Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is an upcoming Lego-themed action-adventure game booked to be released in 2020 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. It will be the sixth section in TT Games’ Lego Star Wars series of video games and the successor to Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens.If a hands-off theater demo of a new video game can over-deliver E3, then Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga sure did. The amount of changes I was shown to the 20-year-old Lego video game formula was startling.
I checked out the game as E3 was winding down on Thursday, taking a front row seat for a look at a game that I expected to come off as a rehash of some of the four previous Lego Star Wars games. After all, three of them have collectively covered seven of the main Star Wars movies, and nine movies are depicted in this new game.The standout change is the camera angle. We were only shown the open-world portion of the game, however even there the change is pronounced. The camera is nearer in and behind-the back, with the character pushed in a lot nearer than usual, similar to how you’d view you the action and the character you’re controlling in a Gears of War game. The camera is controlled openly with the analog stick. This angle will also be utilized in the game’s levels. “We changed it because kids have changed,” the game’s director, James McLoughlin, later told me in an interview. “They are substantially more accomplished gamers than they were at the start.” He noticed how deftly kids work with free cameras in Minecraft and Fortnite, among others.
Then there’s the sheer amount of Lego questions on the planet. Skywalker Saga’s galaxy isn’t all-virtual-Lego the way that the Lego Videogame Movie games were, yet it otherwise looks increasingly like it is made out of Lego bricks than any other game I’ve found in the franchise. Early in the demo, as we were shown the Millennium Falcon flying through space toward Tatooine, a Star Destroyer abruptly appeared from hyperspace. It looks to be entirely made of Lego—some 18,000,000 bricks, the person running the demo remarked, if it was built in real life. McLoughlin later explained to me that all spaceship interiors in the game are rendered as if completely made of Lego, including action set in the Death Star. Down on Tatooine, the all-Lego Sarlacc Pit was particularly impressive.The game is set across a swath of Star Wars space. In the demo it was separated into nine regions, each consisting of a few planets that are featured in the movies. Players start the game by picking one of the nine main Star Wars films. They can then can start flying to planets that will contain a mix of movie-centric material and increasingly generalized Star Wars activities. Picking a movie opens some planets that include levels from those films, however players can always return and start a new movie before finishing the one they started. Any planets opened for one movie will be available to uninhibitedly visit even once another movie has been chosen.
So you can be trying to tackle missions in Return of the Jedi yet at the same time have the option to jump over to planets featured in, say, The Force Awakens, if you’d started playing through that movie already.The movies are depicted through a mix of activities in the open world and discrete levels. McLoughlin said there will be five levels for each film and that the designers are trying to concentrate as much as possible on sections of the movies that weren’t transformed into levels in previous Lego games. The first mission for the Phantom Menace, for example, will be the underwater chase through the center of the planet Naboo. “We simply didn’t have the tech to do that kind of stuff back in the day,” he said. Sections of the movie prior to that, for example, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn’s movie-starting arrival on a trade federation ship, are groupings the player tackles in the game’s open world and aren’t a level appropriate.
The demo concentrated on a slice of the game’s open world, specifically the Anchorhead region of Tatooine, which is only one section players can investigate on only one of the game’s many planets. It was colossal and loaded with characters, including R2D2, Jawas and Banthas on which the character could ride. We were shown a basic side journey—one of apparently 500 set up for the game—involving translating for and then helping a Gonk droid. It was fine, however as I noted to McLoughlin, the Lego series’ open universes have largely been filled with dull sidequests or void expanses. He acknowledged the criticism—”We realized the open universes required a bit more oomph”— and cited The Legends Of Zelda: Breath of the Wild as an influence. “One of the things we’ve been doing, kind of, I guess like Zelda, where at each corner you turn, there’s always something to do, like if it’s rescuing the little fellows stuck under rocks, etcetera, etcetera.” He said they’re filling a greater amount of their reality with more riddles. McLoughlin also teased some all the more interesting sorts of activities in the open world: abundance tracker missions in which you go to a planet to look for a character hidden on another planet and “runner’s runs” where you pick up cargo and have to fly it from framework to framework without being caught by the Empire.
Here’s another acceptable detail for those frustrated by earlier Lego games’ open universes: You can stop doing one sidequest before finishing it, start another and the game will recall your advancement in the other missions.
The game’s spread across nine movies means it’ll adapt the forthcoming Episode IX: The Rise Of Skywalker. Apparently it hasn’t been placed in the game yet, because they haven’t been told the plot. “We know nothing, and that’s not only a line because no doubt about it,” he said. The demo’s movie-select interface depicted a scene from Episode IX’s trailer.
Like the previous Lego games, Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga will bolster community. Because of the new camera controls, the view will be split in any event, during levels. Given all this rethinking of the formula, might they finally add on-line community? “We have new innovation,” McLoughlin said, stopping right there as if he’d rehearsed for that question. He would not say more. Lego games have changed a ton as of late, and there’s a great deal of the later titles evident in the Skywalker Saga demo shown at E3. The large open universes, for example, found in ongoing entries like Lego Jurassic World and Marvel Super Heroes and indeed, The Force Awakens, make an arrival here – as does the latter’s Galaxy Map for navigating between them. In The Skywalker Saga, the map has grown far larger, and I noticed you were currently able to look over multiple destinations on a single planet. For example, we were shown Tatooine circa Return of the Jedi, yet you could still land at your choice of Mos Eisley, Mos Espa or Anchorhead.Once again, story missions will only form a part of your time with the game – the rest being spent exploring open universes and finding side-missions and collectables hidden within them. Giving players things to go do and find is a far increasingly current, YouTube-friendly strategy for game design, but on the other hand it’s one which far better mirrors the game’s source material than slicing movie scenes up and presenting them as linear levels. In the E3 demo, acres of desert looked open to exploration, from the Lars Homestead to Jabba’s Palace.
Helping all of that, in the engine, lies a truly necessary new engine – one built to handle the large open universes of the cutting edge Lego game era. There’s nothing extraordinary about its new capabilities, perhaps, however we were directed to its ability to weather Lego bricks appropriately and depict sand-covered minifigures while on Tatooine as evidence of what it is capable of. Whether because of the new engine or not, there are notable refinements in the game’s combat – the most involved of any game in the series up until now. Enemies currently have health bars, and damage numbers take off when you slice Stormtroopers with a lightsaber or thump Jawas over the head with a gaffi stick. At last, you can aim down sights and free aim when packing a blaster – combat never again automatically bolts on. And, as with other games, you can open higher stud combos by chaining kills.
All-new to the Lego series is the addition of random space battles, seen when entering a planet’s orbit. TT Games didn’t show this off in detail, however it’s another feature which makes the series’ universe feel increasingly authentic and invigorated. And, as ever, there are the apparitions of previous Lego game mechanics repurposed in a new way. As a Jedi, you can mind trick enemies to make them dance, or distract them, or turn them against others. It feels similar to some of the abilities which magical characters could play around with in the Lego Harry Potter games.
It remains to be perceived how much detail Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga will go into, considering its mammoth nine film storyline, yet it already looks the most ambitious Lego Star Wars game to date – and with its newly minted engine, perhaps a new trust in Lego games in general.A brand-new trailer has arrived for LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, showcasing a reimagining of the all nine Star Wars films that have featured the Skywalker family. Despite excitement for the ongoing games, Star Wars has been a rather controversial topic as of late thanks to what’s been a polarizing take from audiences on the latest film, The Rise of Skywalker. As mentioned already, while that cinematic adventure has largely drawn ire, the games are on the up in the hearts of fans.