Believe it or not, I’ve never really been a massive fan of Lego sets.
Don’t get me wrong, I definitely want to be. I absolutely love what it stands for, I adore how timeless the design is, and I enjoy seeing all the different things people make with it.
I’m just not a very creative person when it comes to making things. It’s the same reason I don’t like Minecraft: any time I play it the result is me just standing there going “ummmm…” and never deciding what to make.
The Lego products that interest me most, then, are the pre-set construction kits that give you all the pieces you need in the box and let you build shit like the Millennium Falcon, the Simpsons’ house and even the United Nations headquarters.
Much as I’d love to get stuck into those however, they’re just too pricey. The recently-released SHIELD Helicarrier from their Marvel Super Heroes line is a wallet-squirming £269.99. Smaller things, like the Eiffel Tower, are still £30 a pop: that’s just too much money for me for something I’ll play with (i.e. build) once and never use again.
Most of my relationship with Lego, then, consists of playing the brilliant Lego games from Traveller’s Tales / TT Games. From the original Lego Star Wars all the way up to the recently released Lego Batman 3, I’ve owned all sixteen licensed Lego games and am pumped for the two upcoming offerings, Lego Marvel’s Avengers and Lego Jurassic World.
That’s why the recently announced Lego Dimensions has me so excited.
Before I tell you anything, watch the trailer. The ‘comedy’ is a bit pish, but never mind that. Just watch it.
Essentially then, Lego Dimensions is a toys-to-life game in the style of Skylanders or, more similarly, Disney Infinity. Players will buy special NFC versions of Lego minifigs and scan them into the game, letting you team up characters from different worlds and make them battle in various locations.
But while I couldn’t care less about Skylanders, and Disney Infinity only held my interest for a while, I couldn’t be more pumped for Lego Dimensions if I was made entirely of bicycle pumps. Here’s a needlessly elaborate fake FAQ style chat explaining why.
Why should I care about Lego Dimensions? I’m already playing Disney Infinity.
Well, for starters, it doesn’t appear that Lego Dimensions will be quite as restricted as Disney Infinity when it comes to future possibilities.
Well, whereas Disney Infinity is restricted to characters owned by Disney (including Pixar, Marvel and possible Star Wars in the future), it would appear Lego Dimensions has the freedom to add new characters and settings on a licence-by-licence basis.
As the game’s press release puts it: “Imagine putting LEGO Gollum from The Lord of the Rings behind the wheel of the LEGO DeLorean Time Machine in New Ninjago City – the creative play is endless.”
As well as characters, Lego Dimensions also borrows from Disney Infinity by letting players spawn vehicles and gadgets into the game too.
Which characters are in it then?
So far, there are six major franchises initially confirmed for Lego Dimensions: DC, The Lord Of The Rings, The Lego Movie, The Wizard Of Oz, Ninjago and Back To The Future.
The Starter Pack comes with the Lego Dimensions game (obviously), the Lego Toy Pad (which is used to scan characters into the game), bricks to build the Lego Gateway, three minifigures (Batman, Gandalf and Wyldstyle) and the Batmobile.
If you then want to expand the game, 15 different add-on packs have been confirmed so far (click them to see them bigger):
Christ. How much is all this going to set me back?
Well, first it’s worth bearing in mind that you don’t have to buy all these to enjoy the game fully. In fact, of these 15 packs, only one – the Back To The Future level pack – seems to actually add new gameplay stages. The rest are merely collectible mini figures that essentially act as in-game DLC that also looks good on your shelf.
Each of the fun packs (that’s the little two-packs that come with one minifigure and one vehicle or gadget) will cost you £14.99, while the Ninjago Team Pack and the Back To The Future level pack cost £29.99.
The Starter Pack, meanwhile, will cost £89.99 on Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii U, and £99.99 on Xbox One and PS4.
Just let me get my calculator out…
Done it for you mate. Assuming you’re playing on a new-gen system, to get the game and all 19 playable characters, 18 vehicles/gadgets and the Back To The Future stages you’re talking £354.84.
Right. Well, have fun mate, I’m out.
Fair enough, but I think I might be in.
Why though? That’s mental.
It is, but only when you look at it in terms of a video game. In terms of Lego products, it’s not a massive deal.
I’m dubious. Explain.
