Disney Infinity 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Play Set director talks the challenge of adaptation

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is out today and so is the Disney Infinity Play Set. Shacknews recently had a chance to talk to director Vince Bracken about the challenges of bringing this Play Set to life, including dancing around spoilers, the film's darker tone, and whether players can expect to see more figures and more Toy Box content in the future.


Today is the day for Star Wars fans. After years of waiting, the most anticipated movie in decades has hit theaters. Star Wars: The Force Awakens resumes George Lucas' story from years after the original trilogy, introducing new characters, an all-new story, and whole new worlds. With so much out there, a gaming tie-in would be understandable, but Disney wasn't about to settle for a mundane game adaptation when Disney Infinity 3.0 is right there.

Today also marks the release of the Force Unleashed Play Set, which introduces new figures, power discs, and a story that follows the one from the movie. To learn more about the latest Play Set, Shacknews attended a late night Thursday screening of the film before speaking to Avalanche Software Play Set Director Vince Bracken.

Shacknews: What can you tell us about the Disney Infinity set for The Force Awakens?

Vince Bracken, Play Set Directot: Well, it follows the story and it has four great characters: Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron, and of course, Kylo Ren. As you play through the Play Set, we visit lots of locations that are from the film like Jakku, Takodona, the Star Killer base. We tried to tell the story as best as we can for a kids game, make sure it wasn't too scary or too serious for the little guys. Each of the characters have special moves, you can knock guys up into the air, you can throw grenades, Kylo can stop time [Force Phase], and stuff like that.

Shacknews: The lead-up to this Play Set has felt different from the past, because the original trilogy and the prequels are known quantities. With The Force Awakens, you've had to dance around plot points and spoilers, so in terms of design, how was this a challenge for the team?

Bracken: It was a challenge, but it was a positive challenge, because we had a great cooperation between us and [LucasFilm]. So it was a ton of back-and-forth, "Is this right?", "Is this going to work?" It was a lot of interaction back and forth. One of the nice things that they did was that they allowed us to read the script and then they gave us stills from the film and that was really how we were able to pull out every single detail out of those pictures.

Shacknews: What's the most exciting element of the movie that you were able to bring to the Play Set?

Bracken: It's a tough one, because I didn't get to see the movie until tonight. Tonight's the first time I've seen the movie. So I think the exciting thing is seeing how well we did it and how we did it right. I personally feel like we did a good job with it.

Shacknews: You've mentioned in the past that Ninja Theory has been helpful with the action elements of the Play Sets. How has their influence been felt here?

Bracken: Primarily in combat. Ninja Theory has a great reputation for really fun combat, expressive moves, that kind of stuff. So everything they did with The Clone Wars, we were able to pull over. Our enemies and our characters take advantage of all of those special moves and we take advantage of all the AI they brought in.

Shacknews: You kinda touched on this already, but this movie feels like it's dealing with noticeably darker material than previous Star Wars films. As a family-friendly property, what's been the challenge in designing this Play Set?

Bracken: First and foremost, we always have the kids in mind. We feel like it's a kids game and we want it to be a kids game, so it's easy to stay there. We don't have a lot of trouble. One of the things is, we keep things very toy-like. So whenever you're interacting or shooting things, they don't die, they fall apart. That's important to us. Any of the darker elements, we just didn't include, like... you know...

Shacknews: Alright, so we've seen the four figures. Are there any plans to add further figures from Episode VII?

Bracken: I'm gonna be vague on purpose on that one. We're looking at things. There could be stuff in the future. We're just not ready to make those announcements yet.

Shacknews: And of course, one of the best elements of these Play Sets is the ability to bring them into the Toy Box. What elements can you bring into the Toy Box? And in particular, have you thought about bringing any of those vehicles into the Toy Box Speedway?

Bracken: Actually, that's a good question. We really didn't bring any of those vehicles into the Speedway, but it would have been nice to see if we could. That's definitely something to think about for the future.

We would bring in different pieces. One of the most important things to us is that kids can always play their own way. So we like to give lots of different set pieces, so people can go in and create their own Jakku, their own Takodona, that kind of stuff with lots of different set pieces. Plus, we have all the enemies, all the mission givers, so anybody that you saw in the film that doesn't have a major role, you can bring them into the Toy Box and create your own experience with those guys.

The Disney Infinity Play Set for Star Wars: The Force Awakens is available today on all Disney Infinity platforms.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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