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Where Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens And Disney Infinity’s Playset Part Ways

by Jeff Cork on Feb 12, 2016 at 08:00 AM

TT Fusion is putting its Lego spin on Star Wars: The Force Awakens with their upcoming game, but they aren’t the first studio to adapt the events of the film to games. Disney Infinity 3.0 had that honor, releasing a playset based on the movie to tie in with Episode VII’s launch. Despite sharing a common source, they offer two different takes on the new Star Wars franchise. Here’s what’s different (and similar) about those games, for people who might be wary about double-dipping.

One of the biggest differences between the two games (and their respective approaches to the content) is related to Disney Infinity’s toys-to-life roots. Playsets ship with two characters, with additional figures available individually. That put Avalanche in a tricky position – they obviously wanted to give players access to co-op in a way that makes sense for the story. At the same time, many of the film’s characters and events are spread across the galaxy, only interacting with one another a few times. 

When you buy Disney Infinity 3.0, you get Finn and Rey packed in. They’re the characters that best lend themselves to being the default co-op characters, since they spend so much time together. That does mean, however, that the game plays fairly fast and loose with the storyline. For example, the game rushes through the film’s opening, skipping any gameplay featuring Poe Dameron and BB-8’s interactions on Jakku – events which are pivotal to the overall arc. Instead, after a brief TIE Fighter sequence, Rey stumbles upon Finn, BB-8 in tow, and they immediately fall into the underground wreckage of an Imperial Star Destroyer. (You can see the opening in our Test Chamber.)

In contrast, Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens has access to a larger cast of playable characters, since TT Fusion isn’t tied to manufacturing collectables. From the gameplay we saw during our cover-story trip, and from an outline of the game’s story beats during a presentation, the Lego game is adhering pretty closely to the flow of the movie – even though there are definitely more bananas and slapstick moments than what audiences saw in theaters. 

Disney Infinity’s playset was released with the film, and given the typical length of game production – not to mention the levels of secrecy that surrounded the film – it’s safe to assume that the bulk of its development was made before anyone from Avalanche was able to see the finished film. Interestingly enough, the game does include a sequence based on a scrapped scene that was in the screenplay but didn’t make it onto the screen. In the game, players have a boss battle with Unkar Plutt and his goons outside of Maz Kanata’s castle. Plutt, as it turns out, is still a little peeved about losing possession of a certain spacecraft. TT Fusion told us the team considered having that sequence in the game, but they abandoned it after seeing the film and noticing that it wasn’t there. That doesn’t mean, however, that players of Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens will only get to play through things that occurred during the film’s timeline.

Disney Infinity incorporates new dialog from the film’s actors to tell its story, whereas TT Fusion is using the audio from the film. As we’ve seen in the past (and from what we saw during the demo), that doesn’t mean that the story in Lego Star Wars will necessarily be played straight. While the spoken words may be ripped from the movies, the game’s creative team uses background gags and funny animations to lighten up otherwise serious moments – such as chucking Captain Phasma into a trash can. And on that subject, players will experience some of the film’s most devastating events, which Disney Infinity’s playset had a tendency to sidestep. Avalanche chose to find humor in side missions, like rounding up mouse droids or running astromechs through a car-wash style cleaner.

Creative types may get more mileage from Disney Infinity’s game, though both titles do provide outlets for players who want to express their individuality. Lego games have given players the opportunity to create their own playable heroes, by mixing and matching components from various characters. It’s a perfect use of the minifigure template, really. Disney Infinity’s customization doesn’t include the same cosmetic depth, but characters do have extensive skill trees to upgrade. And, of course, players unlock toys and other items through the campaign that they can then incorporate into their own toy-box designs.

Ultimately, if you have to pick one or the other to play with your family (or solo), it comes down to what you want to do. Players who are looking for an emphasis on hub-world action and creating their own adventures using creative tools would do well to check out Disney Infinity 3.0’s playset. On the other hand, if you enjoyed the previous Lego Star Wars games and want to get a similar (but more refined) take on The Force Awakens, you’ll be able to do so on June 28.

Be sure to come back to the site throughout the month for more exclusive features, interviews, and video content.