EXCLUSIVE CHAT WITH LEGO DIMENSIONS PRODUCER GUY DOUG HEDER!
Hey! Do you want to know who one of the
big wheels at the LEGO Dimensions factory would most like
to see as a LEGO Dimensions character? What about some
secret things to look out for in the Year Two packs? Well, read on
dear readers, for we were lucky enough to kidnap LEGO Dimensions
producer bloke Doug Heder long enough to ask him several questions,
and to his eternal credit he gave us some pretty good answers where
he could without getting smacked by Lord Business types...
Hi Doug, thanks so much for
taking time out to answer some questions for Dimensioned.net. :)
Weíre all super-excited for the
release of the new wave of LEGO Dimensions this week. How
long after the original launch last year did you guys start planning
for Year Two? Or was it already underway?
It was already underway! It takes at least
a year of work for the LEGO Group to manufacture new characters and
packs so we have to start the work quite early, deciding which
brands will be in each wave of content well ahead of time. Itís a
thrilling process, but can be extremely challenging to design new
game features when we arenít sure yet how our fans will respond to
the work that came before it.
Itís great that we donít have to
buy a whole new Starter Pack every year like other Ďtoys to lifeí
games. We know all about the new Story Packs, but what other new
stuff is in store for us with Year Two?
In addition to the new Story Packs, weíre
introducing four-player competitive Battle Mode. These are extremely
fun party experiences where things can get out of control quickly.
Itís perfect when you just want to test your LEGO mettle against
your friends and earn the all-important bragging rights!
Speaking of Story Packs, they
look fabulous, especially with the special base constructions.
Despite being ostensibly a whole game, they only feature three
trophies/achievements though. Is there a reason for this?
For technical reasons, there is actually a limit to
how many of these types of rewards a single title can have across
its lifespan. We want to support LEGO Dimensions for a long
time, so even though a Story Pack might feel like itís a standalone
experience, itís still part of LEGO Dimensions and has to
be treated, from a distribution point of view, like any other piece
of add-on content.
How many people make up the design team behind the physical side of
LEGO Dimensions? Do some of you work specifically on the
minifigs, while others work on the triple-build models? Or is that
side all handled exclusively by LEGO in Denmark?
We have expert level LEGO designers that
are part of our full-time game staff and design all of the different
digital LEGO models you see in our games. They work in coordination
with the LEGO designers in Denmark Ė itís a very collaborative
process with each side helping to mould/shape both the minifigures
and each of the triple-models into what you see in both the physical
and digital product.
Further to the above question, how big a team works on the
actual game side Ė the new levels and such?
TT Games, the studio behind LEGO
Dimensions and our standalone LEGO titles is composed of many
different disciplines across 200+ employees. LEGO Dimensions
is somewhat unique in that each different pack is handled by its own
team. Those teams vary in size based on the scope of the pack and
when it releases. Itís a very fluid organisation that can shrink and
expand very quickly to adapt to what needs work at any given time.
Year One featured
several actual LEGO characters Ė The LEGO Movie, Ninjago,
Chima Ė yet the only direct LEGO property in Year Two is Chase from
LEGO City. We really expected Nexo Knights this time around. Did you
find that licenced characters last year were much more popular than
standard LEGO characters?
In addition to LEGO City, we will also be
featuring The LEGO Batman Movie as a property. Itís sort of
a hybrid property between LEGO and DC Comics, but it will definitely
have its own unique feel compared to anything thatís been done in
the LEGO DC Comics Super Heroes space before.
There are a
lot of factors that play into how we choose the brands that appear
in the game. Amongst those reasons, we have a limited number of
physical toys we can make in a season/year so inevitably not every
brand that starts on our wish list makes it in the next wave. But
that doesnít mean it wonít make it in the one after. Sometimes itís
just a matter of timing.
