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Holy Exclusive Batman!

Everything you wanted to know about LEGO Batman.

Last month we caught up with Traveller's Tales and Bataranged producer Loz Doyle into submission. Thankfully he succumbed to our questions and told all about the upcoming adventure...

How long has LEGO Batman been in development and how did it first come about?
Towards the end of LEGO Star Wars II we were trying to decide what to do next. We knew that LEGO were doing a range based on Batman and we thought it'd be perfect for us. The Batman and Robin two player mould is a natural fit and as we were going from a massive brand such as Star Wars it was nice to have another, arguably as big, one lined up.

There are also LEGO Spider-Man sets. Was that possibility ever considered?
Well the thing with LEGO Spider-Man is it doesn't lend itself to two players. Spider-Man really does work on his own. We saw how important it was in LEGO Star Wars to have two players and so it would have felt like a step back to return to a one player game. On that alone, Batman was by far the stronger franchise.

You mention the importance of two player games. Have you ever considered more? Four players online perhaps?
Again, it wouldn't make sense for Batman. They're the Dynamic Duo and if we had Batgirl and Catwoman tagging along in every level it'd be a bit weird. Maybe in the future we will have more than two, especially if the licence fits, but for now two is the magic number for us.

Now that Traveller's Tales is owned by Warner Brothers is the pool of options for the next LEGO game limited?
No, not at all. The takeover by Warner Brothers has been really painless and on a day-to-day basis we really don't notice anything at all. They leave us to get on with what we're good at. They appreciate there are going to be licences that they don't own but would suit a LEGO game so it shouldn't be a problem at all.

A lot of people will look at LEGO Batman and think it's just a re-skin of the older LEGO games.Is this the case?
We're aware that people might think that and so we've gone out of our way to make sure this is different. There are a lot of differences. For one it's set in a different universe with a completely new style. Batman's set in a much more real environment and the characters are completely different as well. Even though they are still minifig's we've ensured they're completely authentic to the brand and so Batman has a completely different style with fighting and gadgets compared to Star Wars' lightsabers and blasters.

There are so many different versions of Batman; comic Batman, TV Batman, film Batman... Where do you start?
We didn't really pick on one particular style it just sort of... happened. LEGO Batman style is a bit hard to explain but I guess it takes a pinch from everything. We have concept artists who design how levels should look and they work with the lead artists and we all agree on the look we're going for. It's resulted in a really vibrant Gotham, and the LEGO dimension has a style of its own so in the future people will regard this as another style of Batman that is as equally valid as the rest.

You've had to create your own story. Has this made things easier?
In some ways it's harder now because writing a story from scratch is quite difficult in itself. What makes it harder is telling a story without speech because obviously our minifig's don't speak. If you're following a pre-established story it's easy to do cut-scenes because they can just hint at things and assume people know what's going on, whereas if you're doing a story no one knows anything about you've got to ensure it isn't too complicated and that gestures and facial expressions can convey the gist. That said, we've got a lot more freedom now. If you've got locations you definitely want to visit you don't have to worry because they can just be written into the story. We came up with a rough story and then filled in location ideas and revolved the tale around that.

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