LEGO Dimensions may be the new player in the toy box, but it's by no means an unproven competitor.
TT Games' range of LEGO games are hugely popular – in fact it's the fourth-biggest games brand in the UK behind GTA, Call of Duty and FIFA.
Even so, this type of LEGO game is uncharted territory for both Warner Bros and TT Games.
This is our first experience designing interactive hardware while combining physical LEGO with digital gameplay, as well as incorporating so many brands into one game,” said TT Games creative director Jon Burton.
The mash-up storyline and the ability to do almost anything in the game, such as having Homer Simpson drive the Batmobile through Mordor, has never been done before.”
David Haddad, EVP GM at Warner Bros (below) adds: There is incredible interest for LEGO Dimensions because of its innovation, and it is the only way to bring the extremely popular LEGO toys to life in a video game. LEGO games have sold more than 150m units worldwide and LEGO Dimensions builds on this legacy and offers an entirely new LEGO video game experience.”
"The ability to have Homer Simpson
drive the Batmobile through Mordor
has never been done before."
Jon Burton, TT Games
LEGO Dimensions is jam-packed with licences, and it's an eclectic range, too. Yes there are big brands such as Batman, Lord of the Rings and Simpsons, but there's some more niche IP, too, such as Doctor Who, games brand Portal, Back To The Future and Scooby Doo.
LEGO Dimensions is really for everyone,” explains Burton. While some of the IPs may be more familiar to certain players than others, you get to play with all of them in the Starter Pack.”
Dimensions' potentially broad aspects are evident in its marketing. The first trailer notably featured an adult playing the game, while each subsequent video has been full of humour that would appeal to core gamers (Portal), casual fans (Doctor Who) and kids (The Simpsons).
We are not just launching a game, we are building a brand,” explains Haddad.
The biggest obstacle for LEGO Dimensions is by far its price.
The game is clearly an expensive project. It features the world's biggest toy brand, a string of major licences, plus full voice acting talent – Peter Capaldi is The Doctor, Christopher Lloyd returns as Doc Brown, Dan Castellaneta is Homer Simpsons, The LEGO Movie cast return... it's an A-list line-up.
As a result, LEGO Dimensions carries an eye-watering RRP of between 85 (Wii U, Xbox 360 and PS3) and 95 (PS4 and Xbox One). That's without factoring in the add-ons that range between 15 to 30.
LEGO Dimensions offers great long-term value with an incredible collection of top entertainment properties, an innovative Toy Pad, real building and re-building with LEGO toys, and a complete, high-quality LEGO video game,” defends Haddad. The replayability is very high with endless opportunities to customise the experience for years of play. We'll continue to evolve our product assortment, but everything will remain compatible.”
Premium toys-to-life products can work – Skylanders has its ‘Dark' starter sets that retail for a higher price – and traditional LEGO products can stretch into the hundreds of pounds, yet sell well amongst an adult audience.
Yet for families and kids, a near-100 price is potentially prohibitive.
Warner Bros believes the game is worth the entry price, and that the near-30 expansions make this a long-term investment for parents. It will be up to the publisher's marketing vehicle to get that message out there.
Why should I stock it?
LEGO is the fourth-biggest games brand in the UK. LEGO is the biggest toy brand in the world. TT Games is a proven and talented developer. The licences in this game should attract a broad spectrum of gamers and age groups.
What should I be aware of?
The price is very, very high. The franchise is unproven in comparison to Disney Infinity and Skylanders.