I was lucky enough to get a chance to sit down with Lego's Mark Hanson to talk a bit about their upcoming MMO project, LEGO Universe. What we've seen and heard about it so far has been a bit limited so I was looking forward to hearing about what could be one of the most interesting and fun MMOs to come along in quite a while.
The Lego world is all about creativity and building and Lego Universe will be no different. Players will start the game by customizing their mini-figs. According to Hanson, each figure will be endlessly customisable so that you can create a character that looks just like you (or not) to inhabit your little section of bricks. Each world of the universe will have a different theme that corresponds to the different sets of Legos. For example, you will be able to visit the Pirate Planet or perhaps jet over to the Medieval Castle Planet. Lego will provide the basis for each world and then the rest is all up the the users. You can own property and build up whatever creations your mind can come up with using your stock of bricks. Bricks can be earned by a combination of randomly finding them, completing missions and even battling. The more you play, the more bricks you can earn. While there will be no actual PVP battles, players will be able to create creatures/machines and use them to battle other players creations in their quest for more bricks. And of course, in the Lego Universe no one ever bleeds or dies, they just break apart.
There will be a blueprinting system so you can take your favorite creations and pass the plans off to friends or lock it up tight so no one well ever know how you created your awesome giant machine. The best part of all though is that unlike playing with real Legos, you'll never run out of bricks or be missing that one essential piece to finish your pirate ship. Single and multiplayer building missions will be available as well Hanson notes that you can play through the game on your own, but it will be slower and take a lot longer than playing cooperatively.
The game will be mainly aimed at the 8-12 set, but much like the Star Wars games, Hanson expects that quite a few adults will be interested as well. But the main goal is to create a safe space MMO where kids can go to play comfortably without all the nonsense that many adult MMOs bring to the table. Regular chat will be a moderated system with canned questions and responses, but there will also be a free "friend list" chat that will be available to players with parental approved friend's lists.
I'm looking forward to seeing more fom this game which I think really has some incredible potential to expand the minds and creativity of the players along the lins of something like Little Big Planet where its all about user generated content. So come 2009, be ready to ditch that Second Life, put away that WOW addiction and get ready to brick build your way to the ultimate Lego Universe.