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Take a blocky ride

Did you like flying around in a Legofied Jedi starfighter in Lego Star Wars? Stuff like that will be just the tip of the iceberg in the sequel, according to publisher LucasArts.

In a press release yesterday, the company announced that Lego Star Wars II will not only add a slew of new vehicles - including X-Wings, plastic dewback lizards (complete with chomping action) and a bricky version of the Millennium Falcon - but it'll integrate them into the platform-hopping gameplay in ways that the first game never did.

"Characters will be able to get in and out of vehicles, and ride creatures," said Tom Stone, one of the game's directors.

We saw a little of this at E3, with Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan running over civilians in a landspeeder before assembling and driving a couple of AT-ST walkers. It wasn't exactly Grand Theft Auto, but it looked like fun. And if LucasArts is to be believed, it'll go a lot deeper than what we saw, with players able to "run [a landspeeder] through the carwash and sell it to a Jawa," who'll then pay more because it's freshly washed, according to producer David Perkinson.

The vehicle-only levels will be more open as well, with players free to explore in any direction, instead of being stuck on rails like they were in the first game. Additionally, Free Play mode will let you use nearly any vehicle you want in these, to the point of flying the Death Star trench run in a speeder bike.

But to hell with that - we want to do it on a tauntaun. Your move, LucasArts.

To get a look at the Lego rides you'll be able to pilot when the game ships this September, hit the Images tab above.

June 21, 2006