Child safety is an important concern to LEGO, NetDevil, and
our own readers with children. When asked about the keeping children
protected from virtual miscreants, Seabury quickly alleviated any
concerns the group had. “LEGO is built upon 75 years of
safety and creativity.” Although Seabury noted that they
hadn’t “nailed anything down” as far as
safety checks and balances, he did say that there were “some
great ideas and partnerships forming to help take care of those
concerns.” Overall, Seabury felt very confident that children
would be protected within the confines of LEGO Universe.
alt="Ryan Seabury showing off LEGO Universe"
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Seabury showing off the LEGO Universe to the gathered
However, the NetDevil team is also aware that children often
have different developmental levels as they age; a teenager is going to
have entirely different expectations from an eight-year-old. In fact,
NetDevil is expanding this idea farther and asking what the aged gamer
might want as well, since they’re just as likely to play the
game as a young child. NetDevil is providing various outlets for adults
and kids alike, from putting competitive areas far from the new player
experiences to just simple child safety measure. To help alleviate this
separation in maturity, NetDevil and LEGO have been constantly
play-testing their product with “kids of all ages”
– old and young gamers alike.
When asked about their play-testing experience, Seabury said
that many of the kids often have the brutally honest responses the
developers want. “This sucks” is a decent response
to a developer who doesn’t want their test subjects
sugar-coating their answers. “Kids are very sophisticated
gamers, these days,” Seabury added. “They can
really cut through a game and get to the essence of the software very
Building using LEGO bricks is obviously a very important
portion of the gameplay that NetDevil is trying to put together in LEGO
Universe, and I asked that question directly of Seabury during his
talk. Despite his assurance that there were “a lot of good
stories to tell about that”, Seabury was tight-lipped about
the details of building. “There are a lot of different ways
to build,” Seabury said. “You can abstract it or be
very literal and we’re looking at it from many different
ways. A LEGO game will always have building at its core,
that’s the LEGO value, so there will be a lot of ways to
build in LEGO Universe.”
Although Seabury was asked whether LEGO Universe would cover
the entire spectrum of LEGO sets, which ranges from Castle and City to
Star Wars and Batman, he was obviously restricted on how he could
answer that particular question. He did, however, hint that the
Universe in the title suggested that they’re going to
encompass most of the sets. “That’s what makes LEGO
so cool,” Seabury said. “If you look back at their
classic retail lines – and although there are some specialty
pieces here and there – the bricks are the same. The same
bricks that are building the castles are also building the spaceships
and the pirate ships. It’s
alt="There are thousands of LEGOs in those bins!"
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There are thousands of LEGOs in those bins!
Since Auto Assault, one of NetDevil’s major
initiatives has been to produce an early playable build of any game
that they’re currently working on. The question was posed to
Seabury, who considered the question for a moment before he came up
with an answer. “Yes,” he stated with a smug
expression. “Hermann and Scott have taken the lesson we
learned – very thoroughly – of the value of
iterations and play-testing very early in the game. Our development
strategy now starts at the user’s first interaction with the
product. Once a user discovers your game and buys it or downloads the
product, we want their time in the game to be as smooth and seamless as
On top of this, LEGO has an extremely firm grasp on their
market and what they need to do to help this game succeed. All of the
playtesters are being brought in via LEGO, and the Danish-based company
is working side-by-side with the folks at NetDevil to help LEGO
Universe succeed. “They have a whole infrastructure within
their company to take care of that,” Seabury said.
“We don’t worry about that aspect at all aside from
the things we do on site.”
All in all, the entire LEGO Universe experience seems to be
coming together as tightly as one of the LEGO constructs, each piece
being put in its place to make a cohesive whole. While we cannot yet
guess all the details behind the various experiences a player may have
in LEGO Universe, rest assured that NetDevil has the experience and
expertise to put together a positive gaming experience for all ages.
Additional comments? Thoughts? Suggestions? href="mailto:[email protected]">Email me!
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our LEGO Universe Game Page.