Lego City: Undercover May Get DLC, Takes 60 Hours To Beat – Interview
It’s no understatement to label Lego City: Undercover one of the most important releases on Wii U this year. Given, Rayman’s delay, Lego is left as the last major exclusive standing. Luckily, it’s shaping up to be superb.
NowGamer spoke to Loz Doyle, lead developer at TT Fusion, about building Lego City: Undercover for Wii U.
How has it felt to make a Lego game not tied to any one franchise? Has it given the team more freedom?
Doyle: “It was really liberating! But also kind of daunting. Having to make everything up was a massive job, you’ve got so many things to think about.
“There’s the whole city design, the geography and road layouts, which buildings go where, bridges, islands and story locations.
“Then there’s the story itself, what’s the plot, where does it go? What are the missions? New characters, what are they like, what are their relationships like between each other?
“So many questions but I think we got all the answers in the end.
Lego City has been compared to other open world games like Grand Theft Auto and Just Cause – great games, but very different tonally to Lego. Are you embracing those kind of comparisons?
Doyle: “Well I suppose that was always going to happen, and yes they are fantastic games so that’s flattering.
“But we purposefully set out to make our game different from the very beginning. Lego City is a really friendly place to be, despite the fact that there is a crime wave, Lego criminals are cheeky and that’s reflected in the story and our treatment of the gameplay.
“If you run someone over they just pop back up again, they’re all too happy for you to commandeer their car in the name of justice, and while you can cause havoc with your driving, smashing into all the LEGO around the city, the good citizens will just re-build it when you’ve driven off so the place always looks nice.
Why did you choose to make the game exclusively for Wii U as opposed to the multi-platform releases we’re used to seeing from Lego games?
Doyle: “We’d always wanted to do a Lego City game, and we’d always wanted to work with Nintendo. The Lego and Nintendo brands are a very natural fit, I think anyone would agree.
“When we were first shown an early version of the Wii U, we knew they Lego City Undercover was the perfect match for the console.
“The available RAM on board meant we could create the city we wanted to, and the GamePad just opened up so many gameplay opportunities. “We had to reign in the design team because they were coming up with so many uses for it. I can’t imagine the game working on any other system.
What advantages has the Gamepad brought to the table? Would this have been the same game without it?
Doyle: “It’s allowed us to really integrate the controller into the game. So when you first go to the police station you are issued with a LEGO version of the GamePad as your police communicator.
“This really helps you feel connected to the character and the device – when Chase is using it, so are you.
“It’s a map so you don’t need to pause the game to see where you are and what you’re doing.
“It’s used to receive video calls from a variety of characters during the story so you know what’s going on and where to go next.
“It’s a police scanner which enables you to see through buildings, finding criminals or discovering collectables and side missions.
“And it’s also a camera so you can take photos of bad guys up to no good or take a screenshot when you do a cool stunt.
It definitely would not be the same game without it, that physical interaction just takes the gameplay to another level.
Are there any plans for expansions, such as DLC packs?
Doyle: “Well, we have built in support for DLC and the city is certainly big enough to take any additional content but there is so much in the game already it would be difficult to know where to begin. We think it would take about 60 hours to get to 100% completion.”
Have you considered using the NFC chip in the controller to put real-world Lego mini-figures into the game, like a Lego Skylanders?
Doyle: “It’s not something we’re looking at right now, no.”
Have you considered online multiplayer in the future?
Doyle: “It is something we’re looking into. At the moment we think that generally people like playing our games together in the same room, but it’s fair to say there is demand for our games to be playable online so we’re not ignoring that.
Wii U hasn’t got a whole lot of major releases this side of E3. How important would you say your title is to the platform this spring? Do you think you’re well-positioned to take advantage of all those owners looking for a new game?
Doyle: “I hope other developers don’t mind me saying this, but this is the best game on the Wii U at the moment.
“I think the game is eagerly awaited by many people and I’m sure that it will sell consoles for Nintendo.
“I also think it’s got real long term appeal, I don’t see it getting old for the life of the Wii U so I hope it will be a huge success.”