From the Battle of Hoth to the Lightsaber duel in Cloud City, ESB's best moments are captured in the upcoming LEGO Star Wars II video game.
(Note: the AT-AT and Millennium Falcon in the screenshots below have not been fully-rendered, they are still missing their trademark LEGO studs. Also, once again, every LEGO character and vehicle in the game's screenshots here is from an actual existing LEGO set: 4483 Imperial AT-AT, 4500 Rebel Snowspeeder, 4504 Millennium Falcon, and 10123 Cloud City. - JT)
With less than two months to go until the release of LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy on September 12, the teams at LucasArts, TT Games and developer Traveller's Tales are continuing to offer insight regarding the development of this tongue-in-cheek romp through the Star Wars galaxy. Now that the Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back portion of the game with its six unique movie-based levels is nearly complete, what scenes did they most enjoy giving fans the chance to build and battle their ways through?
"The Battle of Hoth is a huge blast of spectacle and action to kick-start the movie, and it was an absolute joy to bring this vast battle to life in LEGO," says Jonathan Smith, director at TT Games Publishing. "The AT-ATs had a massive impact on me when I first saw the film as a child, and their existing LEGO toy models – as well as the AT-STs and of course the snowspeeder – are just so cool. We had a lot of fun creating a Hoth battlefield for two players to zoom around on simultaneously, and we're really proud of the storytelling sequences too."
David Perkinson, producer at LucasArts, is particularly amused by the cutscene accompanying his favorite moment from the film. "You want to know how they handle Darth Vader saying 'I am your father' to Luke with LEGO characters that don't talk, don't you?" he teases. "Well, I'm not going to ruin anything for you. But trust me, it'll have you laughing out loud."
"Of course, there's something to be said for the gameplay actually leading up to that cutscene," adds Jeffrey Gullett, assistant producer at LucasArts. "From the carbon freezing chamber to the central chasm within the bowels of Cloud City, the lightsaber battle itself between Vader and Luke will always be a classic. You've possibly played this classic scene in a past Star Wars game, but Traveller's Tales has absolutely nailed it – and with the added bonus of a few healthy chuckles along the way."
But that's not the only thing Gullett enjoys while visiting Cloud City. "Lando is my favorite character in the game to play as, without a doubt," he says. "With his unique melee attack, you can bust out some mad kung-fu skills with him as you take out stormtroopers en route to a boss fight with Boba Fett. Everyone also laughs when they see how he tilts his blaster to the side as he shoots. Someone at Traveller's Tales has a lot of love for Lando!"
"We all love him and all of the other characters in the game," assures William Thompson, character artist at Traveller's Tales. "And we love developing the classic scenarios into LEGO form just as much. In one way, you feel like you're making a tribute to the amazing characters and sequences that thrilled you so much as a child. In another, you also just have so much fun sticking in the slapstick gags and adding all those little important details that you hope fans will notice – things like making R2-D2's periscope on Dagobah an essential gameplay element during your time on Yoda's swamp planet. This particular example serves the double purpose of both making you laugh and helping you get through the level."
Through working on Dagobah for LEGO Star Wars II, Smith came to appreciate the swamp planet even more than before. "Until we really got into our research, we didn't realize how much LEGO there is littered across the swamps of Dagobah," recalls Smith. "The area around Yoda's house is full of junk to fool around with! Now, when we watch the movie, we almost expect to see a LEGO washing machine or a LEGO tractor half-submerged beside Luke's X-wing!"