30 in 30: Traveller's Tales

Building game worlds brick by brick

With its first game published in 1991, Traveller's Tales has over 20 years of game development under its belt, but its name really exploded into the mainstream in 2005 with the release of LEGO Star Wars.

With a quirky and colourful formula that proved fun for all the family (but not in a naff sense) the LEGO series has become an incredibly popular action-adventure franchise that has touched some of the biggest names in Hollywood history.

It's also, arguably, one of the most accessible and broad reaching games of all-time.



Founded: 1990
Location: Cheshire


Jon Burton


Armed with a degree in Computer Science from Liverpool Polytech, Jon Burton produced children's games for Walt Disney and Warner Brothers before founding Traveller's Tales.

When Burton finally did open the doors to his own studio in 1989, he had only one artist for company, which is testament to its growth over the last 22 years.

"We started the company [over 20] years ago -- just myself and a colleague worked out of a back bedroom, slaving away, and making our first game, Leander, for the Commodore Amiga," Burton told Variety.

"We actually developed it and took it to Psygnosis, which became Sony Europe. They liked it, and signed it right there and then, and we said, 'Give us a month!' You know, to make sure we can deliver what we say we can.

"It was a bit like walking into a film studio and pitching a film... and then saying, 'well, I'm not sure yet!' But a month later, they still wanted the game.

"Since then we've worked on loads of big IPs. Several Sonics, several Crash Bandicoots, Mickey Mouse... obviously, the Pixar films Finding Nemo and Toy Story. And Narnia, with Disney.

"In recent times, the LEGO series. Four years ago, Travellers' Tales acquired Giant Interactive, the publisher which had the rights to the LEGO IP... [it was] unusual for a developer to acquire a publisher, but it was because we've done well with our games.

"We took a punt creating LEGO Star Wars, published it ourselves and it sold 6.5 million units. It was the one we'd taken a gamble on, so that worked out quite nicely."



Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga

This is how it all began. When the most popular name in entertainment history was transformed by the most popular brick in playtime history.

The concept took critics by storm as both inventive and incredibly lovable as sci-fi's greatest characters were recreated in block form.

Slicing through LEGO body joints was a joy, as was the over-the-top, slapstick humour that would come to define the series.

There was a really good game behind all of the quirky stuff though, with puzzles aplenty and some slick jump in, jump out co-op capabilities.

Okay so it was a bit too easy for the older generations, but the world of spin-off LEGO games would go on to be a favourite of all ages as the franchise continued to grow.

Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures

"Not since the big LEGO pirate ship have we been so looking forward to something branded up with the Lego logo."CVG

The LEGO onslaught continued with Indiana Jones and what was considered by some to top the magic of LEGO Star Wars.

With Indy, puzzles were taken up a notch as switching control between multiple characters was made more dynamic. Previously characters had to be standing side-by-side in order to make the switch but Indy players were given the power to change bodies at any time.

This opened up far more opportunities for the developers to create more complicated, creative and ultimately satisfying puzzles and predicaments.

And of course, all of the newly created LEGO game hallmarks were present to maintain the franchise's appeal.

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