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May 20

Toy Story 3: Pixar and Avalanche Software Q&A

Sid Shuman's Avatar Posted by on May 20, 2010 // Director, SIEA Social Media

We’ve shown you the PS3-exclusive character, Zurg. We’ve given you our full hands-on preview. We’ve even given you a peek inside Pixar Studios.

Now there’s only one thing left to do: talk to the developers of Toy Story 3: The Video Game! The PlayStation.Blog participated in a roundtable that included the film’s director and senior production staff from Avalanche Software, and we’ve highlighted the best exchanges below.

Movie-based games have a mixed track record. What will make Toy Story 3 work well as a game?

We think it’s successful because Avalanche Software tapped into something great — the fundamental idea of play, of kids at play. It’s something we’ve done in all three of the movies, where we’ve seen Andy playing with the toys. This free, unbridled, silly play that’s exhilarating to watch. In Toy Story 3, we decided to go into that world and see what play time is like from a toy’s perspective. Avalanche Software tapped into that early on with this notion of the Toy Box Mode, which was inspired by the beginning of [the TS3 film] and what it’s like to be inside one of those play times. — Lee Unkrich, director, Toy Story 3

The whole idea of working in a kid’s imagination is something that you can build a good experience out of. When you’re playing a game, or playing with toys, you’re doing two very similar things. Another thing that allowed us to break the mold was the amount of time we had to work on the game, two and a half years. We had the amount of time you need to test it, refine it, and iterate the game to make it as good as gamers expect. We pushed ourselves. We felt that our initial pitch was a creative risk, but throughout the course of making the game we took a lot of technical risks, making sure that the engine was top-notch and that everything looked good. Towards the end, as Pixar finished up the film, we started having daily reviews with Pixar animators. So in a way, Pixar quality was being infused by Pixar. — John Blackburn, CEO, Avalanche Software

I’ve been making games for 15 years, and I’ve made quite a few film titles. We never got a good lead time. We have a lot of pride in what we’re trying to do, but we never had the ability to make the game we’d like to make for those films. In this case, Pixar has allowed into the process much earlier than anyone else. It was two and a half years ago, and so we could be more adventurous, take some risks, and come up with the Toy Box mode. It gave us a lot of freedom. — Jeff Bunker, art director, Avalanche Software

I remember leaving Avalanche Software’s pitch for making the game, and we were so excited because the Toy Box idea was so strong. That’s key at Pixar: if the idea is good, we’ll figure out the design and the details. Everybody loved their take from the get-go. — Bob Pauley, production designer, Pixar

Toy Story 3: The Video Game for PS3Toy Story 3: The Video Game for PS3

How closely does Toy Story 3: The Video Game follow Toy Story 3 the film?

We wanted to tell a story that hit on the high points of the film and lent themselves naturally to gameplay. We didn’t want to wedge gameplay into the narrative to advance the plot from point A to point B. We created a structure where the game is kind of a retrospective of the movie. We aren’t trying to tell the whole story, but re-live parts of it and linger in certain scenes for a little longer — Andy’s house, Sunny Side Day Care, and so on. Story mode became a companion to what we consider the “meat” of the experience, the Toy Box mode. That’s where we allow you to play with Andy’s toys the way you want to play with them. Story mode definitely has a beginning, middle, and end, and it follows the movie. But the ending scene of the film is not the ending scene of the game, per se. — Jason Katz, story editor, Pixar

How does cooperative play work in Toy Story 3: The Video Game? Are there any team-based moves?

Yes, absolutely. You can pick up and throw other players in single-player or multiplayer. Buzz can throw Jessie up on a shelf, for example, to get to areas you normally couldn’t reach. You can do it in Toy Box mode, too. You can do separate missions, you don’t have to stay together. One player can go off and do ten missions while the other player is doing missions. Then you can come together and solve puzzles together. —Mike Thompson, creative director, Avalanche Software

Final question…does the Buzz Lightyear video game from Toy Story 2 appear in this game? Is it playable?

Yes! It’s all about capturing the emotion of the experience. In the movie’s version of the Buzz Lightyear game, you fly down to the planet’s surface, battle against all these robots that Buzz blows away, and then then a boss fight. So that doesn’t quite work. We wanted to take that experience and translate it into something a little bit longer, something that made more sense for gameplay, but remains authentic to the feeling you got when you saw the Buzz Lightyear game in Toy Story 2. Great pains were taken to make it feel…right. — Jonathan Warner, senior producer, Avalanche Software

Toy Story 3: The Video Game hits the PS3 and PSP on June 15th, three days before the film’s premiere.

//Add Your Own

22 Comments   8 Replies


+ D-BOY345 on May 20th, 2010 at 12:19 pm said:

lol y would they make a game before a movie


+ S13579 on May 20th, 2010 at 12:19 pm said:

Hey Sid you have the same name as the bully from Toy Story 1. In what ways will the PlayStation Move be used with this game?

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    + Sid Shuman on May 21st, 2010 at 12:39 am said:

    Hah, guilty as charged :-) The PlayStation Move support will be added a couple months after release via a downloadable update, and it will include mini-games such as a Zurg shooting gallery and some other stuff. That’s all I know for now!


