For those that play video games, E3 is one of the most exciting weeks of the year. The flurry of game announcements provide enthusiasts to look forward to for the next few months. Sadly though, some of the show’s biggest titles were confirmed to not be released until next year. Cyberpunk 2077, Final Fantasy VII Remake, and Marvel’s Avengers are the most impressive games of the show and won’t release until 2020. Surprisingly, after our brief behind-closed-doors demo of the newest Lego game from TT Games, another game deserves to be on that list as well. Since Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is unlike anything the developers have aimed to create before.
Your eyes don’t deceive you
We had the pleasure of having our demo presented by James Mcloughlin. Mcloughlin was the director of previous Lego titles such as Lego The Lord of the Rings and Lego Dimensions. These two titles innovated with the former including voice-acting that incorporated from the original films, while the latter was a massive toys-to-life crossover of dozens of licensed properties. Mcloughlin looks to innovate again with Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, his newest project as director. What greeted us was a title screen which contained dozens of characters from all nine films with each other on the same screen. It was an exciting moment that sold the concept of unifying the Star Wars sagas. Portraying Rey, Anakin Skywalker, and Han Solo interacting with Lando Calrissian, Luke Skywalker, and Jar-Jar Binks.
After pressing start, we were presented with various dioramas that showcased each of the movies that could be chosen. In this particular vertical slice, each film is chosen individually rather than an extensive hub world similar to the one that was seen. Furthermore, the films are represented by dioramas which depict various scenes from the different episodes. Mcloughlin stated that the structure of Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga would allow players to choose from any movie to jump into and selected Return of the Jedi.
I have a very good feeling about this
Return of the Jedi opened immediately with gameplay from the perspective of the Millenium Falcon. This particular instance showcased how the new engine and technology of Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga would be utilized, not just for better visuals but for better gameplay. A Star Destroyer jumped out of hyperspace and was surprisingly made entirely of Lego. In fact, McLoughlin pointed out that this is one of the technical improvements made possible by rebuilding everything from the ground up. With full control of the Falcon that evoked the deliberate space-combat of the Rogue Squadron games, we saw them dispatch a handful of Tie-fighters that spiraled into explosions. It was then that McLoughlin expressed that you can go from orbit onto a planet.
As the Falcon careened to Tatooine a cutscene transition played and we were now on the surface of the desert planet in seconds. Playing now as Lando (in his Skreej disguise) we got the chance to see a breathtakingly detailed open-world. Visible weather was on the bricks of buildings and sand caked the furry legs of Bantha. McLoughlin also presented how dense each open-world would be with easter eggs and locations from the films. Showcasing the (albeit lonely due to the events of A New Hope) moisture farm where Luke Skywalker grew up. Details such as the shuttled T-16 Skyhopper which Luke used to headshot Womp rats sold the concept. This open-world gameplay was also sold by a 3rd person perspective which is tight to the player character and provides full control of the camera.
The Force is with this one
This new perspective includes revamped controls that allow you to aim down crosshairs over the character’s shoulder. We were also demonstrated the lightsaber and Force with Luke Skywalker. The Force has been revamped from the ground-up, with the ability to manipulate objects directly with levitation. The new lightsaber combat is also combo-heavy. Allowing players to use the Force within a combo and juggle enemies akin to Devil May Cry. We were then showcased more characters. With Boba Fett and C-3PO having massively different gameplay than Luke.
Within the open-world hubs, there were many quests and sidequests showcased. Some of these are environmental puzzles akin to the improvisational Kokiri seed quests that were in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. These quests, of which the one showcased was using the Force to put a ball-shaped item through a soccer goal for some Jawas, provide awards in the form of Kyber Bricks. Kyber Bricks are a new currency used to upgrade vehicles. Every vehicle in the environment can be ridden in the overworld and we were shown Skywalker cruising with his landspeeder. Our demo ended with a trailer showcasing various hubs that will be present in the final product. Showcasing Naboo, Galactic City, Canto Bight, Mos Eiseley, Cloud City, Hoth, Starkiller Base, and Mustafar.
Tell these people the odds!
We had burning questions once our presentation was over. Thankfully Anna, a level designer working on the project, was more than happy to give us answers. She stated that the game will not have content from the spin-off films such as Rogue One and Solo. While also portraying that every single facet of the game is indeed being rebuilt from every angle (even everything from Force Awakens which had its own title release in 2016). Also, the original Lego Star Wars games had pantomime humor due to the lack of voice-acting. Anna informed us also that the Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga will balance a combination of voice-acting and silent expressions. As for multiplayer the game include the same couch co-op that the series is known for (albeit with a solely split-screen presentation).
What we got to see of Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga was a surely impressive proof of concept. TT Games is aiming for this to not just be the most definitive Lego title, but also the ultimate Star Wars game. However, we still only got to see the surface of one open-world area. Relaying that this ambitious title though is still a “galaxy far far away” from being completed. The confidence of the development team leaves us hopeful that they will be able to pull this off. Considering this, it’s one to pay attention to leading up to the planned 2020 release.
For more previews from E3 2019, check out our piece on Cyberpunk 2077 here.