LEGO Dimensions recently got retro with the last of the game's announced expansion packs, digging into the archives of gaming's past with the Midway Arcade pack. It's LEGO's way of honoring a past generation, with new content and even some playable arcade games. And for developer TT Games, it was a special opportunity to do something not yet seen in their own toy-to-life adventure game.
To learn more about the Midway Arcade pack, Shacknews recently spoke to producer Mark Warburton. Here, we learn what this new add-on means to the LEGO Dimensions team, what players can expect to see, and whether there's more arcade goodness coming to the game in the future.
Shacknews: You've explored several different licenses over the course of LEGO Dimensions, but this is the first time you're going back to the golden age of arcades. What are you looking to feature with the Midway Arcade Level Pack?
Mark Warburton, Producer: For the last 11 years, we have focused on the best of movies and comics books in popular culture. We introduced entire generations of kids to franchises that they may not have been too familiar with, or where too young to experience previously. Now, we thought it was time that we started to have a look at the history of games as well, and show a new generation of gamers exactly how far the industry has come. Unlike movies, games seem to fade away once the system they were released on is no more. I personally believe that game design never gets old and that a good game is always a good game. It has been great to have the opportunity to really show case these amazing titles to a new generation of gamers.
Shacknews: So we have a LEGO figure with a vintage nickel and a Spy Hunter vehicle, but you also have a Defender arcade machine figure. How are these pieces going to work in-game? And what made you want to go with the Defender cabinet, in particular?
Warburton: Well, the Spy Hunter vehicle brings with it exactly what you would expect, having seen it in countless games over the years. It brings speed, gadgets and of course cool weapons. The arcade machine is the real star though. Not only can it be upgraded to gain new abilities (and of course rebuilt), but it can also be used to access all 20+ Midway games in their entirety. Players will see empty arcade slots littered throughout the game world, just waiting to be used. Simply plug in the arcade machine and away you go!
Shacknews: In what ways can the new pieces be used in existing areas in the game?
Warburton: LEGO Dimensions is all about the unique mash-up experience. Every character and every vehicle can be used anywhere you want in the game. Different players may want to replay the story as Gamer Kid, or maybe swap out Batman’s Batmobile for the Spy Hunter car. How you choose to use them is entirely up to you.
Shacknews: Which of the major Midway Arcade games will you be looking to feature with this Level Pack?
Warburton: We have over 20 original games included in the pack. These are complete and untouched exactly as they were when they were originally released. From Rampage to Gauntlet, we have the cream of the Midway Arcade crop.Shacknews: Some of the teases we've seen to this point indicate that this particular level is going to look different than the standard 3D LEGO gameplay. Are we looking at 3D gameplay for the new Midway Arcade level or is it going to be something out of the norm?
Warburton: The level itself looks and feels like you would expect from a LEGO TT game. There are lots of cool puzzles, studs to collect and bricks to smash. What we have done differently is tied the progression of this level in with these retro games, which look just like the original versions. As gamers play through the Midway Arcade level, they will be challenged to hit certain goals in order to progress. This is a great way to give people a small taste of what these games are all about. Players can then enter the Midway Arcade Adventure World and play as often as they wish.
Shacknews: Can you tell me about the design approach to this new content? What inspired the team to really make this stand out from some of the other Level Packs we've seen to this point?
Warburton: Every single pack in LEGO Dimensions was approached in exactly the same way. We asked ourselves what we would expect from a full standalone title featuring this content. The people in our offices are all gamers and fans of these brands, so in effect we make the games that we would want to play ourselves. From that point we find a way to add as much as we can to these packs so that no matter which pack you get, you end up with a massive amount of content.
Shacknews: Are you open to potentially revisiting the Midway Arcade with another Level Pack in the future?
Warburton: The great thing about LEGO Dimensions is that we have built a system with so many possibilities. That can mean revisiting brands again, or doing something completely new. But the future is very bright for LEGO Dimensions fans.
The LEGO Dimensions Midway Arcade level pack is available now on all of the game's supported platforms.