LEGO Worlds is out this Friday, offering a new kind of LEGO video game experience. Promising more building and less destruction, game producer Chris Rose explained a little about the development of the game
After a decade of a very formulaic – although undeniably successful – approach, TT Games has been mixing things up in the last few years. With LEGO Dimensions combining physical bricks with the video game world, now LEGO Worlds offers virtual bricks and a less linear play pattern. Chris Rose, Associate Producer at TT Games, explains what fans can expect from the latest LEGO video game.
How has the early access period on Steam informed your approach to developing the game?
Quite a lot. We were surprised at the sheer volume of people telling us how positive the game was, we didn’t expect that many people to jump in. That meant that we had a lot of diverse opinions coming in, but it was really good when you could see one opinion constantly forming – it meant there was something there to address.
The in-game camera system is heavily modified based on feedback from early access players – basically, they hated it. We just kept changing it over and over again, adding different modes. We have ‘track and zoom’, where the camera won’t go through the wall – it will just bounce in front of it. Then we added a first person camera, which we had never really done before. We have done instances of first-person perspective, but we have never done a fully immersive first-person experience.
We brought forward development on the online mode because the users were just desperate for it. Originally it was going to be the last thing to go into the game. We would see people do things that we would not expect them to and create unusual structures so we would have lost a years’ worth of information in the visuals that they are creating for us.
Some new LEGO sets come with codes to import them into LEGO Worlds. Will we see these appearing in more LEGO products?
We’ve got NEXO KNIGHT and LEGO CITY at the moment, whether or not they go any further than that I don’t know. I would love them to – it’s good exposure for us and good for the people who are in both worlds, they get something a little bit extra out of it. At the moment there is a single code for everyone, but down the line we want to try and drive a little more of a unique connection.
Various DLC has been rumoured, including Friends and Classic Space as well Agents. Can you share any of those plans?
The only thing confirmed at the moment is Agents, which is a Sony timed exclusive pack. They are a bit unique in that they are just in there, you find them in the wild naturally. Going forward we haven’t really over planned that sort of stuff – would they have their own worlds? Would they have their own unique starter worlds? Or theme worlds? What themes do we go with? You’ve mentioned two there – can we do Atlantis? Can we do Power Miners? We’ve got a huge list of ones that everyone wants, there are so many good themes in there.
Aside from DLC, what does the road map for the game look like?
Nothing I can really confirm now, we have got a lot of things we want to look at – not just adding new stuff but tweaking stuff that’s already in there. Optimisation is a big thing – we’re always trying to eke that little bit of extra memory from the system. For actual content we have so many ideas, so the plan now is to take a step back – we’re effectively starting again by introducing the PlayStation and the Xbox. We’re going to absorb all the information that people are sharing with us, take a couple of weeks to listen to that, and then reevaluate what we’re going to do next.
Is the game likely to support user-created mods?
There’s various reasons to do it, you just have to be careful about what sort of stuff is being edited and changed. We’re not completely closed off to the idea, but we’re always changing the base code. Even the save file structure has changed a couple of times so we don’t want people spending hours making mods and then we just obliterate them. We had a guy mod a first person camera into the game, we said, ‘that’s awesome, but we are really sorry, we are about to rewrite the entire camera script.’ Down the line when we are a bit more settled with our tech, maybe we’ll look at it a little bit more.
Can you explain how the LEGO Digital Designer (LDD) is compatible with the game?
Anything you drop in from LDD will be a static model, we don’t have any mobile models yet – it’s something that’s been requested a lot. We’re investigating it, there are a lot of technical aspects we have to be very wary of. It’s more polygons, more animations loading from memory so it’s not beyond the realms of possibility, it’s just if we are going to do it, we’ll take a long time getting it right.
For static creations we use .LXFML, LDD’s save structure. We don’t support every single LEGO brick, but users out there have actually made palettes, so the community has driven a lot of that stuff.
Is the multiplayer cross-platform?
No, it’s singular platform. The reason for that is we rely heavily on the friends system so we’re very, very hot on child safety and player safety in general. We don’t want random individuals turning up into games, so we rely on the console’s matchmaking list so you can only play with your friends on that platform.
What is the likelihood of Virtual Reality integration?
Oh man, that would be cool, wouldn’t it? I like VR stuff. I have had a look if there’s anything we can do and at the moment we’re not looking too in depth. We’re just getting the game working and then who knows what the future holds.