Disney Infinity devs 'always looking for way to expand on characters'

We talk to Jeff Bunker, VP of art direction for Avalanche Software, on the new Marvel Disney Infinity figures.

Disney Infinity is continuing to support the 3.0 platform by releasing more playsets throughout 2016. The latest, Marvel Battlegrounds, features four-person brawler action and is compatible with all your Marvel Disney Infinity figures. The Battlegrounds play set includes a Captain America: The First Avenger figure. With figures based on Ant-Man, Black Panther, Vision, and Black Suit Spider-Man also released, we spoke with Jeff Bunker, VP of art direction for Avalanche Software, about the new figures and what we can expect moving forward.

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Disney

GameSpot: We have four new figures plus Black Suit Spider-Man coming. How was that number determined?

Jeff Bunker: It was mainly by what we felt was most relevant. That's obviously currently driven by the films. We knew Vision, Ant-Man and Black Panther were going to be very relevant during this time period.

We know we're getting other figures from the other franchises. Will we still see more Marvel figures this year?

I'm not sure what we've announced yet, so I don't dare say.

Since Ant-Man can change size, was there any challenges in figuring out his design?

All the characters like Ant-Man or Tinker Bell, their relative size to the other characters is just tiny. When you make a figure out of them, you obviously don't want to make them tiny. You want to show them off as well as possible. It's always kind of a challenge to figure how we'll handle those characters. With Ant-Man, we went over and over about what kind of thing we could put with him to indicate what his scale was. The thing I was really happy about was we were able to put him in the same environment as the other characters coming out with him, but we made him feel he's at a much smaller scale by having him sitting on top of a screw head. That turned out pretty good.

Was having a really small Ant-Man on a regular-size base ever considered?

It was actually talked about a little bit. We didn't feel we could do the character justice or the fans might feel ripped off if they just had a little spec on the base. It was discussed. We just dismissed it pretty quickly.

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Disney

From this group, which character has been your favorite to work on?

I get asked that quite often. I have to say, quite honestly, I'm not saying this as a PR thing, my favorite is always the character I'm working on right at the time. Each one had challenges that made it hard and made it fun. Ant-Man is a very busy character. Although he's very dark overall, there's a lot of different things going on with his costume -- the piping, the red and the black, and so forth. He was challenging, but he was fun to figure out.

With the release of Black Suit Spider-Man, even though we have discs that offer costume changes, what are the chances of seeing other character variants like this?

I think we're always looking for ways to expand on the characters. If you're a fan of a character, we want to be able to give you as much value as we can.

For the Star Wars figures, we saw light-up lightsabers. Are you exploring other options like this?

We're trying to create something for collectors at a reasonable price. We're always looking for ways to expand on the value and make them cooler.

We were told new play sets are coming for Star Wars, Disney and Pixar. Can we assume this means more figures for those as well?

I think you can assume that. The figures are the character unlock. That's how you get the figures into the game.

Do you guys work on each brand one at a time or are they all being worked on in various stages?

They're all worked on together. It's a fun mash-up in the studio. We're constantly working with the filmmakers at Pixar at the same time we're working with the creatives at Marvel. There's conversations going on with the creatives about what we ought to be doing visually on the figures. There's also conversation going on about what the mechanics ought to be. Ant-Man is a good example with his mechanics as he gets small. He's pretty fast and strong, but he's small and disappears. You start to run out of ideas and they suggested we amp things up by using an army of ants.

Marvel Battlegrounds (with new Captain America figure) is now available along with Ant-Man, Black Panther, Vision and Black Suit Spider-Man.

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