Disney Infinity 3.0 developer on bringing Star Wars characters to the franchise | EW.com

Movies | Star Wars Galaxy

Disney Infinity 3.0 developer discusses bringing iconic Star Wars characters to the franchise

Disney Infinity 3.0 is venturing to a galaxy far, far away by allowing players to control characters from every corner of the Star Wars universe. From The Clone Wars’ Ahsoka to mainstays like Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa, each playable character will have a collectible figure. And the development team has strived to faithfully translate each iconic character into the game.

The game will introduce play sets that cover all of the Star Wars films, as well as introduce characters from throughout the cinematic entries and the animated series The Clone Wars and Rebels. Players choose which characters to play as by using real world figures that interact with the game, and each individual character and figure is given a lengthy and detailed development process.

Speaking with EW, Jeff Bunker, the VP of Art Development from the studio behind Disney Infinity, Avalanche Studios, discussed the challenges and opportunities behind bringing such memorable characters to the gaming franchise. Read on below for more, as well as see an exclusive look at the evolution Leia took from concept art to her final figure.

Entertainment Weekly: Can you tell me a little bit about the design that went into Leia, both the figure and her as a playable character (her gameplay type, going with specific costume choices, etc.) 
Jeff Bunker: First off, I’ll just say it was amazing and surreal getting to work on Star Wars, in general, and Leia, specifically. Most of development team at Avalanche grew up on the original Star War Episodes IV-VI and would never have dreamed it possible that some day we would get to work with those characters.  

Coming up with our own Infinitized version of Leia was really a fun challenge, but at the same time, very daunting. The fans of Star Wars are second to none in their passion, so we really felt we had to come up with a Leia that would hold up to their scrutiny and they would appreciate. 

When considering Leia, the first thing we had to decide was which Leia. As any fan of the films knows, there are a number of different outfits and hair styles she wears throughout the films. We always strive to capture the most iconic or representative attitude, pose and costume for any character, so it didn’t take very long to decide on the Leia with the bun hair style and white dress. There might not be a more famous costume in film.

We began the model looking for enough resemblance to Carrie Fisher to be authentic while still pushing the important features.  There was a fine line when creating her caricature, as it’s very easy to push too far and lose the appeal.

When talking with Lucasfilm about Leia, they made it clear that she was a strong woman… very independent, strong-willed and a leader… When designing her pose, she should not come off as sexy or sultry in any way. So we worked hard to find a pose that captured a moment where she is determined and in control.

Beyond the obvious excitement about bringing such iconic characters into the game, what gameplay and design doors did including Star Wars characters open up for the Disney Infinity franchise? 
With so many Jedi characters available in the game, it allowed us to double down on our lightsaber gameplay. It was exciting for us partner with Ninja Theory, the developer behind titles like Heavenly Sword and Devil May Cry, who had excelled in that kind of gameplay. We were also able to incorporate force powers with both push, pull and aerial mechanics. I think fans are going really enjoy the added depth we have been able to add to the game.

Obviously they’re a lot of big players, and there’s some great variety, but with so many beloved characters from the universe was it tough to whittle down the choices? 
We started with the appropriate stories for each of the playsets. Each playset represents a time period; “Twilight of the Republic” covering Episodes I through III and Clone Wars stories, and “Rise Against the Empire” encompassing everything in Episodes IV through VI. The character selection was determined by how we would retell those stories and which characters would have the most compelling role in terms of gameplay. For instance, we would have loved to have C-3PO and R2-D2 as figures but they just didn’t let themselves well as playable avatars. Can you imagine C-3PO running?

Beyond the characters from the film, we were excited that Lucas let us add the characters from the Star Wars Rebels animated TV series… and not only add them into the ToyBox but playable in each of the Star Wars play sets. They are really fun characters, both in personality and the gameplay they introduce.

I suppose, in the end, the criteria came down to who we thought the fans would expect and want most and who would be the most fun to play.

Disney Infinity 3.0 is set to release later this year for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii U, PC, iOS, and Android devices

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