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Lego Universe could eventually include Star Wars, Indiana Jones

Michael Zenke

We recently had the chance to speak with Ryan Seabury, Producer for Netdevil's in-development Lego Universe. Along with Project Lead Mark Hansen, Seabury gave us an insider's look at the exciting create/play/explore world of Legos online. The two men were extremely confident in their vision for the project, and we couldn't help but be impressed by their passion for bringing this millions-of-kids strong product to the world of MMO gaming.

Join us as we talk to Seabury and Hansen about the background behind the project, and what kind of worlds we'll be seeing. From Castle to Racers and everything in between, it sounds like whatever kind of kid you are at heart there'll be something there to enjoy. And, of course, the exciting news is that it's definitely possible we'll one day see Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and the other licensed Lego products inside of Lego Universe.

Read on, and be sure to come back for our next interview clip about gameplay!

Ryan Seabury: When we very first started out on the project, we looked at a number of other things that had been tried in virtual worlds, in kid stuff. Obviously we looked at how Lego Star Wars worked. Lego shared a lot of research that they do on kids and how kids play in general. Not just with Lego, but as a cultural approach. "How do kids play today?" We took a lot of that into account and we identified pretty quickly that it needed to be more than just a mod project world. It had to be more than a sandbox.

"There is a destructive force, and you can use your creativity to combat that. It comes through in a very tangible way why you're here and why you're constructing."

We felt very strongly that we needed to bring an element to it that gave you a purpose. To that end, without revealing too much detail, we crafted a fairly intricate backstory for the world. How much of that comes through to the player will be boiled down to a lower level, but we always felt like you want to weave an intricate fabric behind the scenes. There's a lot of detail underlying everything, and a reason to be there. In a literal sense, your reason to exist in Lego Universe is to build.

There is a good/bad conflict set up and the way that you battle against that is by being creative. There is a destructive force, and you can use your creativity to combat that. It comes through in a very tangible way why you're here and why you're constructing. You come in and you feel like it's a game. It's almost like a platform for creation. And as you're playing we subversively teach you how to use the tools. You get in and you want to do stuff because it's cool and fun instead of walking into a virtual world with 'no point'. We don't want it to be "I can do these things, but why would I want to?"

There were a number of different environments shown in the game's trailer. How are you deciding which Lego play themes to include in the game world?

Ryan: It's definitely a challenge. The choice, whatever we choose, can kind of set the stage for the tone of the game. We struggled with that a lot in the concept phase. The decision we've taken there ... this is the Lego Universe, right? It's the universe of Lego play. If you think of every play theme that that has ever been and ever will be, they're all cultures basically. They're all people that live in this universe. There's a place for all of them to exist. We are setting out to make sure your first experience with the universe isn't strongly associated with any one particular theme. You'll see a lot of integration between them.

One of the things we really want to get across is the potential and the possibility that you are going to see all these great things in your time with the game. And of course we have room to deal with all these great play themes. Mark, do you even know how many play themes there are, off the top of your head?

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