Well, these minifigs aren’t like the normal ones you buy in shops, or those irritating ‘blind bag’ ones you get that have, say, a random Simpsons character in them and you don’t know you’re going to get until you open it and it’s ALWAYS BLOODY SCRATCHY.
It seems you build these ones, you see.
It would appear that one of Lego Dimensions’ gimmicks is that you don’t just buy these NFC toys from the shops, you then have to build them yourself before scanning them into the game. It seems like an obvious thing for the vehicles (I’m not going to be able to resist shouting “SPACESHIP” while I build Benny’s spaceship) but it would appear you build the figures too.
At least, that’s according to the press release, which describes the fun packs as “new buildable characters, vehicles, tools and gadgets”.
Indeed, when you have a closer look at the images above, you can see that some characters, most notably Unikitty, are clearly made up of individual bricks.
Now, I’m not daft enough to pretend we’re talking the Death Star here. You’re clearly talking three to six pieces for the minifigs and maybe 50 at most for the vehicles. But it’s still a wee bit of extra fun knowing you ‘built’ that.
Hang on, way back near the start you said the Starter Pack comes with “bricks to build the Lego Gateway”.
Yup. Have a closer look at the Starter Pack box and you’ll see it says “269 pcs” on it. It would appear you don’t need to build it, since the separate Lego Toy Pad is what you use to scan the characters into the game, but the Gateway fits around it, looks awesome, and will take you a nice wee while to put together.
Can I see more screenshots? I liked that Marty McFly one.
Aye, get stuck in.
Well, it looks good. Until the inevitable Lego Dimensions 2 comes out next year and makes all this useless.
See, that’s the interesting thing, because I have the feeling there won’t be a Lego Dimensions 2, at least not for a long time, thanks to this very interesting comment at the end of the game’s press release:
“One LEGO Toy Pad, LEGO Gateway and the videogame found in the initial Starter Pack will offer endless opportunities to customize a player’s experience for years to come. Future expansion pack purchases will continue to work with the Starter Pack, even in the fall of next year. No compatibility chart necessary.”
Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but “no compatibility chart necessary” seems like a fairly clear dig at Skylanders and Disney Infinity, and suggests that all future Lego Dimensions stuff, at least for the foreseeable future, will only need that initial Starter Pack.
If so, that’s some bloody good customer service. Let’s face it: in this world of downloadable content Disney Infinity didn’t need to have a version 2.0, and the only reason Activision keeps introducing these weird and wonderful new Skylanders gimmicks is so they can sell you another expensive portal for Skylanders Swap Force and Skylanders Trap Team, instead of just adding new normal characters and patching in support for them.
I also remember getting an early look at Disney Infinity when I was at CVG. The game’s producer was talking about excited he was about this “new platform”, which could be continually expanded for years down the line with new toys and playsets added every time a new movie came out.
Turns out that was rubbish too, when Disney Infinity 2.0 came out. Granted, it used the same portal from the first game, but if you wanted to play the Avengers playset, which was a hefty chunk of the game, you had to buy a new pricey Starter Pack.
The idea of a single game which will remain a single game and expands in the future with downloadable content rather than annual chunks of locked on-disc content is one that greatly appeals to me, and though studios have promised this before and went back on it, if Warner Bros Interactive and TT Games keep their promise this could be something special.
So what other characters could theoretically be included?
Well, you only need to look at the other licences Lego has been involved with in the past. Previous Lego licenses – in terms of either video games or buildable sets – have included:
- Star Wars
- Harry Potter
- Jurassic Park
- Avatar: The Last Airbender
- SpongeBob SquarePants
- Indiana Jones
- Speed Racer
- Ben 10
- Prince Of Persia
- Pirates Of The Caribbean
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
- The Simpsons
It’s probably safe to assume that we won’t be seeing Star Wars, Marvel or Pirates Of The Caribbean in there any time soon, given that Disney definitely won’t be up for giving away the rights to characters they could use in Disney Infinity.
However, two of the licences already in Lego Dimensions excite me more than the others: not necessarily because of what they are (though that does excite me too), but because of what they stand for.
Firstly, the Back To The Future stuff is interesting because Lego didn’t really have a proper Back To The Future line. They released a single product, the DeLorean, as part of its Lego Cuusoo range.
Now known as Lego Ideas, this is Lego’s ongoing programme in which fans submit ideas for Lego sets and, when they’ve received enough votes, are then considered by Lego as official sets.
