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POSTED 29/9/16
AN 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 LEGO Dimensions?
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 characters.
 
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...
Noted.  :)

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 brick!


 







 
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