The lights are on
One of the things that stands out about TT Games’ Lego games is how expressive the Minifig characters are. While the real toys are molded from rigid plastic, the studio’s artists and animators have been able to create their own pliable interpretations that pose and stretch with ease. With their latest game, based on the upcoming film The Lego Movie, they had to take a different approach.
If you watch the CG movie’s official trailer, you’ll notice how the animators have replicated a stop-motion effect that also emphasizes the toys’ innate stiffness. As we learned during our trip to TT Games when we were working on our Lego Marvel Super Heroes cover story, early prototypes of Lego Star Wars flirted with a similar aesthetic. Eventually, utility won over, because the lightsaber moves didn’t really work with such a limited range. That’s changed in The Lego Movie Videogame.
Rather than try and work around the toys’ action-hero shortcomings, the developers are embracing them. When Emmet, the hero of the film and game, jumps around and punches the environments, it looks stiff and weird – but also quite funny
I got to play around with the game in level set in a construction site in Bricksburg. A few of the other big departures from past Lego games were also immediately evident. First, everything in the game is build from Lego elements – including buildings, backgrounds, and the ground itself. Even the explosions are constructed out of translucent bricks and fire-shaped elements.
Players can also get to experience some of the sensations that come with building with actual Lego sets in gameplay sections that incorporate the familiar Lego instruction sheets. You won’t have to dig around a massive pile for hours, searching for the right block, but you will be prompted to pick the correct element in a series of sequences using a radial menu. I didn’t see a particularly complex model being built (the one I saw basically had you plop down a tree from a variety of other garden-themed elements), but it has potential as a way to break of the action and inspire customization.
TT Games can’t talk about characters aside from Emmet and Vitruvius right now, but they are saying there will be about 90 of them, and that the trailer is a good indication of the crazy sorts of mashups that will be in the game. I wasn’t able to get any word on what the hub world would be like, including either its size or theme.
Fortunately, there’s plenty of time between now and the game’s 2014 release date to snap those pieces together.
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