Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of talking to Jeff Matsushita, the executive producer on Kinect Rush: A Disney – Pixar Adventure. Our fifteen-minute discussion took on the form of an interview, which focused on the upcoming motion game’s content and its surrounding structure.
Read on to learn more about what looks to be a unique and very immersive Kinect title, which should definitely appeal to Pixar‘s expansive audience. After all, it culls from some of the studio’s most beloved properties: Toy Story, The Incredibles, Up, Ratatouille and Cars.
WGTC: What advantages did developing for Kinect bring to your team?
Jeff Matsushita: What we really envisioned was creating a magical fan experience that would allow users to become a part of the Disney – Pixar world. Kinect allowed us to do this in a new and exciting way, by including a scanning system that allows users to become their own unique character within that world.
Going further, we were also able to create an adaptive control system. It’s not the kind of thing that you will find on the back of the game’s box, but it adds a lot of accessibility to Kinect Rush. The Cars world is a great example of this. Kids will go into the game with an idea of how to drive, but their movements won’t be as refined as those of an adult. The experience will adapt to that, allowing people with no gaming context to play. Kinect Rush is all about jumping into the Pixar world, where players can become their own character.
WGTC: Since it’s based on animated films that are targeted to children, it’s safe to assume that Kinect Rush: A Disney – Pixar Adventure will be labelled as a kids’ title. How did you go about making it appeal to a wider audience, such as parents and hardcore gamers?
JM: I don’t think Pixar films are looked upon as being only for kids. Some say that there’s more emotion in the first fifteen minutes of Up, than in most other movies. Their films are for everyone, dealing with some mature content that kids won’t understand.
With this game, we wanted to create something that wasn’t just a tie-in. Working with previously-released titles let us step back and analyze them, in order to create something different: a digital playground within the Pixar universe. Players start off by playing a “What If?” game, where they’re asked questions like whether they like to play cards. Then, it transitions into the created world. What’s great is that we were able to work directly with Pixar, in order to create a world that fans will identify with.
WGTC: How is the game’s stage selection system structured?
JM: The Pixar Park is essentially a 3D hub for episode selection, made up of episodes from five separate films, using a three act structure for each one. Players start off by entering the hub world, interacting within it using their created character. Levels are unlocked from the start, so you don’t have to finish one world to move onto the next. Players can choose which one they’d like to play next, based on their own personal preference.
We’ve also created a great and expansive unlock system. Kids love replay value, so what we’ve done is created that unlock system. Players are going through levels, collecting coins, while a timer is increasing. Their final scores are calculated based on a time versus collectibles system. Secondary and tertiary goals then unlock for their second and third times through, along with special abilities. New buddies (ie. Buzz Lightyear and Woody) can also be unlocked for use outside of their native stages, complete with their own unique abilities that can change the level’s flavor. This is true for all worlds. You’ll also find that there are in-game achievements (ie. jump 200 times,) in addition to regular Xbox 360 achievements.
WGTC: Based on released gameplay footage, it seems like Kinect Rush includes a lot of navigating and collecting. What other major elements were implemented into the experience, in order to set it apart from the other motion titles out there?
JM: One of the things we have going for us other than our player scanning mechanic, is the dynamic tuning system. It will react based on players’ abilities, such as their range of motion. The game won’t force players to all play the exact same way.
WGTC: How did you narrow down the selection process to the five included films? Also, how did that process work?
JM: That’s an interesting question. We spent lots of time with Pixar, discussing this. They were excited by the opportunity presented. The Incredibles, for example, is ten years old. Kinect Rush allows us to bring it to a new generation in a brand new way. Keep in mind that Pixar has never included five movies in one game before. They also let us choose some of their more emotional titles.
WGTC: Is there a chance that other Disney-Pixar collaborations will appear as future DLC stages?
JM: We went in with the aim to create a family experience, knowing that families don’t like to be nickel and dimed with downloadable content. We wanted to provide them with bang for their buck.
WGTC: Does Kinect Rush include multiplayer? If so, how does it work?
JM: We support two-player, same screen multiplayer. To put this into context; we aimed to make it collaborative, instead of competitive. Other players can take control of buddies, which lets them help out with cooperative puzzles.
WGTC: What do you hope Disney and Pixar fans will get out of this experience?
JM: What’s really cool is we were able to create original worlds based on five incredibly popular films. Hopefully they’ll find a new way to experience Pixar‘s world like never before.
We would like to thank Jeff Matsushita for his time, and all of this valuable insight into Kinect Rush: A Disney – Pixar Adventure. Hopefully you’ve learned a lot about one of Kinect’s more interesting exclusives.
Asobo Studios‘ passion project will make its way onto North American retail store shelves this Tuesday, March 20. We’ll have a review up in the very near future, so check back for that!