The Disney brass wanted "something huge" that brought the game space 'in line' with other areas of the business, like movies and TV. They came to the idea of creating a platform, not just a game.
The developers suddenly floated the idea of having a single place where all Disney content could meet. Initially their "executive sponsor" John Lasseter "did not like the idea."
"We began working on this project about three years ago as a spiritual successor to the Toy Story game. When we started this off we were creating a Buzz Lightyear game. As our new executives came within Interactive they asked us to start thinking big. They didn't want just one game, they wanted something huge that would be at the level of quality that Disney does in every other line of business in the company," Vignocchi explained.
"And so they challenged us to think big. It wasn't just us either, it was every one of the game directors around the company, they wanted huge ideas, innovative ideas that would really push Disney forward. Part of it came with an executive change, there was this mandate of, 'you guys are some of the best at what you do and we're one of the biggest entertainment companies in the world, why aren't we innovating in the game spaces?'"
It simply wasn't enough to focus on any one property in Disney's IP arsenal.
"Having that mandate given to us, to then be able to go and think big and not just think about making a game based on Tangled or making a game based on Tron but rather change the perspective and say what if we made a platform, what if we made something where all of Disney's interactive content could live? And that's one of things we approached John Lasseter about, he's kind of been our executive sponsor on this particular project," he continued.
"We worked with John on Toy Story 3 and we worked with John on Cars 2. When we initially approached him with the idea of taking lots of different Disney and bringing them into a central platform he did not like the idea. Filmmakers don't like the idea in general." Of course the powers that be at Disney were convinced and today they're pumping out designs for physical action figures to go along with Disney Infinity. There's a lot of pitching in across the company.
"A lot of effort has gone into creating the Infinity figures. Each of the figures was designed by our team at Avalanche and carefully reviewed, revised, sometimes multiple times, and approved by the various actors and directors responsible for those brands and characters. Our team at Avalanche also worked alongside Disney Consumer Products and The Disney Stores to take our 3D models and make them ready for toy production."
"It was truly a collaborative effort across multiple divisions to bring Infinity to life."
Check out our full interview with John Vignocchi on Disney Infinity, which releases on Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, Wii U, 3DS and PC this June in North America. The toy figures 'interact' with the video game, much like Activision's Skylanders.