Sort of related to the above question, there are licenced
themes in Year Two that many kids today would have no idea about Ė
ET, Gremlins, The Goonies, The A-Team,
Knight Rider, Beetlejuice. Was this a financial
decision to appeal more to the lucrative ďAFOLí market Ė the grown
up LEGO fans whoíll buy the sets just for the minifigs (and stupidly
miss out on all the fun of the game!)? Or are all you guys older
like us at Dimensioned.net and wanted to relive your childhoods? ;)
A good story or theme, if it stands the test of time, is enjoyable
the same today or if it is 30 or more years old. Properties like
Back to the Future and Ghostbusters are more than 30
years old. The Wizard of Oz is over 70 years old! There is
an enthusiastic fan base for all of these and I believe many are
parents who are sharing these characters and stories with their own
kids and creating a new generation of fans. Thatís how it works in
my home... and, yes, thereís a little bit of getting to relive my
own childhood thatís appealing. ;)
Is there any chance of previously
released themes such as The Simpsons, The Simpsons,
The Simpsons, The Simpsons, The Simpsons,
The Simpsons or even maybe The Simpsons being
revisited with more characters...? ;)
As we release new packs, levels
and worlds youíll discover that weíre going to continue to sprinkle
new quests, puzzles and gameplay around ALL of our assortment of
brands and toys. So the toys you have from the first year are never
going to feel old. But there are no plans at this time to add
additional characters from previously released brands.
One of the only themes announced
that weíve seen no hints of is a personal fave of ours, The
Powerpuff Girls. Please, can you give us any hints as to whatís
in store for when they hit? Will we get all three of the girls
(please!)? A Story Pack featuring a buildable Townsville?! A Level
Pack?! A Team Pack/Fun Pack trio?!
The Powerpuff Girls, along with a
handful of other brands, wonít get released until later in 2017. We
are a little ways off still and focusing on supporting the September
and November 2016 releases right now. Details are still being
fleshed out for these specific packs, but you can certainly expect
to see more news on that in the coming weeks/months.
As avid videogamers since about
birth, it was super exciting to play the Wave One Midway Arcade
Level Pack, and to know that the almighty Sonic the Hedgehog is
coming. Is there any chance of more videogame stuff invading
We love getting to include great game brands like Midway, Sonic and
Portal in LEGO Dimensions. So donít expect us to
stop looking for more opportunities like that in the future!
With the death of Disney
Infinity, and considering LEGOís close relationship with
Disney, might we be seeing the likes of Donald Duck (we always liked
him heaps more than Mickey Mouse) through to Star Wars and
the Marvel Universe sitting on our Toy Pads in the future?
Nothing with those brands
is planned for LEGO Dimensions at this time. (Ed: No smacks
from Lord Business for you... ;))
Thereís been a whole bunch of
controversy over two LEGO Dimensions characters recently.
We probably donít need to name them (*COUGH* Green Arrow *COUGH*
Supergirl *COUGH*). Considering how hard it has been for genuine
collectors to get hold of these Ė often paying ludicrous amounts on
eBay to secure them due to their limited availability - do you think
itís a marketing move that will be repeated? Or is that a
beyond-your-control suits decision? Itís really alienated a lot of
loyal LD fans...
Itís never our intent to alienate any of
our fans. Both of the characters you mention are important parts of
our campaign for LEGO Dimensions and were developed to
reward our fans. While weíre not going to be selling these
characters individually at any point, keep your eyes open for other
programs or opportunities to get your hands on these great
You seem to have a good relationship with the Cartoon Network. We
know you wonít be able to answer this, but on behalf of pretty much
everybody weíd just like to request Regular Show and
Steven Universe for Year Three, please...
If you could have any character
from any property ever, what would you like to see most as a
LEGO Dimensions minifigure?
LEGO Spartacus. He would have the ability
to infinitely replicate himself and then knock down bad guys by
yelling the phrase, ďI AM SPARTACUS!Ē
Thanks so much for taking the
time to chat with us, Doug. As we part, can you please tell us
anything exciting about Year Two of LEGO Dimensions that we
may not necessarily know yet? Perhaps a fun Easter egg to look out
for in one of the new worlds?
One of my favourite new mechanics is Ethan
Huntís face swap ability. This, of course, was inspired by the
Mission: Impossible films where Ethan can disguise himself as
virtually any character. Look for a couple of these types of puzzles
sprinkled in the Harry Potter and Gremlins
worlds... Itís interesting who Ethan can pull off to get a gold