990s. Since the implication is that Disney could remaster more of its classic games should this pack do well, that begs the question: what games did the studio release back in the day, and which of them have remaster potential? Toy Story, A Bug's Life, Tarzan, and Hercules were all accompanied by video game adaptations - but despite bringing in relative commercial success for a while, Disney stopped producing in-house video games to go with their films.
So, What Changed?
As for Disney licensing its own games like the good old days, that doesn't seem to happen anymore. It's a real shame as we think a Frozen video game would go down a storm, as would an open-world Toy Story title based on the fourth chapter on what might well be Disney's most successful franchise.
It seems that nowadays, Disney prefers to hand off that responsibility to others. Take Star Wars and Marvel, for instance. Disney now owns both of those major franchises, both of which have a big foot in the video game world. However, in those cases, Disney doesn't seem to have any input on the video game versions at all. That's a real shame since EA seems adamant on peppering Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order with loot boxes, and Marvel's Avengers has been largely criticized since its first trailer dropped.
Saving Disney Money
Although it might not make sense to us from a consumer standpoint, it definitely does when it comes to cost. By licensing out its titles for others to make the games, Disney is saving itself from having an entire department. No in-house developers or video game creators means no one to pay in that division, yet they'll still be raking in revenue from sales of the games developed by others. It might be a fraction of what they used to make from their own games, but chances are it is still more profitable than if they were to make the games themselves.
All of that being said, it would seem as if the days of Disney creating its own great games will forever be a thing of the past. Licensing is the order of the day for Disney and since it makes more money doing it that way, or at least more profit, why would the studio ever go back to doing things the old-fashioned way?
Thankfully, we might have a future filled with remastered versions of some of those classic Disney games from the 1990s and early 2000s. The Lion King and Aladdin remasters are works of art and we're assuming they'll do well in the sales department. We hope so anyway as have our heart set on the next pack being a Toy Story/A Bug's Life double whammy.