I really have to commend Traveller’s Tales, the studio that actually made the games, for not only creating a good first game, LEGO Star Wars – The Video Game, but also for actually learning from that game and applying it to the the next two games.
The first thing they learned seemed, to me, to be that a LEGO game is really more of a mass appeal title than a hard core gaming title. As such, it does not need hellishly hard end levels that take forever to master and complete. And with the original release, there were a couple of levels like that. I know real console gamers who still curse some levels in that game.
The second thing that TT seems to have learned is that, for adding depth and repeatability in a console game, almost nothing beats what I call “the cult of the unlock.”
So when the second game came out, LEGO Star Wars – The Original Trilogy, the levels were designed, overall, to be much easier to get through. You could… heck, *I* could… blaze through all of the basic levels in story mode in a single sitting without being in any danger of setting a record (personal or otherwise) for continuous time in front of a video game.
But when you’ve done that, the big “Percentage Complete” display (awesome game element, btw) says you have only completed 25-30% of the game. Then you want to go back through the levels with the free play option with different characters to pick up the mini-kits you missed, see the side areas you bypassed, and pick up enough studs to unlock all of the characters.
The game became an even bigger success than its predecessor and ensured that there would be more LEGO games to come. They have already announced LEGO Indiana Jones – The Video Game and LEGO Batman – The Video Game. So I started considering what else I would like to see done as a LEGO video game.
The Wants – I think they have potential to be good
1) LEGO Die Hard – The Full Series
When I get done playing LEGO Star Wars and go off to a different game, it takes a while for me to not want to blow up the scenery and try to collect studs. You just shoot up everything in LEGO Star Wars. So when my wife and I were watching the latest “Die Hard” movie, “Live Free, Die Hard, and Leave a Trail of Corpses” or whatever, I immediately connected the John McClane character leaving a swathe of destruction behind him with my own behavior in LEGO Star Wars. It is an excellent fit! Yes, work would have to done on the unlocks, but Bruce Willis is just begging to be made into a LEGO minifig. He has the head for it, and that scowl/smirk would translate perfectly into LEGO form.
2) LEGO Star Trek – The Original Series
Okay, this one is on my list for a series of selfish reasons. I want there to be a GOOD Star Trek game that has popular appeal, that will break the curse, and that will revive what I can only think of these days as a dying IP. Plus I want to be able to own Star Trek characters in LEGO minifigure form. It has to be TOS because they blow things up, transport into hot LZs, and visit the most interesting planets. There are enough characters to play and unlock. Yes, TNG does have Picard, who, like Bruce Willis, is ready-made for LEGO minifig form, and you could charge a billion studs to unlock Q, but Shatner’s hair was made for LEGO form. Picard can wait for the sequel.
3) LEGO Harry Potter – The Video Game
This one is a gimme. I mean, LEGO already has the franchise and already makes Harry Potter based minifigures and kits. There are movies out to help drive the visual requirements. It is popular. It is compelling. It could be done. And it would make J.K. Rowling just that much more wealthy than the Queen. I am surprised it hasn’t been announced already.
4) LEGO Lord of the Rings – The Video Game
It is episodic, it is popular, it would be great. It is probably a very tough IP to license… I am sure the Tolkien heirs would be skeptical… but it is totally viable. You have a group of main characters to play, a host of minor characters to unlock, and more than enough bad guys to chop up to make it interesting. Plus, TT could legitimately stretch it out into three releases. And, on top of that, LEGO has a couple of decades of work in its Castle line of kits as a starting place for models. (Frankly, though, the Castle line could use the sort of creative infusion such a project would bring. It has been languishing some for the last few years.)
5) LEGO Norrath – The Video Game
Okay, I am still enchanted by Tipa’s idea of turning EverQuest into a single player game to preserve the lore and let people who played it “way back when…” explore their old haunts. So why not take it a step further and reduce it all to LEGO bricks? There would have to be an overlying story created to drive the game, and the character unlocks might be a bit obscure, but I bet people who played it would come out knowing the lore of Norrath, which might, in turn, make some of them interested in other games based in Norrath. Plus I have always suspected that those trees in the Commonlands would break into a bunch of little pieces if you hit them just right.
Honorable Mentions – Things that came to mind with potential, but probably not enough for a game.
LEGO Discworld – Part of me thinks that LEGO is a perfect medium for expressing the humor and irony of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld. The big problem is that nobody speaks in the LEGO games and much of the Discworld humor is in dialog or exposition. So any LEGO game relies on imagery and gesture to convey much of a story, and there is not enough such imagery available that we all share to make the game viable. I know what Ahnk-Morpork looks like in my mind, but it probably doesn’t look like that in your mind.
LEGO World of Shannara – I was trying to come up with an alternate fantasy epic to Lord of the Rings, and Shannara has plenty to work with. It just suffers from the lack of agreed upon visuals the way Discworld does, along with not being as popular as LotR.
LEGO Dune – I think this could be done. You use the imagery from the David Lynch version of the movie and just run with it. But as much as I want a LEGO Sardaukar minifig, I don’t think this would be a winner in the end.
LEGO Battlestar Glactica – I was looking around for another science fiction title, and this one came to mind. I am not sure if I would want to model the original series or the new one. I think then main problem is that most of the conflict takes place in space, and I found the space segements of LEGO Star Wars to be the least fulfilling.
Probably Bad Ideas – Things I briefly considered
LEGO The Simpsons – Hey, they’re yellow already, right? They’re popular. They destroy stuff regularly. The problem is, they can never profit from their bad behavior in the end, so having them pick up studs for whacking Flanders probably won’t fly.
LEGO Known Space – I was more thinking of LEGO Ringworld and felt that LEGO Man-Kzin Wars might have some potential… and I really want a Kzinti minifig… but Larry Niven’s Known Space universe moves at a pretty slow pace, so it would be hard for it to sustain an action oriented game. Plus, as above, there is not a set of agreed upon imagery for Known Space.
LEGO Blade Runner – It has the imagery. It has the violence. It is just probably too dark for LEGO. Still, it is probably more viable than my first thought, LEGO – The Man in the High Castle.
LEGO Forgotten Realms – I can dream, can’t I?
LEGO Wizard of Oz – I guess you cannot have Dorothy leaving a path of destruction behind her.
That is my list… or my lists.
What did I overlook? What IP is really prime for conversion into a LEGO video game?