The Lego games tend to progress in small steps, as TT Games produces them at a breakneck pace. The next one in the long-running series, Lego Lord of the Rings, is touting its own additions to the formula, among other features.
Eurogamer reports that the game will feature an open-world version of Middle-Earth. Warner Bros hasn't detailed just how open it will be, but it's a likely bet it will share elements in common with Lego Batman 2, which used a free-roaming Gotham as its mission hub.
The game will also feature a new crafting system. You'll be able to take mithril to your local blacksmith to craft and combine items. This would seem to imply that equipment will play a role as well.
Finally, Lego games are known for their sprawling character rosters, and Lord of the Rings will be no different. Warner Bros promises 80 characters in all, which should make plenty of room for obscure characters found in The Silmarillion.