Posted

Disney Classic Games: Aladdin & The Lion King collection new features detailed

Find out how the games' restoration and extra features make this the ultimate fan package

For many of us at Digital Eclipse, the original release of Aladdin on the 16-bit Sega Genesis console back in 1993 was a monumental and unforgettable moment. It was the first time that a game truly resembled an interactive cartoon and was able to redefine what a “licensed game” could be like. It was also a game with a very interesting story behind it, given the close involvement of Disney Feature Animation, so the creation of a collection focused on it certainly always appealed to us.

It would take several years, a lucky discovery, and some good timing for it all to finally come together.

Our team at Digital Eclipse has known members of the original Virgin Games Aladdin development team for quite some time, with one of them (Nick Bruty) actually working at the company, so the notion of doing something with Aladdin was always bouncing around.

However, we wanted to make sure that whatever we did was something special. Just throwing the Aladdin game into a box wouldn’t be enough. We needed to do something different, but what?

Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King on PS4
Diving back into these games to share some new and refreshed content with fans was something we got especially excited about, and luckily publisher Nighthawk Interactive and Disney felt the same way. With their support, work on Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King began earlier this year.

As discussions with the original development team progressed, the pieces started coming together. The discovery of a wealth of content that never made it into the released version of the game was a major eye-opener. There was so much unseen content that the idea of an Aladdin collection really started making sense.

The Lion King was another 16-bit Disney favourite published by Virgin Games soon after the original Aladdin, and it seemed like the perfect time to bring these two games together into one collection.

The games

A lot of thought goes into what games are included in every project we work on, and it’s important that the games connect to each other in key ways and are able to present an interesting story. For this collection, we brought together two classic Disney games connected by the team at Virgin in the heydays of the Mega Drive and SNES.

Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King on PS4
But we went beyond the Mega Drive and SNES, working hard to include multiple playable versions of the various platform releases fans have enjoyed over the years:

Aladdin

  • Genesis Version
  • Japanese Mega Drive Version
  • GameBoy Version
  • Colourised GameBoy Version

The Lion King

  • SNES Version
  • Genesis Version
  • Japanese Mega Drive Version
  • GameBoy Version
  • Colourised GameBoy Version

The options

It was also important to us to include a variety of options to improve the experience of playing these games in the modern age of consoles.

That meant adding “rewind” to all the games so that players could easily backtrack and overcome mistakes, providing easy access to level skips and invulnerability, and even including the Interactive Game Viewer featuring entire (and fully watchable) playthroughs of the games so that players can jump in and start playing at whatever spot they want.

Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King on PS4
We want every person who buys this collection to be able to finish every game, so it’s important for us to provide the tools for them to do that and empower them to enjoy the experience any way they want to.

We also feel that players should be able to adjust the overall presentation of each game to suit their tastes, so including a variety of screen options was a must.

From each game’s options screen, players can switch between a screen size that best reflects the native aspect ratio of the original game or make it bigger or even fill the entire screen, if they want. They can also choose from three different filters designed to mimic the look of traditional CRT televisions and monitors, as well as turn on screen borders.

Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King on PS4 Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King on PS4Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King on PS4

The “Final Cut”

With such rich history behind both of these titles, the museum section in Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King packs in a lot of content and previously unseen bonus material.

In fact, what we learned while filming the behind-the-scenes Aladdin videos for this collection inspired us to create an additional, bonus version: the Aladdin “Final Cut.”

While based upon the original version of the game, this updated version features a large number of fixes, tweaks, and additions; so many, in fact, that listing them out would probably take around seven pages.

The original development team explained the things they would have loved to have fixed or improved if time had allowed. While they had to make key decisions on what to focus on for their initial release, that got the Digital Eclipse team thinking about how we now had the chance to explore all those refinements.

Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King on PS4
We didn’t want to make any changes just for the sake of making changes, though, so we spent a lot of time figuring out what were things that a) would genuinely make the experience more enjoyable for fans and b) the team would have probably done themselves if they had some extra time.

Being fans, ourselves, a) was easy to figure out. It was b) that was a bit harder, so we ended up enlisting the aid of some of the original team members, such as William Anderson, to help out with suggestions.

