Lego Star Wars II: Interview

the prospect of playing as a Lego representation of Billy Dee Williams is undeniably exciting

Feature by Craig Wilson | 13 Sep 2006
It allowed you to slaughter Jar Jar to your heart's content, face the cutest Darth Maul ever, and even play as Liam Neeson; its official, 'LEGO Star Wars' rocked. And now, only a year and a bit on, 'Lego Star Wars II' is upon us, promising to take this ridiculously fun and easy going game into the era of Hamill, Ford and Fisher. Thus we're barely able to contain our excitement at the prospect of playing as Han Solo, shooting Greedo first, and perhaps even discovering what causes Porkins' X-wing to mysteriously blow up. We talked to Jonathan Smith, Development Director at TT games and asked him about the creation of 'LEGO Star Wars 2'…

Skinny: There are a lot of Star Wars games out there, what are your thoughts on them?

Smith: We're all big Star Wars fans, and of course we play a lot of games. So we have very fond memories of many Star Wars games, from the original arcade machine onwards. Every new title brings something a bit different. Star Wars is a big universe, so there are lots of different places to go.

Skinny: Any favourites?

Smith: The original Arcade machine, for its sheer impact, and X-Wing on the PC, for its immersiveness, responsiveness, and attention to detail.

Skinny: And what about the worst?

Smith: I think we'd have the same views as most other fans.

Skinny: Come on now… we all know 'Battlefront' was awful, not to mention 'Battle for Naboo', 'Yoda Stories'… and, ahem… anyway… One of the standout qualities of the first game was its quirky sense of humour, making fun of both the films and indeed the premise of LEGO Star Wars. How important did you feel this was to the game and how much have you implemented it into the sequel?

Smith: Humour was an essential part of the original 'LEGO Star Wars' concept, and it's something we've tried to push even further forward in the new game. The LEGO world gives us unique licence to offer a fresh take on these iconic characters and all that memorable action. It's not simply about what we do, either; it's about how we do it. We just like to have fun

Skinny: But was it still possible to make the gold bikini attractive… even on a Lego character?

Smith: Judge for yourself!

Skinny: We will… It's not been all that long since the original, how has development worked out in comparison?

Smith: 'LEGO Star Wars II' is a much bigger game than the original, but we've been able to build more efficiently this time around on all the work we did originally proving the core concept and gameplay technology. Overall, we've done it slightly faster, but with more people.

Skinny: What did you think was the first game's greatest achievement, and how has it been carried over into the sequel?

Smith: We were most proud of the way the whole game can be played by two people together, using our "drop-in/drop-out" co-op system – and that's something we've definitely carried into the new game, with a few refinements.

Skinny: One last thing… What actually made Porkins' X-Wing explode?

Smith: Ah yes, good old Red Six. Blasted by Imperials, I'm afraid.

Skinny: Thanks…

A part of me refuses to believe that Porkins would have died so easily and I start to beleive that even Smith may be in on the conspiracy… Then I realise it's probably about time I moved on.

LEGO Star Wars II is shaping up to be even better than its predecessor which proved to be one of the most fun, and surprisingly high quality, games of 2005. Clever enhancements to the already addictive co-op mode should be interesting and promises of a longer game are also more than welcome, a lack of longevity proving to be one of the original's few flaws. The game will also make greater use of vehicles and allow you to create custom characters with which to dissect stormtroopers. Not to mention that the prospect of playing as a Lego representation of Billy Dee Williams is also undeniably exciting. I just wish I wasn't so worryingly obsessed with a Lego woman in a gold bikini…

Lego Star Wars II is out on September 15th.