UPDATE! LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga Will Have Open-World Elements
Another day at E3, another update for LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga. Journalists who attended the event managed to see some gameplay footage of the title, which indicates that the game will provide a substantial amount of freedom for players to explore the LEGO-fied version of the galaxy far, far away.
Attending this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, Jordan Maison of Cinelinx and Katy Barber of The Kakebytes Podcast have explained that The Skywalker Saga has been built from the ground up, confirming previous speculation that the game would not simply port over levels from previous titles in the series. The combat system has once again been overhauled to be more dynamic, which should likely allow for more interesting lightsaber duels and firefights. But perhaps the most interesting detail that was shared is that the game will allow players to fly from planet to planet between missions:
Quick notes from @katy__kakes who saw gameplay and footage:
* Entire game is built from the ground up for the this release
* Redesigned Combat
* You'll be able to fly from planet to planet with space battle sequences as well.#LEGOStarWars #TheSkywalkerSaga https://t.co/pkYdFtpssZ
— Jordan Maison (@JordanMaison) June 11, 2019
This would not be a new concept for the LEGO games, as there tends to be a cantina that serves as the primary location that you go back to between levels. More recent installments, such as LEGO Marvel Super Heroes and LEGO DC Super Villains have had large, open-world hub environments, and LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens had a handful of hubs, but it seems as though this game will take things to a completely different scale. If we count all the major planets of the three trilogies, we could see hub worlds for Tatooine, the Death Star I, Yavin IV, Hoth, Dagobah, Bespin, the Death Star II, Endor, Naboo, Coruscant, Kamino, Geonosis, Utapau, Kashyyyk, Mustafar, Jakku, Takodana, D’Qar, Starkiller Base, Ahch-To, Cantonica, Crait, Pasaana, and Kijimi… Potentially along with some other locations that may be in The Rise of Skywalker.
We’ll have to wait for more information to arrive before we can draw any conclusions, but even if each map is the size of the average hub map for the levels in the adaptation of The Force Awakens, the amount of space you’ll be able to cover should be staggering. Which is also not even getting into the space component, which opens up even more possibilities to encounter various factions and other assorted collectibles. If the environments themselves prove to be as dynamic as it sounds, then players might just find themselves so enamored in exploring the setting that they take breaks from playing the nine campaigns. As it stands, it’s not clear if the new LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga footage will be released to the public at E3, but we’ll be sure to keep you covered if more information comes to light. The game is scheduled to release sometime in 2020, most likely in the first half of that year.
A more in-depth description of design philosophy of the new game has surfaced online via GameZone. According to what they were told at a presentation of the game, the developers at TT Games did not want it to feel like they were being complacent with their tried-and-true formula, and are instead working to establish what they described as a new era of LEGO video games. As such, they’re looking to deliver a completely new gameplay experience under a familiar coat of paint, as the title will be as unique of an experience for newcomers as it will be to longtime fans. Everything here is being rebuilt from the ground up. You won’t be playing the same levels that you did in LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga or LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens, mixed in with content from the last two films of the series and other assorted shenanigans that the development team will cook up; you’ll instead get new, redesigned levels that cover the same portions of the story, along with levels that cover elements omitted from the earlier titles in the series.
The reason for that is that the fundamentals of gameplay have changed significantly. Gone are the days of fixed camera angles, as now the player is in full control of a 360-degree camera. Lightsaber combat is based on combo attacks rather than just spamming the attack button repeatedly, and characters can use the Force in more dynamic ways instead of simply pushing, pulling, choking, or electrocuting enemies. Blaster-wielders will have an over-the-shoulder approach to combat, complete with a focus on taking aim, instead of firing randomly and occasionally having one of your blaster bolts automatically lock on to an enemy or object. Enemies have health bars now instead of dying in one or two hits, and depending on where you attack enemies with either type of weapon, the amount of damage that they take will be reflected accordingly. The end result should make for a more engaging and challenging experience instead of the more casual gameplay that’s come to be associated with the LEGO titles, although it should not feel inaccessible to new players.
As mentioned previously, you’re free to play the nine stories of The Skywalker Saga in whatever order you want to. What’s arguably more interesting is that you’re also free to take whatever ship you’ve assembled to fly out of a planet’s atmosphere and explore the galaxy far, far away at your own leisure. But not everywhere you travel will be safe; the writer describes a sequence in which a Star Destroyer traveling at lightspeed zooms in right in front of the Millennium Falcon‘s path to Tatooine, and the freighter has to take down the Imperial blockade and its starfighters before it can proceed. Once the ship made it to the surface of Tatooine, it became a trip through several iconic Star Wars locations, including Jabba’s palace, the Sarlaac, and Luke’s old home, among other places. On top of all that, there were plenty of sidequests and additional characters filling up the world.
What’s better is that Tatooine is just one of many planets in the game; about a dozen, and possible more, were shown as options to fly to in the demonstration shown. And you’ll need to traverse the various planets in order to access each each of the game’s many levels and progress with the story further, but the process to get to each one sounds more fun due to the elaborate nature of the new approach. Instead of just walking through a cantina to play each mission by going through a specific door, you have to take your characters on a journey to reach each level. (I imagine that, once you’ve completed the level, there will be a way of fast-travelling to it for the purpose of replaying missions to gain new unlockables.) Above all else, this clearly demonstrates that TT Games are not kidding around when they want this to be the start of a new era, because if this is to be the standard that other projects that they develop are going to follow, then the future for LEGO adaptation games are incredibly bright. The Force, indeed, is with them.
Grant has been a fan of Star Wars for as long as he can remember, having seen every movie on the big screen. When he’s not hard at work with his college studies, he keeps himself busy by reporting on all kinds of Star Wars news for SWNN and general movie news on the sister site, Movie News Net. He served as a frequent commentator on SWNN’s The Resistance Broadcast.