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Disney Interactive had an amazing exhibit at E3 with beautiful displays and plenty of games to play. However, one game in particular caught our eye – Disney Infinity 3.0. The open-world action-adventure game spotlights the Star Wars franchise, whereas Disney Infinity 2.0 focused on Marvel characters. Ryan Rothenberger, Senior Producer at Disney Interactive, spent some time with us to talk about Disney Infinity 3.0.
For Infinity 3.0, we’ve really branched out and started utilizing other developers outside of just Avalanche Software. Avalanche is the core developer for Disney Infinity and they’re based out of Salt Lake City, Utah.
For Infinity 3.0 we went out and tried to find some of the best talent in the world. We have Ninja Theory on board from the United Kingdom, and they were the ones who developed the Twilight of the Republic Play Set. This developer’s strong suit is obviously combat. They took our current system and completely overhauled it, giving us a brand new lightsaber combat system. We have air juggles, pause combos, and a whole shebang of what you’d expect from the Heavenly Sword developer.
We were stuck with a tough decision because we have 50/60 characters that are already out in the world and we knew we’d have to retrofit all of those characters. If you play as Tinkerbell in the Toy Box and you have a flamingo mallet in your hand as a melee weapon, she’s going to use that brand new system. She’s going to look like a jedi, basically doing combos and everything. That was really a great piece of art development.
The Octane Engine
We use a proprietary engine for Infinity that Avalanche Software developed a couple of years ago, called the Octane Engine. We’ve basically been building upon it from there. All of the work that Sumo Digital, Ninja Theory, and Studio Gobo do – get folded back into the main engine. It’s really the only engine that’s able to support what we do in the Toy Box, which is four-player network, multiplayer, where everybody is a different character and every character has completely different movesets. It’s a great and powerful engine.
Challenges of Development
One of the biggest challenges is always the approval process when you’re dealing with franchises of this scale between Disney Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and you’re also dealing with a lot of stakeholders that are involved.
Getting everything approved is always going to be, not necessarily a challenge, but a long process because everybody is so invested in it and everyone knows these characters so well in the world, we have to make sure we treat them right. So really as far as obstacles go that’s probably the biggest one, the red tape to go through all the approvals to make sure we get everything right.
Outside of that though, there’s the timeline. We’re trying to get everything done in basically a year from 2.0 to 3.0 so it’s tough.
It will be on PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U, Microsoft Windows, Android, iOS and the whole shebang.
Our mobile version is also really interesting. We don’t port the Play Sets to mobile, but we port the entire Toy Box experience. So if I’m playing on my PS4 and I’m building a racetrack or a world, or whatever I’m building, I can save it to the cloud and immediately pick it up on my tablet right where I left off – continue building when I’m on the train or bus or something, and come back home and play on my PS4 exactly where I left off.
That cross-platform sharing is one of our crowning jewels on Infinity.
Goals for the Player Experience
What we want is the experience of when you’re a kid and you have all your toys on the floor and you’re playing G.I. Joe versus Transformers, or a Star Wars character versus a Marvel character. That’s really what we want. That sense of play is really what we’re going for.
Above and beyond that, we’re trying to create the best family game in the world. If you have kids, the combat system we put in (as I previously mentioned) for the lightsabers, is deep enough for me as a hardcore gamer that when my 7-year-old son sits down and plays, he can button mash and do stuff that looks great while I’m able to the do intricate air juggles and combos. The real goal is to get families to play together.
We honestly think that this version is where we’re hitting our stride with Infinity 3.0 and we offer such a variety of gameplay between our Play Sets, that there’s something truly for everyone.