+ RichCanGlide on May 20th, 2010 at 12:25 pm said:


You gotta love that evil laugh. :)


+ moup94 on May 20th, 2010 at 12:35 pm said:

No1 wants this! For the PSP you should release Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Heroes 3 kthx!


+ GoodFella2487 on May 20th, 2010 at 12:55 pm said:

#4: You could not be more wrong. Both the game and film are going to make huge profits.


+ ycole11 on May 20th, 2010 at 12:56 pm said:

Wow, this is looking really nice. How does the platforming in this game compare to Toy Story 2 on the Playstation.

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    + Sid Shuman on May 21st, 2010 at 12:41 am said:

    You know, I never played TS2. The platforming stuff is good, you can yank yourself up onto ledges (unless you’re Zurg, that is).


+ F-minus on May 20th, 2010 at 1:03 pm said:

ill probly never buy this, i will play it, but i wont buy or rent it…. seems fun but ill stick to LittleBigPlanet for my none killing (or mass bloody) game. LBP2…CANT WAIT!!!!


+ plaztiksyke on May 20th, 2010 at 1:47 pm said:

Sorry, but I’m just not interested in this. It looks like yet another upscaled PS2/Wii game, with it’s simplistic models, static animation cycles, and flat landscape. On top of this, it’s not even 1080p!

It’s great to see more family friendly content, but this just doesn’t have the creative depth or technical achievement I look for in games I pay retail prices for.

Still, I hope it does well for you. Good luck! :)

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    + Sid Shuman on May 21st, 2010 at 12:44 am said:

    When you see it in motion, and see how much depth there is in the Toy Box mode, you might change your tune. Fans of the film and fans of the Lego series — and there are a lot of each — will find special pleasure with this game.


+ HardCor on May 20th, 2010 at 1:55 pm said:

I’m equally anticipating both 1)taking my 5-year-old son to see the movie in 3D on the IMAX and 2) buying this for his birthday (so I can be Zurg!) I can’t wait! HA HA HA!! Daddy the Super-Villain FTW!


+ starBlinky01 on May 20th, 2010 at 2:02 pm said:

This doesnt look too bad. I remember ToyStory for N64 I think it was, that game rocked!

Hope this is okay too. Can we see more of singleplayer please? Or is it all about the toybox?..

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    + Sid Shuman on May 21st, 2010 at 12:46 am said:

    Story mode’s been kept under tight wraps as it reflects certain spoilers in the film. The Toy Box mode is a big, big part of the game, but it’s also “safe” territory because it won’t spoil the flick.


+ Stuffgamer1 on May 20th, 2010 at 2:03 pm said:

@D-BOY345: I assume you’re referring to the game releasing three days before the movie? I’m not sure exactly WHY they do that myself, but it’s become the norm for movie games.

This is the only movie game I’ve ever been really excited for. Major props to all involved in its making! I’m probably going to pick it up at release, but I won’t play it until I see the movie.


+ GRG89 on May 20th, 2010 at 2:09 pm said:

I still have my Toy Story for Sega Genesis…Awesome game back in the day

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    + Sid Shuman on May 21st, 2010 at 12:46 am said:

    Good memory, forgot the original was on Genesis!


+ Frejim on May 20th, 2010 at 2:21 pm said:

already preordered!!!! Cant wait


+ drepsx3 on May 20th, 2010 at 3:03 pm said:

I really want this for PSP so i wanted to know when are we gonna see some footage of the PSP Version? Also is this coming to PSP Go?

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    + Sid Shuman on May 21st, 2010 at 12:47 am said:

    It’s under works, but I didn’t get a chance to see it — will let you know if I learn more!


+ Serpent541 on May 20th, 2010 at 4:24 pm said:

this game looks like an awesome family type game. Toy Box mode sounds like a lot of fun.

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    + Sid Shuman on May 21st, 2010 at 12:47 am said:

    If you liked the Lego games, this will be right up your alley.


+ superstewie on May 20th, 2010 at 7:36 pm said:

now! with added Zurg!


+ MKJ93 on May 20th, 2010 at 8:26 pm said:

hey, this doesnt relate to the the article, but will the playstation patrol be coming to the Minnesota Airshow in St. Cloud this year?


+ PurplePigs on May 21st, 2010 at 12:51 am said:

I might pick this up. Does it have any kind of co-op? And will we see Toy Story 2 under the PS1 classics in the Playstation Store? Loved that game!

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    + Sid Shuman on May 21st, 2010 at 12:13 pm said:

    Yup, two-player split-screen co-op :)


+ BalramRules on May 21st, 2010 at 10:51 am said:

“That was beyond satisfactory,” “MWUAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAAHHAHA!!!” XD
Wada jwker =D


+ Arootbeer6 on May 21st, 2010 at 3:20 pm said:

Will Rex be playable?


+ Arootbeer6 on June 2nd, 2010 at 4:15 pm said:

Rex should be DLC!


+ Arootbeer6 on June 3rd, 2010 at 5:56 pm said:

I mean, Rex should be playable through DLC. Please?

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