BOOST 75253 Droid Commander is unlike any other LEGO Star Wars set. Rather than building a micro model, or a minifigure scale vehicle, or an Ultimate Collector Series display set, it builds three droids that can actually come to life through an associated app.
LEGO Senior Experience Designer Steve Geist has been working on this follow-up set to 17101 BOOST Creative Toolbox. In this exclusive interview, he explains to Brick Fanatics how the set was developed to be a uniquely Star Wars experience.
Besides the models, how has Star Wars been embedded in the experience?
In lots of different ways. We thought about not just the droids but what we wanted the play to be from the beginning. We obviously have seen different interactive R2s in the past, from different companies, we have done the old Droid Commander set. We were looking to amplify that and really bring some Star Wars to it.
I put my foot on the floor and said: “we are not going to make an interactive R2-D2 unless he can talk to computers and help you fly an X-wing because that’s what he does.” So that was our goal, we were lucky enough to be able to achieve it and work really hard to make that happen. And obviously with the app we take the LEGO Star Wars tone of voice and just amp it up and have a lot of fun with different missions and mission givers.
How does the design, instructions, coding work in the design pipeline?
They all inform one another, we obviously had the benefit of building off of BOOST so we have a lot of learnings from the way the kids play with the different types of activities. We have with BOOST we had the issue where the majority of the kids were building one of the models and they would go down that path and that is all they would hit. So we said from the beginning we also want kids to play as much of the content as they possibly can, so that was what gave us the whole swapping capability.
The hub that is in R2 can easily pop out of him and then go into the other droids, pop on the bottom of him or slide into the back there. So the kids can build all three droids at once and then play with them interchangeably as much as they want. We set that as a goal and we also noticed from BOOST information that any time that we had prop builds, the activities that the kids were doing were played with for a much greater amount of time. Prioritising prop building and getting that building element in every mission was a goal as well.
Absolutely. Carl and myself are huge Star Wars fans and huge LEGO fans, so were playing with those back in the day and then revisiting them was a big part of the start of this process. Obviously those had very limited functions and we wanted to try and do a lot more with it. But it was nice to go and visit those and see how those were built.
Some of our early sketch models we were even doing some of the same cladding type of exterior shells that some of those original ones had, because our scale in some of our sketch models was actually a bit bigger. The weight then is such an important factor to bring down for the motors and everything but yeah, it was something that we looked at a lot in the process.