Last Friday saw the release of the latest Traveller’s Tales game, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes on current generation consoles (coming soon to Xbox One, PS4, 3DS and Wii U).
Arthur Parsons from TT Games has taken the time to answer a few questions for us about the newest LEGO games, which you can check out below. For the time being though, I’m going to carry on preparing to review the game in question.
TT Games, Assemble! Could you introduce yourselves to our readers?
My name is Arthur Parsons, I am the Game Director on LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, and have been working as a designer at TT Games for almost 15 years, and every day I’m still excited about coming into work. No two days are the same, and it’s great to work with a brilliantly talented team here at TT Towers.
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes has an incredibly large roster of characters, covering all the classic/popular characters as well as the more obscure. Did you originally have a limit on how many characters you were going to include?
That’s an amusing question actually. At the start of the project we had a detailed plan drawn up and this had a character count of 100, however during development it soon became clear that we couldn’t keep within those limits. Everyone involved with the project was so enthusiastic that they were wanting extra characters, so that is how we ended up with the playable list of 150+, however with the DLC characters and the characters that are present in the game and not playable there are so many more than that. Even then there are still characters that we’d have loved to get in, but ultimately you need to draw the line, especially when your programming team are telling you that we’ve run out of memory and disc space :D
With a growing number of LEGO titles under your belt are you finding it more difficult to keep the franchise feeling fresh?
Not at all, that is the fun creative part. As a designer we look at each different IP we work with and do everything we can to ensure our game is not just a great LEGO game, but more importantly is a great treatment of that IP. So taking LEGO Marvel as an example, we looked at the game and spent time thinking about exactly what we could do to ensure that it was an advancement on any of our other titles, and then what we could do that meant it would be the Marvel game everyone would want. We spend an awful lot of time and effort to make sure that each game has more LEGO, more gameplay, more puzzles, and a whole host of new and exciting content. We never ever rest on our laurels and really work hard to ensure that the franchise is fresh, but that is not necessarily difficult, that is the challenge, and as such what we enjoy.
Do any of you have any personal favourite Marvel characters? With so many heroes to bring to life was their a particular one that was fun to recreate?
Everyone has a favourite character in the Marvel, or should I say LEGO Marvel universe. In the early phases of the project we had animators cherry picking characters as they really wanted to work on them, I know one of our animators Mark was desperate to bring Mister Fantastic to life, and he was ecstatic when he got the character, the same with Simon and Hulk. We all have our own favourites, for me I have a huge soft spot for the Fantastic Four, so they got a little extra attention, making sure that Thing says “Clobbering Time”, and Human Torch can switch flame on and off, it all makes the game that much richer. It really was a delight to create.
Flipping that last question the other way, did you come across anyone who was more of a challenge to transform into a minifigure?
Definitely!! There are always some characters that are extremely cool, but are a massive body of work, one example here is Doctor Octopus, who we really wanted to have walking around on his tentacles, which was a massive undertaking involving huge amounts of extra animation and effort, but the results speak for themselves, we could have taken an easy option, but didn’t. Likewise, making Hulk transform to Bruce Banner and back again, was a serious amount of work, but it wouldn’t be right if we didn’t have that in the game. The hard work though is worth it, I’ve been lucky enough to attend a few events where I’ve got to see kids (and adults!) sampling the game, and the smiles on their faces really make all that work worthwhile.
Were the new films based around the Avengers a big influence during development? Did you find yourselves delving into Marvel comic books for further inspiration?
We were inspired by everything! Comic books, toys, movies, cartoons, pop culture, you name it. The Marvel IP is so big and so popular, and so rich and diverse, that to truly do the game justice we had to ensure we hooked into everything. Whether it’s little nods, or full on references, we rammed the game with touches to give it that level of authenticity.
Can we expect any future downloadable content?
We have a super pack containing characters, vehicles and new game content, and then an Asgard pack with some new characters, however other than that we aren’t planning anything else at this time.
With the Playstation 4 and Xbox One only weeks away from launch are you all excited by a new generation of games consoles?
More excited than you can imagine. It is fabulous being able to bring LEGO Marvel to the next generation of game consoles, and we are amazed at what these machines do, the game is fabulous on current gen hardware, but I was blown away when I saw it running on the new consoles, it looks really special, so I’m excited as a designer as to what we’ll be able to do as we really get the most out of the new machines, and as a gamer to be able to play new and exciting games.
Could we possibly see a non-LEGO TT Games title on the horizon in the not so distant future?
At the minute the entire team are focused on LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, and seeing how gamers react to what we have created, so we’re not thinking about anything else at the moment.
I believe you’re all required back at S.H.I.E.L.D. Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedules to chat to us!
Thanks for talking to me, and yes I can hear Agent Coulson calling me now :)