Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga feels like the end of an era. Arriving April 5, 2022, it's the culmination of a 17-year celebration of arguably the most iconic film franchise in history. Developer TT Games is set to deliver an adaptation of all nine entries in the Skywalker Saga, one that's overflowing with the sort of slapstick action and self-deprecating humor that has delighted players of all ages across the last four console generations. It's been a monstrous creative challenge for the studio,
"It's safe to say that we're always trying to challenge ourselves to go bigger and better, and Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is no exception. Setting out to make a Lego Star Wars game that encapsulates the entire saga is no easy feat, but it's a challenge we couldn't wait to take on," senior producer James Burgon tells me. "It takes time, determination, and patience, which has been necessary for us all at TT to focus and deliver the best Lego Star Wars game ever possible."
Brick by brick
Game Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
Developer TT Games
Publisher Warner Bros
Release April 5, 2022
TT Games' journey with Star Wars began in 2005, when it worked to rebuild George Lucas' prequel trilogy brick-by-brick in Lego Star Wars: The Video Game. In the years since, the studio has tackled the original trilogy, The Clone Wars, and The Force Awakens. For Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, the studio has gone all out. This isn't a repeat of 2007's The Complete Saga – an amalgamation of existing work into a new package – but something new, a reevaluation of 45 years’ worth of stories and characters that is designed to bring us a little closer to a galaxy that's far, far away.
Cinematic animation director Dave Brown tells me that one of the biggest challenges has been reinterpreting scenes the studio had taken a first pass at in previous years. "There are, of course, a vast range of comedic takes on the Star Wars films, but we always try to create new material. Although it can be hard, you sometimes think you've come up with a new idea only to find it's been done. There are naturally scenes that have been featured in these previous games, but none of these have been reworked, they are all new content."
It's easy to forget that TT Games' work with Lego began by conveying humor through physical comedy and unintelligible gibberish – a carefully curated assortment of grunts, groans, and wilhelm screams. 2012's Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes changed that, introducing a full roster of voice acting talent. The studio may be walking familiar ground with The Skywalker Saga, but we'll see scenes in a whole new light thanks to the talents of actors like Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian), Tom Kane (Yoda), and countless others. "The move to using dialogue has meant that we can tell a lot more of the story than we used to," adds Brown, "and it allows us to play with the interactions between characters a lot more than we did previously."
The video game industry may look a lot different now than it did when Lego Star Wars first hit the scene, but one reason TT Games feels so confident in pulling off such an expressive and expansive package with The Skywalker Saga is that its approach has remained steadfast throughout the years. "We have a much bigger team now than we did back in the early days, but our core take on the humor remains the same."
"The characters in our games fully believe that they are the characters from the films, they react in serious and authentic ways, and then we add physical and visual twists to create humor," says Brown. "As with Lego itself, there is an expectation to remain authentic to the source material, but to push the fun. We believe it's really important to remain true to the characters and the story itself, so that the game is an authentic experience, while going as zany as we can within that world."
Play your way
Key to Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is player expression. While Brown says that the progression of Anakin to Luke to Rey (and how the trio complements each other) is the "spine that we worked on" from an overarching story perspective, you'll be able to explore the trilogies in any order from the outset. You're free to go back and see how the studio has handled the original and prequel trilogies all these years later, or dive straight into The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker – neither of which have received Lego adaptations thus far. The choice is yours.
Speaking of choice, there are over 300 playable characters in The Skywalker Saga. As Burgon can attest, it's a frankly absurd offering – "it's a huge roster, perhaps our biggest yet" – although the producer says TT hasn't struggled to find new characters to fold into the experience. "Honestly, it's impossible to exhaust all options when there's such an eclectic galaxy created from over 40 years of Star Wars content, whether from films, books, or comics. There's always going to be exciting characters or unusual creatures to discover."
