I’ve been to countless appointments to see a number of Lego games over the years, and surely enough, each of those have been a great deal of fun, but Traveller Tales and Warner Bros were long due for shaking up the formula, and it looks like that’s just what’s to happen with their newest Lego Star Wars game, Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga.
Playing the same tune as many other appointments during last week’s E3, I had no expectations going into The Skywalker Saga. In my mind, it was going to be as good as these games are usually, but nothing revolutionary. And boy, I was wrong. Traveller Tales are completely revamping Lego Star Wars, and the hands-off demo floored me as the room was shown a whole different Lego game than anything that has come before it.
As with the many Lego titles that have come before it, Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is chock full of humor and references to just about everything dealing with Star Wars, so as a fan of George Lucas’ creation, I instinctively held my breath as the iconic symphony started playing and a bricked Millennium Falcon popped into screen tearing through space moments before an apparent random event began, a fight against an equally bricked Star Destroyer. The cheery dev handling the demo, Arthur Parsons, head designer at TT Games, had a particular distinction for Return of the Jedi, so out of all nine Star Wars movies available to play — including the newest Star Wars film, The Rise of Skywalker — it was the one he picked to have the demo take place in, as he pointed out that you’ll be able to start at any one of them in the final game.
Upon choosing a spot on Tatooine to land, among some well known locations, Lego Luke jumped out of the comically small cockpit and start wrecking chaos in Mos Espa as he enchanted banthas to start dancing and even charge at poor innocent bystanders, certainly not the behavior of a godly Jedi such as himself. But we weren’t too worried about that, because the entire room as in shock at how good the game looked, easily the best a Lego title has ever, thanks to the new engine powering it, which according to Traveller Tales was built just for The Skywalker Saga. I could see dent marks and even dust collecting in just about every brick that composed every object and character in the world, and the environments left nothing to be desired either, and made up for a pretty cool contrast between realism and the toy-like visuals of the living beings that moved about the world.
We quickly switched to other well known heroes of Star Wars, including Chewie, who showed off the new shooting mechanics, which now work more like an actual shooter, allowing you to aim at specific enemy body parts, with them reacting to every shot as they should, since they now have health bars. I.e, shooting a leg will cause them to collapse, and a head shot is almost a sure kill, for example, as the demoer showed us. Another new wrinkle to gameplay comes in the form of a new over the shoulder camera angle that put us even closer to the action, and made Lego Star Wars feel much more like an action adventure game than any of the previous entries.
Sadly, since the demo was an early alpha build of the game, we were not able to see if any of the Lego building elements that were part of the older titles are present in The Skywalker Saga, but considering that this is still a Lego game, for as much as it changes things up, I doubt that Traveller Tales would dare move away from concepts like that. Hopefully they’ll go into more detail as this new Lego Star Wars develops. The only very quick reference to brick collecting came when a special brick was picked up and a notification appeared indicating that all of the level’s pieces were collecting, so we’ll see how that shapes up in the coming months.
After seeing what the demo was all about, I can say for a fact that I’m incredibly excited to see how it turns out. This E3 was a big show for Star Wars, and considering that both this and Star Wars: The Fallen Order made for some really impressive demos, the future looks hopeful for what could otherwise be considered a videogame franchise that has seen its share of passable games in the last few years.
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is still very early into development, so don’t expect a release date this year. Warner Bros has assured us that it’ll be available sometime next year for just about every console known to men and alien alike.