Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker — A long overdue refresh?
Lego video games have just sort of been a constant on consoles and PC even before Lego Star Wars, the game that started the current idea of what we think of as a Lego video game, released in 2005. Since then, Traveler’s Tales has just been consistently putting out Lego games, not all but mostly based on big licenses like Star Wars, Harry Potter, Marvel and others, sometimes multiple games in the same year, all with the same core gameplay concepts really, There might be a few wrinkles here and there and most have some basic level of competence so they aren’t really terrible but if you play Lego Batman 3 and then go play Lego Incredibles they don’t feel very dissimilar from one another.
And hey Lego games are primarily aimed at younger gamers and they sell well to that audience, Traveler’s Tales arguably could just chug along forever doing the same thing over and over again. But that would be a shame as often Lego games are the only time we get licensed games of many properties, so it would be great to see them try something more ambitious, and while it’s mining some very familiar material, Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, looks like it might represent a change in approach to the very tried and true formula. It’s easily the most ambitious Lego game in years, and you can get a good sense of that from the recent gameplay trailer:
Despite having visited the Lego take on Star Wars many, many times, Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker does look like a really fresh and original approach compared to previous Lego games. It looks better sure, but there’s deeper combat, a wider range of activities, and seemingly much bigger worlds to explore.
With all this ambitiousness comes one question to my mind though- is it too much? There’s no doubt that in order to really garner attention Traveler’s Tales really needed to rethink what a Lego game was and how they wanted to approach not just the next one but for future games as well. This definitely won’t be the last Lego game and probably not the last Lego Star Wars game either and it definitely seems to be a basis for future games so it’s a big gamble. But by adding all of these new things is it just going to be this hugely bloated game with too much to do like say an Assassin’s Creed game? This possibility is supported in this recent Polygon article which not only talks about the really insane amount of crunch staff has had to endure developing this game (crunch is always bad) but also mentions that the game has gone through several different iterations, engine changes, and definitely had various feature creep issues throughout development.
After all those issues though, the game does finally seem to have a set release date of April 5th (though why they wouldn’t release it on May the 4th is beyond me, SYNERGY PEOPLE). It definitely seems like this in many ways might determine the future of Traveler’s Tales. I don’t think if it’s a flop it will doom them but it probably means they would just go back to what worked before which would obviously be a shame because this could also be used to revisit other properties they’ve done previously and breathe new life into them as well but also be a template for new stuff too. One thing is clear, what might’ve been initially perceived as just another formulaic Lego video game for kids has turned out to be something much grander in scope and key to the future direction of Lego games and Traveler’s Tales. Hopefully, it all pans out to something great and I fully intend to find out when the game launches in just over 10 weeks.
I really had not intended to write three blog entries this month let alone in such a short span so I may not write much if anything else for the rest of this month through the end of February, but if something else pops up I’ll be sure to give my thoughts on it here so in all likelihood, see ya real soon!