MMORPG: What is the backstory/lore behind LEGO Minifigures Online?
Oscar Lopez Lacalle: The game takes place in a number of different heavily thematic worlds. Some of them are based on existing LEGO themes that are well known to all LEGO fans, like the Pirate World or the Space World. Some others like the Mythology World are our own creation, built from scratch to feel like any other existing LEGO theme. One of the strong points of the minifigure line is that they are so varied, eclectic and full of personality. We are creating Worlds that provide a variety of different environments where anything from a Skater to a Gingerbread Man to a Roman Commander can go on crazy adventures together. More details about the specifics of the backstory will be revealed later.
MMORPG: How involved is the LEGO Corporation in the development of the game? Are there vetting procedures prior to any development?
Lawrence Poe: We have worked closely with LEGO through every step of the process. We’re only about 50 minutes away by air, so we see a lot of each other. They have been fantastic partners and have spent a lot of time working with us to make sure the game is chocked full of LEGO goodness. I think straight away the first thing people will notice is the personality of the minifigures and the LEGO feel of the game world. Being able to have their people sit down with our artists and critique the early iterations of the minifigures and the world has been invaluable.
MMORPG: The history of LEGO Minifigures is a long one. How many figures will the game launch with?
Oscar Lopez Lacalle: The game will launch with a wide array of close to 100 minifigures, including the DJ, Plumber, Judge, Galaxy Patrol, Ice Skater, Medieval Knight and many more, each with their own unique abilities (the DJ will for instance throw records and drop a huge soundspeaker on enemies which slows them down). Of course, this is an online, live product and we will be frequently adding more minifigures and exciting adventure content over time.
MMORPG: Will any special figures be released in stores that are exclusive to the game only or that will contain codes to bring them into the game for players?
Oscar Lopez Lacalle: The game launch will coincide with the release of a Minifigure series. The bags in this series will contain a code that players can input into the game. This code will allow them to jump into the game and play with the minifigure they just got in real life. We have also been working closely with LEGO in the design of the minifigures for that series. Working so closely with LEGO makes it possible for us to come up with creative ideas on what we can do together, meshing the physical world with the online world.
MMORPG: LEGO is very popular with the younger gaming crowd. What is the target audience for LMO?
Oscar Lopez Lacalle: We are targeting LEGO fans of age 7+, but we are also keeping their parents and adults that enjoy action adventure and RPG games in mind. The core game mechanics have been built to ensure accessibility and easy pickup fun for kids, but we are also adding a large amount of depth to intellectually challenge a more sophisticated audience. As an example, we have a thorough RPG statistics system driving the game from behind the curtain and providing many options for character tweaking. There is also a large component of experimentation and exploration when choosing which of the minifigures you want to bring into combat. Advanced players will be thinking in terms of minifigure teams and cross-synergetic abilities. Oneof the great things about LEGO in general is how it appeals to a wide range of age groups.
MMORPG: Will there be any provision for offline play?
Oscar Lopez Lacalle: No, it’s an always online game where you should expect to fight, explore and build along other players at all times. The online mechanics have been carefully thought out and the entire game is designed to be played with thousands of other players.
MMORPG.com: Will players be able to build things similar to the way things are constructed in Minecraft?
Lawrence Poe: LEGO Minifigures Online is an action adventure RPG about collecting awesome minifigures and using them to fight the bad guys while exploring epic worlds with your friends. LEGO means a lot of things to people but two words I think it means to everyone are “Fun” and “Quality”. In order to create the best experience with the highest level of polish we have to have a very tight focus. The Minifigure toy line is about collecting cool minifigures, and we want to make sure they are able to be the stars of the game. We feel that an action adventure RPG provides them the best stage to do that.
Building is a core part of the LEGO experience and it will play a key role for the game in the form of buildables in the world that help you take down enemies, and gain access to different areas. They will also be a central component of all boss fights, and play a prominent role in PvP where you will for instance build turrets and other structures.
MMORPG: The promotional information spoke about PvP. How will that work?
Oscar Lopez Lacalle: We are not going to be giving specific information about our PvP content just yet. But one thing that we can say is that one of our main focuses for PvP is to provide an experience where all players can be an important part of the success of their team without necessarily having to confront other players directly. We want to avoid forcing players into situations where they are exposed to abuse from other players, verbal or otherwise.
MMORPG: For which platforms is LMO being developed? Will players of various platforms be able to game together?
Oscar Lopez Lacalle: The game is being developed for PC and tablets. The PC versions will be playable both in a downloadable client form and directly from within a web browser thanks to new technology we're developing for our own proprietary DreamWorld platform. There will also be versions for both iOS and Android tablets. Players will be able to play online with each other regardless of which game version they are using.
MMORPG: What is the anticipated release date for LEGO Minifigures Online?
Oscar Lopez Lacalle: The game will be released in the second half of 2014, with several rounds of beta leading up to the official launch.
MMORPG: Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about LMO?
Lawrence Poe: We’re very excited to have the opportunity to work on such an exciting project and we look forward to sharing many more details with players in the coming months!