"With such a wide array to choose from it was difficult to say 'stop'," Burgon admits, although he will only tease the depths of obscurity that the team has reached into. "Of course, fan favourites such as the Wampa, Babu Frik, and Darth Maul are a must, but it isn't a Lego game without a few nods to some of the more obscure characters for the super-fans; Mister Bones, Temmin Wexley's B1 Battle Droid makes an appearance, and is one of my personal favourites."
Key for Burgon and the team at TT has been building an experience that celebrates the legacy of Star Wars, without impacting our ability to rearrange all of its pieces. After all, half the fun of playing with Lego is building something long after you've lost the instructions – you're free to reinterpret your favorite Star Wars scenes without restriction.
"Whilst reimagining the story of the Skywalker Saga is a huge part of what makes the game special, the other mantra of Lego games is allowing the player to play as they choose via Freeplay. As you play through the story you'll unlock new planets in the galaxy to explore, new characters to play as, and new spaceships to explore space with. Want to fight Emperor Palpatine on Exegol as Obi-Wan? Go for it. Want to have Lando and Padme fight the Rancor? You sure can."
A fresh perspective
As ambitious as trying to adapt nine films’ worth of story into one complete package is, TT Games' efforts haven't stopped there. Perhaps the biggest shift is to combat and camera. The studio has reigned the camera closer to the characters' shoulders – controlled freely with the analog stick. This is so that we're able to better inspect each film's five authored story levels, built from millions upon millions of Lego bricks, and the expansive open-world spaces that encompass them.
"The Original Lego Star Wars had Dex's Diner as the sole hub area," Burgon reflects, speaking to the decision to introduce fully explorable planets filled with iconic Star Wars landmarks and hundreds of side-quests. "Now, in 2022, leaving Dex's Diner and being able to explore the Uscru District, then hop in a taxi to the Federal District of Coruscant, then take off in a ship into local space, and then fly off to an abundance of other planets and explore, is something we are truly proud of… We couldn't stop until we had created a celebration of Lego and Star Wars that really felt like the Lego Star Wars galaxy had come to life."
This change to the camera and structure has also been made to support the shift to more immersive battles. "For Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, we've rebuilt combat entirely. With the new melee combat system, combinations of attacks can be chained together to earn multipliers and pull off impressive maneuvers. Enemies will block, forcing you to change tactics, or even try to ambush you, to which you can retaliate with one of many unique counter-attacks, or roll out the way to dodge the attack," Burgon says, teasing that there's also "new lightsaber duels, the ability to force throw objects and droids as you please, and Jedi mind tricks are also at your disposal to defeat the Dark Side and save the galaxy."
TT Games has also reimagined character classes for The Skywalker Saga. Hero, Bounty Hunter, Scoundrel, and Jedi are just some of the options available to you, and each will come with upgrade trees and unlockable skills. Burgon gives just one example: "One Bounty Hunter upgrade will unlock stun grenades for combat. Precision aiming for blasters now allows the player full control, whether that's playing defensively from behind cover or going in all blasters blazing."
Celebrating Star Wars
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is set to launch on April 5 for Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X. From what we have seen of it in action so far, it's clear that TT Games is constructing a true love letter to Star Wars and to the spirit of the Lego games it started building almost 20 years ago. From Burgon's perspective, there's an unshakable sense of nostalgia to the entire creative process. "Knowing there are players who have grown up playing the original Lego Star Wars games that are now excited to play Skywalker Saga, whether it be filled with fond nostalgia or playing alongside their own children, kept us going to create what we set out to do."
"It's been an incredible project to be a part of, and we can't wait for players to experience it soon," he says. "We have an incredibly talented team here at TT, all of whom never back down from a challenge no matter how intimidating or impossible it may seem at first, especially considering the scope of what we have set out to achieve. It's no secret that we've been quietly working hard to deliver our vision to fans, who have been extremely understanding during this time. This has been our most ambitious project to date, and we feel it's evident that the passion for Lego and for Star Wars, combined, for everyone here at TT has been the guiding force in achieving this goal."
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