Game Director James McLoughlin chats with GamingBolt about the upcoming blocky saga.
Another year, another Lego game. But who could resist Star Wars in Lego form? With crazy and dangerous worlds to explore, zany and lovable characters to play as, and oodles and gobs of bricks to collect and puzzles to solve, it’s easy to get lost in this galaxy that’s far, far away. And we think it’s going to get even easier with Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga. This Star Wars Lego game isn’t just an HD remake of the original games, The Skywalker Saga was built from the ground up with new features and story tones that will really make you want to play them again. On top of that this version will include the new trilogy, as well. We had a chance to sit down with The Skywalker Saga‘s Game Director James McLoughlin to find out everything we could about this new entry in the series.
"Generally, throughout the years we’ve been able to enhance [the games] piece by piece. On [The Skywalker Saga], we’ve been able to develop new technology and essentially re-write them all."
Lego Star Wars stretches back to the early 2000s, what are the biggest lessons learned throughout the years?
We’ve learned a lot of lessons. We’ve made a lot of Lego games since then. Not all of the lessons are Star Wars related, if you will. We’ve taken a lot of important people — we’re talking about cameras, we’re talking about combat, talking about AI. Generally, throughout the years we’ve been able to enhance [the games] piece by piece. On [The Skywalker Saga], we’ve been able to develop new technology and essentially re-write them all.
What iterations of new gameplay style can we look forward to in The Skywalker Saga?
The players can fly all the ships, the players can drive all the ground vehicles. The players can experience a fully open world, where they can essentially find all the locations, do side quests, find bricks hidden about. As well, they can take place in one of the intensive set piece missions-which there are five of them, which will tell a story of the film.
The level of interaction is great. What new environmental and character interactions will we see throughout the experience?
Well, new environments— we basically built every planet. So there are a lot of new environments. Character interactions— I think one of the cool things will be seeing characters use the world to their advantage. Like the Force is a powerful tool. It’s a sandbox tool where the player can interact with all Lego, move objects around and find creative ways to complete puzzles. We’ve also got new interactions in levels where the player can play branching story paths— they all lead to the same point, but there’s different ways of actually getting to that point.
"The main thing we wanted to get across is that this is not an HD remake like a lot of people are doing. We’re basically starting from scratch. We’re not even covering the same levels in parts. We’re trying to tell the story slightly differently."
The game is an open world, what can we expect to find in the universe besides the next main story mission?
Essentially, loads of side quests. Loads of locations that didn’t feature heavily in the main story, but the players can still investigate them. For example, you can run around in Yoda’s house interior. You see a tiny bit in like a cut scene or whatever, but you can actually go in there. I know that’s just the tip of the iceberg. You can investigate Hoth, you can investigate Dagobah. We’ve got areas in Kamino. We’ve got areas in the Courascant districts. There are loads and loads of locations to look for and loads of quest to do.
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga was built from the ground up. Besides the new trilogy, what are the difference between the first two Lego Star Wars trilogies compared to the ones we’ll find in the Skywalker saga?
Well, this is completely new. The main thing we wanted to get across is that this is not an HD remake like a lot of people are doing. We’re basically starting from scratch. We’re not even covering the same levels in parts. We’re trying to tell the story slightly differently. So areas in the original saga, for example, a level may have been a certain thing that’s now just a moment in the whole. But the level we’re doing, we didn’t have the technology to do last time. Like big massive-scale battles we’re flying through space, that kind of thing.
I noticed that C-3PO sounds voiced by Anthony Daniels along with Billie Dee Williams as Lando, are these original voice overs recorded for this game? And if so what familiar Star Wars actors have you got from the franchise to lend their voices for this?
Yes. We’re not releasing the full list of everyone yet. But everyone we have used has been fully Lucas approved. So the actors we’ve used are actors that Lucas has used in other video games. They’ve all been approved, so it’s as official as it can be.
I know it’s been a few years now but What’s the difference between working under Lucasfilm and now Disney?
None for us. They’ve been great. We went with Lucas way back when they weren’t owned by Disney. Now we work with them when they are, and there’s no real difference for us. We interface with Lucas mainly, and we interface with Disney when we need to. But mainly we interface with Lucas, and they always give us great freedoms to do what we want with the license.
"We started from scratch. We wanted to make sure that skill was optional, and not necessary."
Tell us about the overhauled melee system. How is it better than the original Lego Star Wars games?
We started from scratch. We wanted to make sure that skill was optional, and not necessary. So from a kids perspective, young kids can run around and still tap X and fight. But if you want to actually be cool with the combo tree and do different things, you can actually tap X and then move around the face buttons, and do jump attacks or slam attacks. But all is a part of one combo. The idea is to keep the combo going for as long as possible, and you’ll actually generate stunts for doing that.