Exploring Lego Worlds And Why Lego Indy 2 Was Underrated
One of the appealing things about Lego is how you can build using the instructions or just following your own imagination. That’s what The Lego Movie was all about, after all. TT Games has forged a reputation for creating co-op experiences based on popular IP – including the focus of this month’s cover story, Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens – but that’s not all the company is doing with Lego. Last year, Traveller’s Tales did a soft launch of its Lego Worlds game, an open-ended title similar to Minecraft. We spoke to Jonathan Smith, head of production and strategic direction at TT Games, about the game, which is in Steam Early Access. As a bonus, we got him to explain why he considers Lego Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues the connoisseur’s choice when it comes to Lego games.
“We’re continuing to innovate, as we always try to make new kinds of experiences and new kinds of Lego games,” Smith told us at TT Fusion’s offices. “Last year, we put into Early Access Lego Worlds, which is a game that puts you in control of Lego minifigures in a way that you’re familiar with in Lego video games, but for the first time in a world that’s built entirely of bricks that can be taken apart and built brick by brick to your design – the whole universe is there for you to build and shape.”
Smith says that the Early Access model has been an interesting learning experience for the company, since they’re able to get player feedback in ways that they hadn’t before. Previously, they would bring people into the studio for focus testing. Now, they’re able to interact with players more frequently. “That has been incredibly well-received as we’ve continued to develop that in response to player feedback that we’ve gotten in Early Access.”
Lego Worlds is still a work in progress – it’s Early Access for a reason – and Smith says it’s posed its share of technical challenges. The scale is different from its other games, and putting an emphasis on granular building is a marked change from the simple building that its more familiar titles offer. Smith says that players should expect some surprising things. “We have big plans for Lego Worlds, and we want all of our games to be played by everybody,” he says when I ask if console players might be able to check it out eventually, too.
Lego Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues is a polarizing entry in the TT Games’ Lego canon, which is something that’s not lost on the company. Even though it doesn’t generally make many players’ Top Lego Games lists, it holds a special place within TT Games.
“Some of our games have been incredibly successful and universally acclaimed,” Smith explains. “Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga, the first Lego Indiana Jones, Lego Harry Potter, Lego Marvel – games that are spoken of a lot, many people played them and enjoyed them. Lego Indiana Jones 2 has not been our best-performing game, and its appeal appears to have been somewhat constrained by its association at the time with Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. So it’s not spoken of as much as the other games or as fondly. Whereas those people who have played it, and played it in depth, appreciate all the ways in which it got a lot of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and then revisited the three Indiana Jones movies in really interesting new ways.
"Lego Indiana Jones 2 did some really interesting things with the structure of the game, particularly with people who are completionists, because they appreciate the way that the hubs told the story of those movies through really focused gameplay sections with a lot of freedom in the way that you accessed that game. And, also, radically and excitingly, it introduced the level builder as part of that Lego Indiana Jones 2 experience, where you could for the first time build and share your own levels, which is incredibly cool and worthy of admiration and appreciation, even if it doesn’t get talked about a lot.”
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