William was one of the level designers on Aladdin and a great sounding board for our ideas and suggestions. Combined with Rich Whitehouse’s expansive knowledge of the game, we had the tools needed to make the changes we felt appropriate.

It was important to all of us, though, that we didn’t make a version of Aladdin that felt too different from the original. Why mess with something so great, right? Instead, we wanted to create something closer to a “Day 1 patch” for the game, which is something the original team never had the opportunity to make.

Along those lines, we addressed key items such as the camera system, which had some problems around centering the character and dead zones; the combat system, which benefited from some adjustments to attack animations, how sword clashes are handled; and overall enemy balance.

We then went in and fixed a variety of smaller issues, such as collision bugs that were making it harder for players to reach certain items. We even added in new level sections and items to promote a bit more exploration and sense of discovery.

In the end, I feel that we struck a nice balance of preserving what made the original version of Aladdin so great and timeless, while also making some changes that will hopefully make the experience a bit more balanced and enjoyable for fans of the game. We hope they agree.

With all the new and never-before-seen content in this collection, only some of which I mentioned, we can’t wait until Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King gets into the hands of the fans on 29th October. The journey to get to this point was sometimes challenging, but we always knew it would be worth it.

We hope that this collection captures what made both the original Aladdin and The Lion King games so magical and is able to introduce a whole new generation of Disney fans to some classic experiences that are still just as good today as they were decades ago.

What did you think about this story?
Log in to comment
12 Comments
0 Author replies
1

Ah so SNES Aladdin isn’t there unlike what some people reported. I did wonder as that was a totally different game by Capcom and unlikely to be part of this. I never did get on with the Lion King on any format (didn’t care for the film either actually) but yeah I did enjoy the Mega Drive Aladdin a lot (also played a demo of the Amiga version a lot cos it came on cover of a magazine back then). When it comes to Nick Bruty and Dave Perry games I’d be quite happy if my PS4 got past games of theirs too from all the fun CPC games I had (Trantor, Savage, Teenage Mutant ‘Hero’ Turtles, Dan Dare 3 etc) to Earthworm Jim and MDK. Anyways yeah set looks good even if I just buy for MD Aladdin. :)

So who owns rights to this games know and who publishing it know because we know not Disney because they not publishing it .

2.1

Disney own them obviously. These are published by Nighthawk Interactive, who also published Rick & Morty VR, Enter the Gungeon, Marvel Pinball and Talos Principle.

Star Wars is owned by Disney, but the games are published by EA, because they were licensed by Disney to do so, same with this collection here.

3

Both these games were great. Probably my favorite Disney games. Might pick this up since I have good memories of them.

4

Look forward to these. I do hope the ps3 castle of illusion comes to ps4 too. I remember playing these on the mega drive.

5

I’m so glad this exists. Definitely picking it up asap. And sound like the team have done a great job.

More please. Cool Spot perhaps, or James Pond: Robocod, Global Gladiators etc…

RobtimusPrime_89 28 October, 2019 @ 23:56
6

It’s a shame there aren’t more games – Disney has a wealth of classic games from that era that could have similar treatment – other movie adaptations (Toy Story), Quack Shot, Castle/World of Illusion, Mickeys Wild Adventure etc. I know some of the rights are probably a mess to try and work through, but I guess they may also be planning a range of these under the Disney Classic Games banner

Love these games. Unfortunately I replayed Aladdin on the Megadrive only last year so don’t really feel the urge to go through it again right now.

One thing though, when this was announced I’d assumed they were going to be HD remakes. Really defined lines and high res graphics, almost like the original movie animation quality. Looking at these screen shots though, I’m wrong? They’re just the old games, glorious pixel art at all? It would have been nice to have both, and be able to switch from old to new graphics with a button press like so many other remastered games. Surely I’m missing something here? The HD option is there, isn’t it!?!

8

£24.99? That’s a lot more than I epxected for what amounts to some old console roms especially without the vast variety of compilations like the Sega Mega Drive one also available on PS4 which has loads more games of all sorts of types.

8.1

It’s 35€ for me. what a joke. They also took down the individual games from GOG where you could get them for 7€ each and replaced them with this collection.

£32 on Switch. It’s hilarious. Who’s paying that?

Never go back….nostalgia is only forgotten disappointment

Edit history