In advance of the theater release of Cars 2, the Disney Interactive Studios production will launch as a video game on Sony?s PlayStation 3. The video game detects a connection to a 3DTV and automatically adjusts settings. Racing, spying, and even menu interfaces are presented in 3D.

Mater, comedy relief character from first Cars makes a re-appearance and gets caught in the international espionage ring

Yes, spying. As the Cars characters go out of country to compete in the first-ever World Grand Prix to win the title of the world?s fastest car, Mater, the diligent tow truck gets caught up in an international espionage ring. Four players can take part in the game on a four-way split screen as Mater gets involved in a secret mission. John Blackburn, VP and GM of the game?s developer, Avalanche Software, said "Our innovative multiplayer with four simultaneous 3D ports brings a whole new dimension to PS3 gaming." Gamers position themselves as spies at C.H.R.O.M.E. (Command Headquarters for Recon Operations and Motorized Espionage), the spy training center. Avalanche creates new properties and games based on Disney Feature Animation films.

Larry the Cable Guy gets interviewed at CinemaConTheater owners were given a 26 minute preview of Cars 2: The Movie, at CinemaCon. Larry the Cable Guy, who provides the voice for Mater, spoke to reporters. You can view the interview with the comedian turned tow truck at Collider. Some 20 characters are involved in Cars 2, each requiring their own unique voice. The leading role, Lightning McQueen, is vocalized by Owen Wilson. Although commonly thought to represent Steve McQueen, both actor and race car driver, the Piston Cup race car was named in memory of a Pixar animator, Glenn McQueen.

New characters and voices joining the cast include one Michael Caine, not unfamiliar to espionage film fans. He is appropriately heard in Cars 2 as British super spy Finn McMissile. McMissile, as his name suggests, although as smooth as James Bond, is equipped with a missile launcher and holographic image emitter.

Emily Mortimer speaks for a rookie field spy Holley Shiftwell. A new element, aircraft, is introduced into the previously earth-bound cast. Jason Isaacs straight from Harry Potter will be heard as Siddeley, the spy plane. A tough Detroit muscle car, Rod "Torque" Redline, contrary to his name is endowed with a blue paint job. He is master of spies and disguises, so perhaps his color will change. Redline is brought to us by Bruce Campbell, star of cult film Army of Darkness. It is Rod who gets Mater innocently involved in ne?er-do-well events. 

Paint Job by Ramone's Body Art Shop at Radiator Springs
Paint Job by Ramone?s Body Art Shop at Radiator Springs

Old favorites return. Cheech Marin, infamous for the Cheech and Chong stoner movies, and recently seen in the role of Papa Ucumari in the TV drama series Off the Map, continues to provide the stereotypical, low-rider voice for Ramone. A very appropriate new voice is that of Mark Winterbottom, an Australian racer who really drives for Ford Performance Racing. He?ll be right at home, not in a Ford FG Falcon, but as Frosty, in a cameo meeting with Lightning McQueen, albeit only in the Australian release. NASCAR racer Jeff Gordon and Darrell Waltrip represent real world racing in Cars 2 as the not so disguised American race car named Jeff Gorvette and racing announcer Darrell Cartrip

Since first released in 2006, Cars has become a phenomenon, even for the Walt Disney Company, encompassing books, toys, related licensed products, music, and even an amusement park, Cars Land planned for 2012. The original movie won a Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature and grossed $462M world wide in box office sales.

World of Cars, a Virtual Community for Race Fans 
World of Cars, a Virtual Community for Race Fans

Another spin off is the virtual world, www.WorldofCars.com. Users design and trick out their car, play games, and chat with friends. The site promises freedom from third party ads and peace of mind for parents with on-line monitors and controls they can set themselves. It is free to play, but requires a subscription to access special features.

Pixar, the Northern California film studio renowned for its computer animation, has taken home 24 Academy Awards. Its latest production, Cars 2: The Movie, is the third IMAX 3D release from Disney, Toy Story being the first. IMAX theaters will have to wait until three days after the release of Cars 2: The Video Game, before Cars 2: The Movie will be available on the big screen June 24 in the US. 

Cars 2 will hit PlayStation 3 weeks ahead of Cinema release on June 24, 2011Avalanche Software, developer of the video game, was founded in 1995 by Sculptured Software programmers. From Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, to the present day, they have developed on every console platform. While independent, the company developed Mortal Kombat games and, in 2000, Prince of Persia, Arabian Nights. Under the Disney umbrella they developed the video game version of Toy Story 3 also for the PS3, as well as for the Wii, Xbox 360, PC, Mac OS X which all came out in summer 2010. Bolt, their work based on the super dog, was released on the PC, Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3 and Nintendo DS.

If you can?t wait for the movie release of Cars 2, grab a PlayStation 3 video version from Avalanche and have at it.