Disney bringing ‘Star Wars’ to game platform

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Disney bringing ‘Star Wars’ to game platform

ANAHEIM, California - It probably would have been easier to break into the Death Star.

For the video game makers working on “Star Wars: The Force Awakens’’ content in the forthcoming installment of the “Disney Infinity’’ toys-to-life franchise, getting their hands on the top-secret script involved high-security protocols rivaling the Galactic Empire.

“We had to go through biometric scanning, and there were code names for everything,’’ said John Vignocchi, vice president of production at Disney Interactive Studios and emperor of the “Infinity’’ franchise. “It was without a doubt the most complicated thing we’ve ever worked on in the five years I’ve been here.’’

That’s probably not hyperbole considering the ambitious “Infinity’’ has featured a wide variety of characters from across Disney’s alliance of intellectual properties. Everyone from Iron Man of Marvel’s “The Avengers’’ to Elsa of “Frozen’’ has appeared as playable characters that can uncharacteristically play together.

Similar to Activision’s “Skylanders’’ series, “Infinity’’ requires users to place a physical toy figure on a reader to virtually portray that character on screen, either in franchise-specific “playsets’’ or in the open-ended “toy box’’ mode, which allows users to design their own levels with an array of Disney characters, vehicles and props.

The brand-busting introduction of “Infinity’’ in 2013 helped push Disney’s interactive division to become profitable for the first time in six years, though Disney reported in its Aug. 4 earnings call that “Infinity’’ sales have recently slipped. They are expected to strike back Aug. 30 with a “Star Wars’’-centric third installment.

“Disney Infinity 3.0’’ will feature a collection of characters from across George Lucas’s sprawling sci-fi universe, such as Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader from the original trilogy, Yoda and Anakin Skywalker from the prequels and “Clone Wars’’ animated series, as well as all-new recruits from filmmaker J.J. Abrams’s “The Force Awakens.’’

During a presentation at the fan-filled D23 Expo on Sunday, actors John Boyega and Daisy Ridley were to unveil the figures of their “Force Awakens’’ protagonists, soldier Finn and scavenger Rey. The pair will be featured in a playset that will serve as the only way for fans to interactively experience the plot from the hugely anticipated new film.

When “Infinity’’ launched in 2013, Disney dubbed it a platform and promised it would be a new way to give consumers interactive content based on films and TV shows, instead of typical stand-alone titles. That’s never been more apparent than in the company’s decision not to release a separate “Force Awakens’’ game. AP

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