Infinite worlds, endless possibility
Disney Infinity producer John Day talks about the company's first game that lets characters from different Disney and Pixar movies interact, allowing gamers to recreate their favourite moments from the movies they love most.
Tell me a little about how Disney Infinity came about? What was the catalyst for the game?
The primary inspiration for Infinity came from watching our own children play with toys. When kids play with toys, they mix them all up, ignoring any real rules about how one "should" play, and tell their own stories and make their own games. We wanted to create a game that gives players this kind of creative freedom.
In Infinity you can play a variety of Disney and Pixar characters, ranging from Mickey Mouse to Buzz Lightyear to Jack Sparrow to characters from Monsters Inc. What sort of reaction do you hope gamers have from playing the game where they can play in their favourite Disney or Pixar movie?
I think players will enjoy seeing just how different these characters are from each other. Every one of them has different abilities, and wildly distinct personalities. Every character also has hundreds of different things they say! So they all feel very unique, and authentic.
Whether it's intentional or not, Disney Infinity is similar in concept to Activision's Skylanders. Did you take any inspiration from Skylanders or did you start working on it before that was released? I understand that in Disney Infinity players can change the look and the feel of the game world using the Toy Box mode. Tell me how that works?
It's true that our game uses toys to play the game, much like some other games. Infinity offers an entirely different type of game than any of these others, however. In the Toy Box, we give the player not only the physical toys, but hundreds of digital toys they use to build their own worlds and complete with their own rules and games. Using a tool set in the toy box, players can build and manipulate terrain, bring in buildings, vehicles and even enemies to defeat. Using the toy box, we've seen recreations of nostalgic arcade games, or complex chain reaction machines. One of our own testers used the toys to build a fully functional calculator.
I read somewhere that John Pleasants, head of Disney Interactive, said that Disney Infinity will "grow and improve over time". What does this mean? How will the game improve over time?
While we're launching the game on August 21 with many figures and several play sets, we will continue to release more toys, more play sets, and more figures as time goes on. With each additional toy, you now have more to play with in your toy box, and more you can create.
What do you think is the strongest hook for Disney Infinity? How would you convince a parent that they need to part with their hard- earned money to buy the game and the associated toys and play this?
The hook for Infinity is that, for the first time ever, players can experience many different Disney worlds and combine elements from those worlds to create their own stories and games. The entire game is shareable - you can use any of the figures on any system, and there is no end to how much players can build and create in the game.
How big can Disney Infinity as a game series get?
Massive. Disney Infinity represents the largest project to date from Disney Interactive, and there are still more figures and playsets to release. I hope I have a chance to continue to work on Disney Infinity for years to come.
What was the biggest challenge with doing a game like Disney Infinity? There must be some highly complicated tech behind it?
Indeed. One of the biggest challenges was selecting which figures to make first. Everyone has a favourite, and there is so much rich Disney history to choose from! Disney Infinity is a substantial technical achievement. We developed our own game engine in-house, tailoring it specifically for Disney Infinity's unique design. Even our toys represent modern near field communications technology.
Last question: Sum up Disney Infinity for me in one sentence? How would you sell it?
Disney Infinity is a game about playing with toys to explore many different worlds, create some of your own, and tell your own story.
Disney Infinity is out this week. Starter packs retail for about $130.
- © Fairfax NZ News