Exclusive: ‘Disney Infinity’ awakens with new ‘Star Wars’ characters – USA TODAY
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The toys-to-life video game Disney Infinity aims to get all thingsÃ‚Â Star Wars right, so itÃ¢Â€Â™s bringing in a bad guy with a red-bladed lightsaber and a good guy in an X-wing flight suit.
No, not Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker Ã¢Â€Â”Ã‚Â theyÃ¢Â€Â™re already in the Infinity universe. But now those two icons are being joined by the likes of Kylo Ren and Poe Dameron, two main characters plucked from the upcoming new movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
TheirÃ‚Â action figures ($13.99 each) will be playable in the Infinity Toy Box mode Ã¢Â€Â” which already houses tons of classic Disney, Pixar and Marvel superhero characters Ã¢Â€Â”Ã‚Â as well as the Force Awakens play set ($34.99), which comes with heroes Rey and Finn. The new play set and individual charactersÃ‚Â arriveÃ‚Â Dec. 18, the same day the film hits theaters.
ItÃ¢Â€Â™s the only Force Awakens gaming experience coming out with the movie, according to John Vignocchi, vice president of production for Disney Infinity. While a whole other standaloneÃ‚Â game could have been released and sold well for Disney Interactive Studios, he says they feel Ã¢Â€Âœa responsibility as Disney to provide great value to parentsÃ¢Â€Â by giving Infinity players new content and more replayability for a lower price.
Ã¢Â€ÂœWe wanted there to be a lot of gameplay time but also depth in each one of the play sets,Ã¢Â€Â adds John Blackburn, Infinity senior vice president and general manager.
Each of the new Force Awakens characters are showcasedÃ‚Â in Infinity style plus a signature pose. For example, Kylo RenÃ¢Â€Â™s stanceÃ‚Â is inspired by the masked villain’sÃ‚Â appearance in the first Force Awakens teaser last year, and Vignocchi says there was Ã¢Â€Âœsome pretty serious back and forthÃ¢Â€Â between them and Lucasfilm, specifically the movie’s executive producer Kathleen Kennedy, about how KyloÃ‚Â would be represented in the Infinity space.
And Poe, in his Resistance fighter-pilot getup holding a blaster in one hand and helmet in the other, was a no-brainer to include because he Ã¢Â€Âœplays an incredibly critical roleÃ¢Â€Â in The Force Awakens, Vignocchi says. Ã¢Â€ÂœThereÃ¢Â€Â™s no way you could put out a true-to-property Star Wars experience and not include that character.Ã¢Â€Â
The play set will hew very close to the plot of the upcoming movie as well asÃ‚Â featuringÃ‚Â its acting talent. Adam Driver and Oscar Isaac reprise their roles as Kylo and Poe respectively, as does Daisy Ridley and John Boyega for Rey and Finn.
When Ridley and Boyega were presented their figures at DisneyÃ¢Â€Â™s D23 event in August, Ã¢Â€Âœtheir reactions were priceless,Ã¢Â€Â Vignocchi says.
Adds Blackburn: Ã¢Â€ÂœThey were so genuinely excited to be video-game characters. You show them the toy and they love it, but you actually show them what they do in the game and Daisy actually squealed.Ã¢Â€Â
The Disney Infinity brain trust admits that the Force Awakens movieÃ‚Â personalitiesÃ‚Â have proven more of a challenge to perfectÃ‚Â than the legacy characters gamers have seen thus far, such as Jedi knights Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano in the Twilight of the Republic play set (which takes placeÃ‚Â during time ofÃ‚Â the movie prequels) and original-trilogy regulars Luke and Leia in Rise Against the Empire.
Blackburn explains that theÃ‚Â new play set is a tougher challenge because his teamÃ‚Â only hadÃ‚Â one film to pull from whereas the other setsÃ‚Â each had three. And in a strange way, he doesnÃ¢Â€Â™t feel like he knows Kylo and Poe as well as, say, Han Solo and Chewbacca.Ã‚Â With Force Awakens, Ã¢Â€Âœwe got concept art and characterÃ‚Â descriptions, you read the script and then you go make the game. We send things back, and the team that is making the film looks it over to make sure itÃ¢Â€Â™s right.Ã¢Â€Â
Plus, Vignocchi has also seenÃ‚Â pressure on the development side because of the high security that The Force Awakens has hadÃ‚Â on all levels.
He recalls when they sent designs for characters’ toyÃ‚Â molds to various factories they work with in China, Ã¢Â€Âœwe were all just begging, Ã¢Â€Â˜Please donÃ¢Â€Â™t let our figures be the ones that leak first,Ã¢Â€Â™ Ã¢Â€Â he says with a laugh. Ã¢Â€ÂœItÃ¢Â€Â™s a huge burden (but) a great responsibility to create this gaming experience.Ã¢Â€Â
John Vignocchi, VP of production for Disney Infinity, talks to USA TODAY’s Brett Molina about the new video game ‘Disney Infinity 3.0: Star Wars.’