Warner Bros. picks up Avalanche team to make Cars 3 game for Disney

Scene from Cars 3 trailer


Warner Bros. and Disney are keeping it all in the family.

Last year, Disney shut down Avalanche Software, the maker of the Disney Infinity Games. Warner Bros. picked up some of the team and its leadership, and today the companies announced the studio will make a Cars 3 game for Disney. The deal is consistent with the strategies of Warner, which has built a billion-dollar games business with studios that it owns; and Disney, which has shifted more of its development to partners in recent years and shut down a number of internal studios.

The game will come out in 2017. It’s based on the upcoming Disney Pixar film, which comes out in the summer. Warner’s Avalanche Software team has reopened in Salt Lake City, Utah, under the leadership of John Blackburn, who previously led Avalanche under Disney.

“It is a tremendous pleasure to welcome Avalanche Software into our development stable, and we look forward to working with our new team, Pixar Animation Studios, and [Disney] to create Cars 3 based on the upcoming film and hugely popular franchise,” said David Haddad, president of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, in a statement. “The Avalanche talent and technology are a great addition to our group of outstanding developers, and we are excited for this Cars 3 game as well as all of the future games the team will create under John’s leadership.”

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has also obtained rights to the Octane engine technology, previously developed by Avalanche Software, which will be used to develop Cars 3.

GamesBeat heard that Warner had acquired the Avalanche team in the fall, but the company didn’t respond to our requests for comment. We also know that Warner didn’t pick up all of the former Avalanche employees. CastAR, an augmented reality tabletop gaming company, opened a studio in Salt Lake City in September with a number of former Avalanche workers.

The Disney Pixar Cars franchise has generated more than $1 billion at the global box office, and has a strong track record with family gamers, selling millions of units across multiple Cars titles. This includes Cars 2: The Video Game, which was also developed by Avalanche Software and sold several million copies in 2011.

Cars 3 is the latest kids and family gaming collaboration between the companies, which have previously produced Lego titles for many of the top franchises from Disney.

“Disney Pixar’s Cars is one of the world’s most beloved and recognized franchises, and we’re thrilled to be taking the story further and faster than ever before through a new console experience based on the upcoming, action-packed Cars 3,” said Kyle Laughlin, senior vice president of games, apps, and labs at Disney, in a statement. “We are excited to once again be working with the Avalanche team, who have a deep understanding of the Disney Pixar DNA, and a history of translating our stories into great gaming experiences.”

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