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Interviews

LEGO Harry Potter

Traveller's Tales discusses its new title - and the future of the series...

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I believe EA sort of had the same objectives as us, in bringing the world of Hogwarts and Harry Potter to life. I just can't really talk about them in any meaningful way.

Looking at the LEGO games' future, what do you look for when you choose a franchise you can marry with LEGO?
Harry Potter was the most natural next step for us. To a significant extent, Harry Potter found us. It's such a natural fit, it was a no-brainer. You can do a process of analysis thing, though. At a broad world level, we look for strong well-defined characters and a sense of depth in a well-established universe.

What's your view of Project Natal and PS3's motion controller? Is that something you're excited about bringing to the LEGO games?
We're always trying to do new things with our LEGO games. New affordances of technology on different platforms are of course very, very interesting to that aspiration.

What's your experience been of Natal so far?
I run the risk of slipping into corporate that I shouldn't. The aspirations of Sony and Microsoft to create new interfaces of video game play are pretty admirable.

In the early stages of Natal's life at least, it will surely be a mainstream proposition. Wouldn't it be a perfect fit for LEGO games?
You're asserting what Microsoft have already said. You're making two observations: One that Microsoft want Natal to reach new audiences and that we have done that with our games in the past.

Right. So it makes sense that the LEGO games would be a perfect fit for Natal - and that you'd be looking into bringing them to the platform?
That's how it sounds based on those two statements, yes. I'm not sure what you're looking for, actually.

Do you have any plans to bring LEGO games to the Natal platform?
As I said, we're very interested into these new things. We couldn't be interested without having looked at it - that would be weird. Of course we're aware of their plans. We're aware, as you are, of Sony and Microsoft's plans and are interested in them. I'm not going to sit here and say: "...and here's a new game!" Given we haven't made any announcements, anything I can add [to what I've said] would sound half-baked. Let's just say we're interested.

What about 3D games. Would you be interested in re-purposing LEGO games with this new tech?
I think if there is a demand, we'd be foolish not to respond to it one day. But right now we're concentrating on LEGO Harry Potter.

As a third-party, you see rare success on Wii. If I was to set up a studio tomorrow, what advice would you give me for cracking the system?
I'd give you terrible advice - you'd be a competitor. [Laughs].

What's your secret been in terms of being so successful on Wii?
We haven't compromised the design of our games for the Wii. We put a lot of love into our Wii games - they're never a second thought for us. We've had great success on Wii and that's why we naturally focus on making it a natural all-encompassing LEGO experience, from which we reap the rewards.

Can Harry Potter widen the audience that currently exists for the LEGO games?
Sure. We've always set out to make our games for everybody, without limits. We know that says male and females players, young and old, have enjoyed our previous LEGO games. So we're not trying to bring down any barriers with this release, as for us there already aren't any barriers.

That said, the world of Harry Potter is weighted in a different way to some of the properties we've worked with in the past. More people when I talk to them about the game say to me: "I know my girlfriend is really looking forward to this game," than have done in the past.

Star Wars, Batman, Indy - is it fair to say they were more male-focussed as franchises than Harry?
To a significant degree. Star Wars is probably the least guilty there - but Harry Potter is the one that appeals most broadly out of all of the franchises we've worked on.

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