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Former Disney Infinity devs form studio for mixed reality games

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To augmented reality and beyond

CastAR concept

Former members of Avalanche Software, which created and developed the recently mothballed Disney Infinity toys-to-life series, have found work in a new studio dedicated to mixed-reality gaming.

This morning castAR, a mixed AR tech company spun up by former Valve employee Jeri Ellsworth, announced the formation of castAR Salt Lake City, "a new mixed reality gaming and entertainment development studio driven by former Avalanche Software talent."

The new studio will more than double the size of the castAR game development team, according to a press release, pushing the company to more than 70 employees. castAR hasn’t released any numbers, but the Avalanche team consisted of more than 100 people at its peak.

"Our new castAR SLC team has creatively-inspired talent that has delivered at the highest levels of quality. We’re excited to have them join us in creating a new generation of gaming through mixed reality experiences," said Steve Parkis, President and COO of castAR, in a prepared statement. "With their experience in bringing massive franchises to life through breakthrough interactive design, the addition of this team is our next bold step in launching a dynamic platform that will bring awe-inspiring mixed reality to households."

The news comes on the heels of the announcement of a new CEO for castAR. Darrell Rodriguez, formerly president of LucasArts and COO of Electronic Arts Los Angeles, was named CEO last month.

Disney announced in May that it was killing off Disney Infinity and shutting down its online servers. During an earnings call following the news, Disney CEO Bob Iger explained why the company decided to kill the game and drop completely out of the game development business.

"We thought we had a really good opportunity to launch our own product in that space; the console space, but also the toys to life space," Iger said. "In fact we did quite well with the first iteration and did OK with the second, but that business is a changing business and we did not have enough confidence in the business in terms of being stable enough to stay in it."