Traveller’s Tales subsidiary studio TT Fusion initially had concerns regarding the prospect of merging both the LEGO and Rock Band franchises.
That’s according to Matt Palmer, head of animation at TT Fusion, who presented a speaker session today at the inaugural Develop in Liverpool conference.
During Palmer’s well-received speaker session – where the question ‘can a LEGO man even properly hold a guitar’ was explored – Palmer admitted that he had reservations of his own when pitched the idea of a LEGO Rock Band game.
“We were approached 13 months ago by publisher TT Games, who were in turn approached by Harmonix about LEGO Rock Band. And I’d say about 50 per cent of our studio were for the idea, and about 50 per cent were against it.”
Palmer was refreshingly frank about the initial reception to LEGO Rock Band, admitting that the game was – initially – badly received by the press and player community.
“I know people were saying ‘oh they’re flogging a LEGO licence again’,” he said.
At a brief Q&A session following the speach, Palmer told Develop that, generally, TT Fusion warmed to the idea of LEGO Rock Band during the end of 2008, when the game was beginning to come together.
“Many of us started realizing that we weren’t just skinning one franchise on another, he said.”
Broadly, the speaker session explored the challenge of animating LEGO figures as rock stars.
Due to the unique physical properties of LEGO figures, Palmer revealed that TT Fusion decided to go with key-frame animation instead of mo-cap in order to attain more exuberant motions and expressions.
Palmer revealed exactly how the studio had to observe the signature styles, movements and attitudes of recording artists such as Iggy Pop and Freddy Mercury, as well as bands such as Blur. Palmer also observed that a LEGO version of Blur’s ex-lead guitarist Graham Coxon looks “a bit like Harry Potter.”