Traveller’s Tales Discusses all Things LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens

During our time with LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens last week, we had the opportunity to talk all things Star Wars with developer Traveller’s Tales. Sitting down, we got to discuss the many changes LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens makes to the LEGO formula and what surprises fans can expect from the developer’s return to the beloved franchise.

Hardcore Gamer: LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the first LEGO Star Wars game since 2011’s LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars. How have things evolved over the course of all these years?

Traveller’s Tales: Well, a lot has happened in that time, not only in terms of our gameplay and the graphics. Consoles have improved and we have a lot more scope. Also, in terms of the gameplay and features have come along massively. If you compare Clone Wars with The Force Awakens they’re virtually unrecognizable. We’ve got blaster battles, which are really cool sections where you’ll be playing through a level and you come across these large areas where blasterfire is so intense you’ll need to take cover. That will allow you to pop out and take shots or shoot certain sections of scenery. The AI also takes cover, you’ll find them building targets and stuff. It looks really cool, and the camera angles are really dynamic.

We’ve also got multi-builds. One of ideas when we set out to make this game was to try and recreate what actual kids do with LEGO, let’s build multiple objects and items from the same pile of LEGO bricks, and that’s what you can do in the game now. Now you can choose to build up to three different objects from the same pile of bricks, and that comes into play in different ways. You’ll need to use that to solve puzzles and to progress throughout the levels and find secret areas. The team put in a lot of effort to make sure they’re useful and fun at the same time.

One final thing is the flying. That’s dramatically different from Clone Wars. Flight in that game was quite two-dimensional with fixed-planes. Looked cool but didn’t feel like flying. We’ve taken that to another level. Now we have arena-based flight sections. 360-degrees with full controls. Lot of scope there. Overall, lots of new stuff.

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Disney has been extremely protective of the Star Wars IP. Did you find that they gave you a lot of freedom with this project?

We worked very closely with Disney and Lucasfilm, and they’ve had a really big hand in shaping our game. Not only in the Force Awakens content, but also in the other stories that you can play that leads up to the events of Episode VII. It’s been a great collaboration. Yes, they’re very protective about it, but we understand that and we want to do the franchise justice by creating an authentic experience.

Speaking of another LEGO game, LEGO Dimensions came out last year. Any chance we might see some Star Wars characters pop up in that game?

I’m unfortunately not working on LEGO Dimensions.

LEGO Dimensions did introduce quite a few new gameplay mechanics into the LEGO universe. Any chance some of those mechanics will be incorporated into The Force Awakens?

We’re not going to feature any Star Wars in Dimensions. However, we’re always sharing different ideas, and the teams do work very closely with each other. So, you may see some things. We’re always sort of bouncing off each other and boring different bits and pieces that work. We do have a lot of new features that are unique to Star Wars that I mentioned earlier and we really wanted to use those to create a fresh new experience. We’d rather not worry or think too much about the other games. Really focus on making this the best game that we possibly can.

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People love Lightsabers, but only has two lightsabers appeared in the entirety of The Force Awakens. How do you balance people’s wants?

That’s a good question. Like you say, the force is has disappeared from the galaxy in this film so there are only a couple of characters who use it, but this has given us the opportunity to work on other abilities. All of the characters have all their core abilities, and blaster characters have really been worked on. There are all kinds of different blasters and the blaster battles. We’re creating new gameplay ideas based on blasters.

We do have over 200 characters in the game, and some of them are legacy characters. So you will have characters that use lightsabers.

Can you name some prequel and original trilogy characters that will be making a comeback?

Well, I can’t go into too many details, but you’ll have some of the characters from Return of the Jedi making an appearance. You’ll have Han from Endor, and Luke as well. He’ll have his force powers and his saber. Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine will make an appearance.

Maybe Darth Maul or Obi-Wan Kenobi?

Well…maybe. Like I said, over 200 characters. There’s going to be some characters in there that Star Wars fans are going to know, and some that are maybe more obscure, but either way there’s going to be some nice surprises. It’s going to be a lot of fun exploring the different characters. We’ve also got the character customizer so you can take these characters and pull them apart and put them back together in lots of cool and interesting ways. You’ll also be able to assign them different weapons and special abilities.

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One of the main criticisms leveled at the game shortly after its reveal is that there may not be enough content. The game only covers one film, whereas the previous games tackled three films each. So, is there enough content in this game?

Personally, very much so. Not only do we have The Force Awakens level, but we also have the other stories as well. In terms of only featuring one film, it’s allowed us to focus more on the content, story, characters, and locations in the film. Whereas in previous games a broader brushstroke was used across the different episodes. Some sections we had to leave out and skip through the story real quickly. This new approach has allowed us to focus on the events in the film, which we think are really cool. It’s allowed us to go into more depth with the characters and locales. There’s so much gameplay in there. We have five hubs that are all going to be cool to explore.

So there absolutely no levels based on Episodes I-VI?

Um, I’m not going to confirm or deny that, but there will be some surprises in there for sure. There will be bits and pieces that fans of those episodes are going to appreciate. In terms of calling out specific content, I can’t talk about that at this stage.

So Daisy Ridely is reprising her role as Rey. Any other actors reprising their roles?

We’ve got all of the major talent back. John Boyega and Oscar Isaac for sure. I can’t go into too many specifics, but we do have all the major talent back and we’ve created a bunch of new lines for them to record. It’s great to use existing lines from the film and new lines to add an extra layer of depth to the missions and side-missions.

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Final question, what’s your favorite Star Wars moment out of all seven films?

That’s a tough one. I really like lots and lots of scenes, but I think it would probably have to be the Endor sequence. The part where the AT-ST is taken down by the Ewoks. I think that was cool, a very iconic moment. I mean, I could talk about Star Wars all day there are just so many iconic moments.

When can players get their hands on LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens?

The game is out June 28 on PS4, Xbox One, PC, Wii U, PS3, Xbox 360, PS Vita and 3DS.

Like our interview? Be sure to check out our GDC 2016 preview to learn more about LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens.