You can grab any LEGO game off the shelf these days and find yourself instantly at home with the controls and formula of this blocky franchise. On the one hand, that’s great because children and other juvenile reasons. On the other hand, all the fan service in the world isn’t enough to stave off boredom when you’re playing through the exact same level yet again that has received the barest of re-skins while you demolish objects to create wacky gadgets yet again.
That being said, the LEGO formula has been an enduring style of gameplay that kicked off a decade ago with the very first LEGO Star Wars game. It’s naturally an important game to developer Traveller’s Tales, a franchise that they want to use to shake the studded formula up some with the upcoming LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens. “In the 10 years since our first Lego Star Wars, technology has moved on,” associate producer Tim Wileman said to Polygon.
So has the way we make games and the different features that we can bring to them. It’s changed immeasurably. We’re trying to bring all of that together.
It’s still the LEGO game that you’re used to (big levels, platforming and brawling), but out of the 11 levels that’ll be seen in The Force Awakens tie-in, seven of them will be new story levels that have been created with a little input from LucasArts. These levels will play out prior to the shenanigans of The Force Awakens, setting up certain film reveals and plot points. “For some of the outside-movie stuff, the team at LucasArts have an idea of how they want it to look,” Wileman said.
But in some instances, we’ve been able to create our own Star Wars content. And it’s content that’s going to be used from now on. That’s fantastic for the team and fantastic for the game.
Beyond that however, TT is also throwing some new gameplay into the mix, including a proper 3D arena for dogfights that has my Rogue Squadron memories rekindling themselves. “This is all our own work,” Wileman said, explaining how outside work wasn’t brought in to helm the new ideas.
It’s something we’ve always wanted to do. We love the on-rails situations. They’ve always been a visual feast, because we can script it. But I think the open-world areas, it’s an internal thing. It’s taken quite a while to get to where it is now. We’ve really refined our work on controls and the viewpoints and the scenery and size of these areas. It’s going to be a lot of fun.
Other tweaks revealed include Blaster Battles that turn Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens into a cover-shooter and multi-builds where several items can be constructed and add some level of strategy to the usual LEGO mayhem. It sounds good, and after having played a dozen iterations of the same game, much needed. That, and LEGO Kylo Ren is simply too adorable.
Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens arrives on June 28 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Wii U, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita and Windows PC. Gaaaasp.
Last Updated: March 24, 2016