The second year of LEGO Dimensions has launched, with a whole new line-up of properties joining the game. TT Games producer Mark Warburton talks to Brick Fanatics about upping the ante with the additional selection of characters.
LEGO Dimensions took the successful LEGO video game formula, and combined it with physical LEGO bricks – switching characters to use their abilities and completing builds as part of the game has shown to be a hit with fans. With battle arenas, dimensions rips and a host of new worlds coming in this second year, it is the perfect time for an exclusive chat with Mark Warburton, producer at TT Games.
Was it a conscious decision to go with 1980s movies as well as more current brands?
Absolutely. The biggest rule when we’re developing anything or going after an IP (Intellectual Property) is, do we think it’s cool? That’s it. We have to like it, and I think that’s the key thing when we’re developing all of our games. We have to like it and have something to say about the brand.
It’s very easy to get caught up in this industry just doing something, but we really want to feel passionate. And it doesn’t matter what the character is, it has to be the best video game representation of that. You go back to Doctor Who last year, there were so many fans in the studio of that brand, we wanted that to be the premiere Doctor Who video game experience.
So with every single brand, we have to hit that bar and the simple reason for that is that we don’t know what people are going to be fans of. You don’t know who’s going to buy which character, who’s going to get what. There has to be a digital value to it and you can’t feel let down by it. So that’s why every character gives you an adventure world, all the IPs give you a different battle arena – it doesn’t matter who you like, you’re going to a get a lot of action or use out of this character.
We literally have a big whiteboard in meetings that people just scribble different brands on. You think A Team, you could do the van, you could get a LEGO build out of the van. If we do BA he could do builds, and rebuilds, maybe we could have him fall asleep every time he gets in a plane, we’ve got to get the voices and stuff like that in. And what if he could use his gold chain as a weapon? This all starts the process and every character goes through the same thing, and once we tick that box, that’s when it goes further and into development.
Which IPs seemed most obvious for this year?
The New Ghostbusters was very obvious simply because we loved doing the two films last year. A lot of us grew up with those films so it was a privelege to dive into that world, then when Sony announced they were doing the new film, we said let’s go back to it. And then we also started looking at the ones that people had said that they wanted. We’ve obviously had history doing the LEGO Harry Potter games, it made sense that Harry went into the world. We want to do it, we listen to the fan base and we marry it all together into something cohesive. It’s pretty cool.
Do some IPs come into the process later than others?
The list goes together, then we go out and try to get them. It’s never late or early in that traditional sense, we have an idea of a field of what we want. Things have to change, schedules have to move around sometimes. It’s a conscious decision not to put one brand over another because we don’t know what someone is a fan of. There are some brands that I don’t have as much knowledge of as other people. I love Doctor Who, and I can speak about it until I’m blue in the face, whereas LEGO Chima I’m less knowledgeable about, but I’ve got people at the office who do know about LEGO Chima. We also know that people are going to be fans of that, so that content has to be just as strong as the Doctor Who content, we have to make sure there is consistency across the board just so we don’t let anyone down.
You have LEGO properties included in the game, how does selecting those work?
It’s a collaborative thing, so last year we did NINJAGO and Chima because those were two big LEGO brands. NINJAGO is huge in the States, the series is pretty solid. Chima was interesting, we did a handheld game a few years ago that we all really enjoyed so it was nice to dive back into that. I actually think the Chima world is probably the best one we did last year, it was amazing.
LEGO City is the premiere LEGO brand. That game that we did all those years ago [LEGO City Stories] – I still have a fond place in my heart for that and it was great to bring Chase McCain back and have fun with it.
Check back on Monday for the second part of our exclusive conversation with Mark Warburton.