E3 2019: You can fly ships and explore planets in LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
Some information on the new LEGO Star Wars game has come out and it is very interesting indeed. Announced at Microsoft’s E3 2019 press conference, it includes levels and story content from every mainline Star Wars movie, from The Phantom Menace all the way to The Rise of Skywalker.
At the time, it wasn’t entirely clear what the game actually was. We already have games for movies 1 through 7, so was this some kind of remake? Well, now that the media have been shown a theater demo of the game, we know that it’s actually a complete reboot for the LEGO Star Wars franchise.
“LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga marks our return to the franchise that kicked off the LEGO video game series. The game will give fans an all-new LEGO Star Wars experience with complete freedom to explore the LEGO Star Wars galaxy,” said Tom Stone, managing director of TT Games. “It was an absolute pleasure to be part of the launch of the original LEGO Star Wars game and it’s equally exciting to now move the series forward and help create a new era of LEGO Star Wars games.”
A new era, indeed. This isn’t like any LEGO game you’ve seen before, with a new engine built from the ground up. Just like how God of War (2018) changed the series for the better, this game is also revamping massive parts of its formula.
So what’s new?
First off, The Skywalker Saga will feature hundreds of playable characters (easily the most in any LEGO Star Wars game yet) and a whole bunch of ships. That second part is important, because you can fly these ships in space and freely explore 20 different planets. You can also run into random encounters, such as stumbling upon Star Destroyers that are all too happy to make your life hell.
In the demo, it was noted that players could fully explore planets like Tatooine, and even talk to various characters and get side quests before continuing the main story. Previous games like LEGO DC Super Villains featured small, interconnected hubs, but this game gives you multiple open worlds. There was never much story going on in the hub worlds before, but now there might actually be a basis to stop and explore these places.
To me, the best and most exciting feature is that TT Games is doing away with the fixed camera perspective. The Skywlker Saga uses a third-person, over-the-shoulder view with free camera control.
This is huge, and has never been done in a licensed LEGO game before. The overall graphics look to be tuned up as well, and it was noted that there were very noticeable improvements in lighting and in-game texture details, making this the best-looking LEGO game yet by a mile.
Combat is getting a significant revamp, as well. In combat, players now get a mixture of heavy and light attacks to combo with, as well as new Force powers. In ranged combat, you can aim more precisely using the new over-the-shoulder perspective, scoring headshots for more damage.
Force powers work differently too. Previously, you just had to hold a button and the game does all the work for you. Now, you can actually direct your powers to interact with the environment, solve puzzles and the like.
That’s pretty much all the details we have at the moment, and it sounds like LEGO games in general are headed in a bold new direction. I’ve always loved these games, but they have gotten really same-y lately. LEGO DC Villains stepped things up last year with some fresh ideas, but the core formula was absolutely getting stale. LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga seems to have totally abandoned that formula, and I couldn’t be more excited for it.
The game comes out sometime in 2020 for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.
Images: Warner Bros. Interactive