Earlier this morning, Ten Ton Hammer broke the news
had strayed away from its release plans and is now delayed, according
to LEGO Group’s Mark Hansen, “for some
time.” Luckily, it sounds like the game was delayed for
business rather than gameplay or content reasons. Ten Ton
Hammer’s Cody Bye had the initial scoop, and now he presents
his entire discussion with the LEGO director. Two brand new LEGO
Universe images are also included. Please enjoy!
Ten Ton Hammer: Why did
you decide to delay LEGO Universe?
see a mish-mash of world in the LEGO Universe.
decision has been made within the company to wait to launch [LEGO
Universe]. We're trying to align the physical play with the virtual
play. We never know what products are going to be "hitting" or not, and
we actually have a lot of products that are out there right now that
are "hitting." We want to get the feel of LEGO into this game to match
those products. We also don't want to detract from those products that
are out there that are doing very well.
A lot of our decisions have been focused around what we're going to
gain and what we're going to lose by holding this game back. We don't
know how long we're going to delay the launch of [LEGO Universe], so I
can't tell you anything specific on that. But we can say that it is
going to be a delay of some time. Not a long period of time, but we
don't know exactly how much.
Ten Ton Hammer: So does
that mean you want to put particular products into the game that are
popular on the shelves right now? Maybe something that wasn't
originally planned for release?
think there are a couple things that are going on. We have some
products on the shelves that are doing very well and we don't want to
take away from them.
We also have some new products that are just hitting the shelves in
Europe. We're going to be releasing our financial statement next Monday
and more information will be coming out of that press release. The
executives in the company thought it just made strategic sense to delay
when the product launches into the market.
The other reason is that we want this product to be integrated into the
company. This isn't just a one-off. This is a product that we hope
supports the items on the shelves and supports what LEGO is today.
Thankfully, we have the luxury to be able to do that.
It actually fits very well into our plan with LEGO Universe’s
gameplay and getting all of our products into the game.
Ten Ton Hammer: So you'll
continue to add improvements to LEGO Universe during the delay?
can always add more things into an MMO. I'm sure NetDevil is pretty
excited about the development, because now they can put so much more
into the game.
Ten Ton Hammer: What can
you tell us about these new images? Are they actually screenshots?
But those are assets from the game, and that's really what the game
Ten Ton Hammer: The
garden image is interesting, because you've got mini figs with swords
and spears fighting a giant laser-shooting robot.
Exactly. That's the way it is with LEGO. There isn't just one thing.
There are mash-up worlds and product line worlds. There's a universe of
You're going to see a lot of different gameplay on a lot of different
themes, and it will all be growing over time as well. It's not like
you'll be waiting a year to get your next content update.
Ten Ton Hammer: We've
heard about a variety of LEGO sets that are going into the game,
including the medieval and pirate ship sets. Are we ever going to see
some of the other IPs make it into the LEGO universe? LEGO Star Wars or
Batman or Indiana Jones?
pirates, we might see some Star Wars mini figs in LEGO Universe a year
or so after release.
going to say that you're probably not going to see any IPs in the LEGO
Universe in the first year of launch. After that, many things could
We want to launch the game, in the beginning, as LEGO. After that,
whatever is in the realm of the LEGO physical products we'll be looking
to add into the game if at all possible.
Ten Ton Hammer: When you
talk about "not taking away from the 'hitting' products" are you
talking about the video games?
I'm talking more in terms of our physical products. In our minds, we're
trying to deduce how many items you can really push and market. We ask
ourselves if we can really take the focus away from those products that
are doing really well. We figured that we needed to prioritize some
things and slip some time in for strategic reasons.
It's all about business.
Ten Ton Hammer: So you
aren't worried about grabbing consumers from LEGO Star Wars or Indiana
think that would be a dream of mine if we could do that. *laughs* I
think LEGO Universe is going to do great, but when you look at the
millions of sales of LEGO Star Wars... I'd be jumping up and down if we
hit half of that.
Ten Ton Hammer:
Absolutely. Does the economy have anything to do with this?
now LEGO is performing very well, but we always need to look at how the
rest of the world is doing in terms of the "whole" economy.
Let's say, theoretically, that we're pushing ten products that are
doing really well right now. Will pushing one more at them hurt
everything? Will they buy into another product?
Ten Ton Hammer: Is there
anything else that you'd like to tell Ten Ton Hammer readers and LEGO
just trying to give you the best game we can. LEGO Universe is on track
and it's testing well, and we're very happy with the game right now.