This was the process that resulted in the DeLorean being licensed and released as a one-off, and if that’s all that’s needed to count as a contender for Lego Dimensions then that means other Cuusoo/Ideas sets – including Ghostbusters, Minecraft and the upcoming Doctor Who set – could in theory also be added in the future.
Secondly, there’s The Wizard Of Oz. This is an interesting one because there has never been an officially licensed Lego Wizard Of Oz set. Ever. This is completely new to Lego Dimensions (most likely because the rights to it are now owned by Warner Bros).
This essentially means all bets are off: just because something’s never been a Lego toy before, it doesn’t mean it can’t be included in Lego Dimensions in the future. And that excites the hell out of me.
I’m just hoping this initial batch is successful enough to encourage other licence holders to get involved. As exciting as it is, Back To The Future is the only license so far that isn’t already owned by Lego or Warner Bros. That makes Harry Potter a near certainty for the future but the possibilities won’t be as “endless” as Warner Bros Interactive claims if it’ll be forever limited to what’s in its own archives.
In fact, you know that trailer you watched above? It already teased Ghostbusters and The Simpsons.
Give me all the essential details then.
Okay, it’s out on 27 September on Xbox One and PS4 for £99.99, and Wii U, Xbox 360 and PS3 for £89.99. No dates have been given for the fun packs, though hopefully they’ll be spread out through the rest of the year to give us time to build the Starter Pack and enjoy that.
Well, that’s plenty of food for thought. And we don’t even know what the game’s like yet.
We do and we don’t. TT Games is handling it and it’s out in September so it’s all but certain it’s going to use the same Lego game engine it’s used for all the licensed games before it. They would be insane not to, because it’s a tried and tested engine that has been tweaked, refined and improved on for nearly a decade, and was built with co-op in mind from the start.
In short, I need to remove all the string from my house in case my wallet tries to make a tiny noose.
The shameless linky bit
Right, if you’re done reading the article and aren’t sold on Lego Dimensions then that’s it, move on, feel free to enjoy the myriad of delights the rest of the information superhighway offers you.
If you’ve decided that, like me, you want to buy it and are going to pre-order it, this is where I ask you to help a brother out.
By pre-ordering the game from Amazon using my links below, you ensure Amazon pays me a few pence which I can put back into this site for more storage space, less ads or what have you.
It doesn’t cost you any extra, all it means is that I get a share of Amazon’s profits and you get the warm feeling that you’re helping me out without being out of pocket yourself.
Without further ado, then, if you fancy pre-ordering any of this, here are the links to do so.
Starter Pack (Xbox One) – Lego Dimensions game, Lego Toy Pad, blocks to build the Lego Gateway, minifigs of Batman, Gandalf, Wyldstyle, Batmobile
Starter Pack (PS4) – as aove
Starter Pack (Wii U) – as above
Starter Pack (Xbox 360) – as above
Starter Pack (PS3) – as above
Level Pack – Back To The Future – Hill Valley levels, Marty McFly, DeLorean, Hoverboard
Ninjago Team Pack – Cole, Kai, Boulder Bomber, Blade Bike
Bad Cop Fun Pack – Bad Cop (The Lego Movie), Police Car
Benny Fun Pack – Benny (The Lego Movie), Benny’s Spaceship
Cyborg Fun Pack – Cyborg (DC Comics), Cyber-Guard
Emmet Fun Pack – Emmet (The Lego Movie), Emmet’s Excavator
Gimli Fun Pack – Gimli (The Lord Of The Rings), Axe Chariot
Gollum Fun Pack – Gollum (The Lord Of The Rings), Shelob the Great
Jay Fun Pack – Jay (Ninjago), Storm Fighter
Legolas Fun Pack – Legolas (The Lord Of The Rings), Arrow Launcher
Nya Fun Pack – Nya (Ninjago), Samurai Mech
Unikitty Fun Pack – Unikitty (The Lego Movie), Cloud Cuckoo Car
Wicked Witch Fun Pack – Wicked Witch of the West (The Wizard Of Oz), Flying Monkey
Wonder Woman Fun Pack – Wonder Woman (DC Comics), Invisible Jet
Zane Fun Pack – Zane (Ninjago), NinjaCopter
Disclaimer: This article was in no way created in association with Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment, Lego or TT Games. This article is not a sneaky promotional piece disguised as a legit blog, I am genuinely enthusiastic about this game and will be pre-ordering the Xbox One version.