Disney Interactive’s Mat Solie on Disney Infinity 3.0

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Sitting down in Melbourne to play with Disney Infinity 3.0 recently, I couldn’t help but feel like I was watching the last of the solo Marvel movies staged in the lead up to the original Avengers movie. I appreciated what I was seeing, but even more excited for what was to come.

Let me put it another way: I could see that the final pieces were being put into place before something was released that would really knock my socks off.

I mentioned this to Mat Solie, Main Producer of Disney Infinity 3.0, and he agreed. To a point.

“With the past two Infinitys, we got one done and then it was on to the other. I’m hoping we slow down,” he said, laughing. “Now is the fun part – the introductory part, done – and this is where it all comes together.

“Three years ago, we said, ‘we’ve made a Disney platformer!’ and people were like, ‘cute kids game’,” he began. “Then, we introduced Marvel, and now Star Wars, and people are going, ‘okay, you can really add anything’.”

To Solie, Infinity 3.0 already is The Avengers. But, with lightsabres and vehicle Play Sets and Mickey and Minnie and frying pans.

We’ll get to the frying pans later.

Whereas 2.0 added Marvel characters to the Infinity mix, it also improved mechanics and brought in the all-too-familiar skill tree. 3.0 continues to build on that, Solie said, not only adding in lightsabre-wielding favourites like Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, but reaching out to other developers to expand upon existing functionality and create some new stuff too.

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“If you want to rewind two years ago, we were – and we knew we were doing Star Wars — jokingly making cracks like, ‘lightsabres, sword combat; who would you get for sword combat? Huh huh huh, we would choose Platinum Games or Ninja Theory!’

“Six months later, we were talking with Ninja Theory, and we were like, ‘would you like to work on Disney Infinity’, and they were like, ‘yes, our kids love playing that game!’

“Then we said, ‘would you like to work on a Clone Wars era Play Set?’ and they were like, ‘Yes! Totally!’”

Do you blame anyone for wanting to work with Star Wars?

Solie quickly discovered that fellow developers were quite eager to work on new offerings.

“A lot of people want to work with us; they have kids and they want to be a part of Infinity,” he asserted. That fact created scenarios that proved to be mutually beneficial.

“Avalanche has their talents – they developed Infinity and the Octane engine and know puzzle platformers, but this was about going out and finding others that are the best at what they do,” Solis explained. “That’s why we went to Ninja Theory. Come on! Their last three games all involved swords and all were 90-rated.

“We announced at PAX a year or two ago that they were doing Marvel characters like Loki, and that was their initial, ‘hey, we’re learning to use Octane’-type introduction to the world,” he said.

“We legitimately found a way to leverage very talented people in the industry and add to the engine. Ninja Theory re-did all our work on sword combat, and that doesn’t just cover lightsabres. It extends to everyone; things like Rapunzel’s frying pan now use that work.”

You can judge for yourself if Solie, Avalanche Studios and Disney Interactive have managed to pull off a Whedonesque level of effort when Disney Infinity 3.0 hits stores on 3 September.