LEGO and Star Wars go hand in hand. The Danish giant and Lucasfilm’s franchise became synonymous with each other following the launch of Star Wars related LEGO franchises in 1999, which tied in with the release of the Phantom Menace. These proved so popular that an acclaimed video game series was launched in 2005 covering Episodes 1-3 and a follow-up with 4-6 in 2006. The latest iteration of the LEGO Star Wars video game franchise comes out in October of this year, allowing gamers the chance to revisit their favourite moments from Episodes 1-9.
Star Wars games as a whole have varied in quality since the decision to make games with EA and the closing of LucasArts. However, elements of the two Star Wars: Battefront games to date have received praise, and 2019’s Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order was one of the best received Star Wars entries in years. Fresh off of the success of Fallen Order, LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga can hopefully continue the forward momentum for the world of Star Wars gaming.
These games on paper might seem like they’re aimed squarely at kids, but over the years there have been a surplus of LEGO video game adaptations, often receiving strong receptions and faring well with audiences of all ages. These include LEGO Harry Potter, LEGO DC & Marvel, and the LEGO Dimensions series which encompasses multiple franchises. For my money, however, the original LEGO Star Wars games are hard to beat.
The original game was one of the best-selling games released on the PlayStation 2 offering fans a fun filled and accessible vehicle to play through much of the prequel and original film trilogies. The cut scenes in particular boasted a distinct sense of humour, making use of the playful nature of LEGO. It was fun to be able to solve LEGO puzzles and force bricks together in order to progress through the game.
The subsequent editions of the franchise have never quite hit the same heights as the first two entries. 2011’s Star Wars: The Clone Wars was an attempt at adding onto the popularity of the TV series and has its share of fun, but it is less cohesive than its predecessors and lacks in the wide range appeal of focusing on a particular time frame of the franchise. Likewise, 2016’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens adaptation which made use of voice acting that was missing from the original games, should have given the franchise a fresh injection of energy, yet it felt like something was missing and the changes in gameplay didn’t sit quite right.
One of the largest strides made in not just LEGO franchises but gaming in general is map size and ability to free-roam the Star Wars universe. This obviously offers an exponential number of opportunities to explore rather than being confined to the Mos Eisley Cantina. It will be great to explore more of the worlds – like Endor, Jakku, and Hoth – than we have previously been able to in LEGO games. From the initial feedback regarding the latest game the open worlds will vary from trilogy to trilogy, making this not just one of the largest LEGO games, but one of the most expansive Star Wars games to date.
Word has it that this is a completely new game and will not recycle content from previous LEGO Star Wars entries. This means the game will have wide appeal for both newcomers to the franchise and returning gamers who won’t be replaying previous games beat for beat.
Words by Chris Connor