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Screen Shot

Disney aims to stretch limits of video games

September 28, 1995
Web posted at: 8 p.m. EDT

From Entertainment Correspondent Dennis Michael

HOLLYWOOD, California (CNN) -- Pocahontas, characters from "The Lion King" and others from the daytime animated "Gargoyles" series and the coming "Toy Story" film -- all are part of new video games being rolled out by Disney Interactive for the fall and Christmas season. And they all have something to live up to.

Kendall Lockhart

"We have no choice but to do the best quality product," said Kendall Lockhart, part of the creative development team at Disney Interactive. "(Otherwise) the company wouldn't let us release it even if we wanted to release it. The standard, the bar is extremely high. Look at our animated films. Look at our properties. Look at the amount of money and time that are put into those things. We have to do the same amount."

Users will come to the Disney Interactive characters with ready familiarity. But Disney game designers are assigned to go beyond the original film or TV show, making each game something new.

"I always ask the question, `Now I know the world, now we know the story, now we know the characters, what do I get to do?'" Lockhart said. "And that is the toughest question, because it's the difference between film and other art forms and what we're going to be doing in interactive. You and I want to do something in this world, we want to play, move around. We want to be moved, but it's by our actions. It's being proactive rather than reactive, and active rather than passive."

Screen Shot of Game

Disney is concentrating right now on the mainstream platforms for interactive games, Sega and Nintendo, and on expanding older 16-bit platforms to the needs of such unprecedented products as the game for the coming computer-animated film "Toy Story." (453K QuickTime movie)

"The size of the characters, the number of characters on the screen at the same time -- it's not been done to date," Kendall said. "So again, just on a technology side, we've delivered breakthrough programming, breakthrough engineering that has not been done on other games. ... The reason for doing these things is that we think we have delivered the film experience. You get to play, in the comedy, with these really big characters."

Playing Games

Between the 16-bit video games, the 32-bit platforms and the personal computer CD-ROM products, Disney sees its year-old interactive division as going beyond the hard-core gamer audience, stretching the business into the mainstream.

"People that have never been drawn to the computer or game player as a form of entertainment experience are going to find the products that are being developed now very engaging," said Marc Teren, vice president of Disney Interactive. "And I think we are going to find a much broader market than the traditional video game enthusiast."

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