It seems like specific instances, or dungeons, or scenarios would be the best plan for that.
RS: Yeah, and it could be small integration points; maybe you see some of the characters from the Rebel Alliance walking around in the Universe occasionally, doing little cameo appearances. There's actually a whole rock stage, we could have guest stars show up and do a little rock music thing one day or something like that.
Ah, LEGO Rock Band, the most pointless of all the LEGO titles!
RS: My kid loves it.
Difficulty-wise, all the console games are super easy. How are you going to deal with that here? Is keeping in the same difficulty curve a concern here or not?
RS: I think we want to keep it familiar to the players of those games. A lot of people played those games and enjoyed them; there's definitely an emphasis on accessibility over complexity and challenge. Not to say there isn't challenge; it will be there, but we want to make sure it's accessible to a wider audience.
A super hardcore MMO raider that used to do 40-man guild raids might not find anything quite that deep and complex that requires so much coordination here, but there are elements of that here.
I've played MMOs for a long time, and I know people that consider their MMO of the day as a second job. I find it ridiculous that someone could mentally conceive of playing a game as work; it should always be fun.
You should be able to hop in, have fun, play on your property for a while, build something, oh maybe you don't have enough bricks for the idea you have, so you'll play the game some more, get some leaderboard stuff going with some of the minigames with your friends, a little bit of fun, indirect competition going on, do a little co-op, go back to your property, build some stuff, go to your friends property, give them some models to help them build their property up -- that's more of the loop we're going for. Your own creativity is driving the depth you will get out of the game.
And you're not really going for the hardcore guildies market anyway.
RS: Yeah, we're trying to take a more Pixar approach right now. Pixar makes family movies, but you can enjoy it, right? They have good technical execution, they take their stories seriously, there's entertainment value there for all ages, or there might be stuff that goes over the kids' heads that adults get. We're trying to do the same thing.
You'll probably see some pop culture references in the game that kids will be oblivious to, but an adult might enjoy it. Some of the depth in the abilities might be too deep for a younger kid, but they'll just enjoy seeing the cool effects and stuff while the adults can use it more strategically and tactically in the gameplay. We're trying to take that approach, but if you're a super hardcore raider… will you get hooked on the property stuff? I hope so, but it's not there for everybody.
Well, not everything has to target the hardcore.
RS: We just want it to be a fun game so a lot of people can play it, and if you're a fan of LEGO, it's just super cool to be your own minifig. You can take that character through a bunch of adventures and get cooler and cooler looking, and hopefully someday -- we're talking with the manufacturing guys -- you'll be able to order your minifig in real life, and even the models you build in real life, as well.
Most of the other popular LEGO games have come to console. What do you think about LEGO Universe doing that?
RS: I would love for our game to be on consoles. The problem with MMOs on consoles is just a business thing with platform holders. They're still trying to figure out how to make third party work in an MMO context. There's no technical reason why we can't be on there. I would love to see it happen.
Square Enix seems to have figured it out. They're doing it for the second time, with Final Fantasy XIV.
RS: Yeah, and there's a lot of discussion that goes on, and they're starting to figure out what they can do, but a lot of it comes down to who controls the service and the servers. LEGO treats their consumers very close to them; they don't want to give up control to anyone else because it's a trusted relationship they have. They've built a lot of trust with their fans over the years, and the platform holders feel the same way about their consumers, so a lot of it has to do with figuring out what to do on the business side of that.