Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Is Star Wars a Minifig Step Closer to LEGO Dimensions?

Disney has announced that the company’s toys to life game experience, Disney Infinity, is to see no further development or releases beyond what has already been announced for the year. As well as Disney developed characters, both Star Wars and Marvel gaming fell under the Infinity banner which precluded either of the properties from showing up in LEGO Dimensions. What are the chances now?

For Marvel, still slim in all likelihood. With Warner Bros owning both TT Games and DC Comics, they are likely to prefer to focus on DC characters as is currently the case. But then at the time that the Super Heroes lines were launched, it was generally assumed that LEGO would not take on product lines for the two rival publishers – so it is by no means off the table.

Star Wars is a more likely prospect, thanks to the brand recognition that LEGO Star Wars has earned over the years. Many fans asked if the galaxy far, far away would show up in Dimensions and were disappointed to hear that it would not. Star Wars characters do not show up in products such as Collectible Minifigures to keep the price and desirability high, but that would not be a problem with the pricey Dimensions products.

It is almost certain that the right people at LEGO and TT Games are trying to get meetings with the licencing folk at Disney as soon as possible. Aside from DC Comics and LEGO originated properties, there are no ‘top tier’ IPs in LEGO Dimensions. Even though Lord of the Rings is popular, it is hardly the movie of the moment – and some of the rumoured Series 2 licences are even more lacklustre.

So getting either Marvel or Star Wars would be a huge coup, and likely boost interest in the LEGO version of toys to life. But that begs the question, do LEGO want to invest further and get more deeply involved in toys to life? If Disney couldn’t make it work with its legacy characters, hit movies such as Inside Out, plus Marvel and Star Wars – then can anyone else? Skylanders was fresh when it first made toy and gaming companies take the prospect of toys to life seriously, but nothing since seems to have quite captured the attention of children in the same way.

Finally, TT Games needs games to put out twice a year with the LEGO logo on. With DC and Batman now essentially unavailable, Star Wars and Marvel are sure-fire hits to sandwich releases of riskier games based on new-to-LEGO licences. By putting the characters and worlds in LEGO Dimensions as well as stand-alone games, it will devalue the Dimensions content – by only putting them into Dimensions, potential sales of stand-alone games are lost. 

Ultimately, as has been done with Disney Infinity, numbers will be crunched and whether anything happens with Star Wars and Marvel will depend entirely on where more money can be squeezed from. If stand-alone games bring in the bucks, that’s where they will stay. And if Disney think money can be made from the toys to life gambit in the near future, Luke Skywalker and Captain America will not be hopping through the Dimensions portal anytime soon.