With LEGO Dimensions going into a second year of universe-hopping, battle arenas brings in a new way to play. TT Games producer Mark Warburton talks to Brick Fanatics about the new mode and what else fans can expect this year.
In the first part of our exclusive interview with Mark Warburton, producer at TT Games, he explained how new properties were chosen for the second year of LEGO Dimensions. As well as seeing the worlds of Adventure Time, Harry Potter and Mission Impossible join the multiverse, there are new game modes to check out.
What is unique about a LEGO version of splitscreen multiplayer, introduced with the multiplayer battle arena mode?
I think what made this special was that we have never done four player before at all. We have always just done two player character co-op. The areas are obviously comprised of LEGO so there’s the break up of it and I think the mash-up of characters really sings a little different when you’re in a battle mode. It’s not just faceless goon A and faceless goon B, I’m going after Batman, I’m going after Ethan Hunt. It has a competitive edge, it’s not something we’ve ever done before but it was a lot of fun.
Was this intended as a way for friends and family to be able to easily dip into LEGO Dimensions?
Exactly, it’s a teaser for what the whole game is. We’ve always promoted the whole drop in-drop out aspect, the game is always built around the idea you can pick up a controller, press start and you’re into the game world. But we also wanted this new mode to be something completely different, something that would really entice new people. Our games have always promoted the idea of families playing on the couch, the brands and the IPs we bring in always cross demographics. Whether it’s newer things, kids‘ series, or even eighties movies, we have the idea of a whole family on a couch watching these things. And now you can pick up another two controllers and have mum, dad, brother, sister all coming together and fighting it out.
What did you add to the game this year from your list of things you’d like to add – beyond battle arenas?
You dive down into more the technical things. Obviously we transitioned to a DLC system this year, that was a big thing for us. Last year all of the content was given to the users through a patch, an update system, so you just turned your console on, you got it, you had all the latest data. We became very aware toward the end that some of the consoles have less space on the hard drives than others. So we wanted to give users more control, the freedom to pick and choose what they want. If you’re going to buy Harry Potter but you don’t want to get Mission Impossible, it seems a bit silly to have that data space on your hard drive if you don’t really need it.
So we wanted to give more creative control, more freedom to enjoy the Dimensions content and manage your hard drive space. I think that was the biggest one for us because we really wanted to get a handle on it. We do have these grand ideas to keep going and building on it and we had to find a way of making sure that users could manage that and enjoy this as they wanted to. So that was the biggest one apart from the Battle Modes that we’ve got to get it right.
In the first year you had a central storyline, this year you have Story Packs. What led to that change?
Simply because the movies were so strong, and last year we did the Level Packs which focussed on those movies, such as Back to the Future Level Pack. We wanted the Story Packs to tell the story of the movie, and really carry on with that. Batman, Gandalf and Wyldstyle can all interact in those worlds, they’re all there. The Dimensions story, it’s still there in the background even though we don’t actively it carry it on, it’s not been forgotten.
So maybe there are some subte references to it, some easter eggs?
Of course there is! It’s a Traveller’s Tales games. There’s hints, cameos, nods and winks in every other place. In the intro cut scene to Ghostbusters, a huge amount of characters that you have walking past are cameos. We’re always putting nods in, it’s part of the fun. I prefer the obscure cameos, the ones that only the real keen eye will see.
Of all of the new IPs this year, which is your favourite?
Sonic the Hedgehog was the big one for me, that was the very first video game I ever played. It was the brand that got me into video games, and is pretty much responsible for where I am today. And to actually be working on the character, be working with the Sonic team in Japan to make it an amazing experience… it’s incredible. It really is just a thrill, it was really something special to do.
You can drop any character into Green Hill Zone, you can have Homer Simpson doing the loop the loop through Green Hill Zone. You’re not going to get that anywhere else. It was challenging only in so much as because we built the system in a modular way, we have to go back and revisit old characters and make sure they have the right things. So it’s only challenging in the sense that we have to revisit old characters. It’s something that we took pleasure in doing.
You can read the first part of our exclusive conversation with Mark Warburton here.