By Matt Cabral
As the VP of Production at Marvel Games, TQ Jefferson has one foot firmly planted in the Marvel Universe with the other distinctly in the world of games. This makes him uniquely qualified to speak to why Marvel fans will enjoy the next installment of “Disney Infinity” as well as why those familiar with the game should look forward to welcoming the Avengers.
We spoke with TQ about all this as well as what story “Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes” will follow, alternate costumes for popular characters and much more.
Marvel.com: When did you guys start working on “Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes”?
TQ Jefferson: We started working on the Marvel component, started collaborating with Avalanche and Disney Interactive, I would say, well over a year ago. Or more. The conversation started well before “Disney Infinity 1.0” launched. Then we began in earnest sometime after that.
Marvel.com: Aside from the Marvel name and the characters, what is Marvel’s involvement in the project?
TQ Jefferson: We are actually involved in every creative step in the process, so in the early talks it was about which characters are going to go in, which are going to be represented in the play sets and in the toy box. What elements are going to go into the toy box. What stories are going to be told in the play sets and in the toy box games. The character design, the look of the characters, which costumes they are going to appear in. The power disks, how they work. Really, we have been holding hands with Avalanche and DI every step of the way. Because we want to make sure that the game is true to character, that it’s going to be fun and engaging, which isn’t hard because the first one was. And that it’s an authentic Marvel experience. So that requires us to be very involved and it’s been a great collaboration.
Marvel.com: Speaking to that same point, for people who maybe didn’t follow the first “Disney Infinity,” but they love Marvel—do you think there is enough here for them to embrace this now?
TQ Jefferson: I think there is more than enough. I think in the Avengers play set alone, there is more than enough to satisfy the appetite of Marvel fans that were hesitant on picking up “Infinity.” There is a lot of game play there. You saw the six core Avengers and all of their game play is unique. That is tough to do when you are working with an ensemble in video games. It’s so many systems and so many powers, but the team has really done an excellent job of realizing the Avengers in this context. And I know they tease that there is more content to come. You know, the Avengers by themselves in toy box is plenty, but there is even more stuff that is coming that we are going to be talking about later. So I think this is one of the single greatest offerings of Marvel characters in a very long time, especially on console, in a very, very long time.
Marvel.com: Do you think it differs from previous Marvel games? There have obviously been other kids and family friendly games like “LEGO Marvel Super Heroes,” which feature these same characters. Does “Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes” offer a different experience?
TQ Jefferson: I think so. I think it’s a combination of what characters we have picked [and] what story we are presenting for the player to play through in the play sets. How we have realized the different power sets. So you are seeing characters do things in slightly different ways than what you have seen in “LEGO Marvel Super Heroes” or even in “Ultimate Alliance” or what have you. Just the Infinity platform creates an atmosphere where Marvel dads and Marvel moms can play with their kids and that doesn’t happen a lot with Marvel. We have often been very, very core in our approach to games and I think this is going to broaden Marvel’s approachability in games and allow parents to play with their kid and that is unique to this title.
Marvel.com: Are you able to talk at all about the story that the play set will tell?
TQ Jefferson: So you got to see [in the trailer] New York covered in ice, you got to see frost giants, you got to see Loki feeling good about himself. You got to see M.O.D.O.K.. M.O.D.O.K. is like Jell-O—there is always room for M.O.D.O.K., you know what I mean? He’s just awesome. He’s ridiculous and awesome in equal measure. And that is just the one play set. So there is a grand story written by Brian Michael Bendis, who is arguably our biggest gun in terms of storytelling. So I think what I can say is that it’s gonna be epic, it’s going to include all of those characters, it’s going to include the Avengers put to the test, just done in a format that we haven’t quite seen before.
Marvel.com: Can we expect it to be similar in length from previous Disney Infinity play sets?
TQ Jefferson: I think it depends on your skills as a player, to be honest with you. So it could be longer or shorter. But I think we aim for being on par or going bigger in wherever we could. So I don’t think people are going to be wanting for game play, but another great thing is, the structured game play that is in the toy box, which I think is a great innovation: The idea of giving people something right out of the box that they can enjoy and play. So between the play set and the toy box, there is plenty to play with.
Marvel.com: Marvel Manhattan—is that where the play set takes place?
TQ Jefferson: The Avengers play set is based in Marvel Manhattan. The toy box is its own entity. The structured game play is Asgard for the Tower Defense game. We tease little tidbits here and there and we will talk more about that later, but the big challenge was realizing Marvel Manhattan and that is what you are going to get in the Avengers play set.
Marvel.com: Will we see multiple costumes? That’s a big thing for Marvel fans.
TQ Jefferson: Yeah, I think that is a way of us tapping into the lore without having to provide a lot of exposition. You got to see Iron Patriot in one of those establishing shots [and that’s a team-up]; you get to see Winter Soldier [and] that is another team up, which I think is an awesome addition to the game. But then there are the costume changes. It went from Avengers Assemble Iron Man to Mark 42 costume. So there are a number of those throughout costume changes and team ups and there is actually the more than just those two feature offerings and it really does allow us to go much deeper without burying you in continuity and story and so forth and again; if you have just seen the films, there is something in there for you. If you have watched the show, there is something there for you. If you are a longtime fan, there is even more stuff in there for you. So we are actually hitting all of those levers with the power disks and the play sets and the locations and it is a very complete Marvel experience.
Continue to follow Marvel.com and our social channels for all the latest news and more on “Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes”