LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4

LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 Preview for DS

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LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 screenshot
LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 screenshot

Everyone loves LEGO, and everyone loves Harry Potter (well, almost everyone). That's why LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 looks set to be full to bursting with win. Thankfully, you can prepare yourself for the inevitable win bursting episode by reading our in depth interview with producer Loz Doyle. Read on for hot info on the brand new brick-building system, LEGO Hogwarts and more.

Q: How deep does the new brick building system really go?

Loz Doyle: We have a purple base plate that we use as the indicator, which you can use because it's LEGO. In the first case you just have two pieces you can stack however you want. But as you progress through the game we'll add more and more pieces. One of the levels later on, you have to construct a bridge. From this side you move the bits over, and they snap in underneath and on top, so you can build like you would with LEGO. That's eight or nine pieces you build the bridge with. After you've used it you can then rebuild it into a tower in order to get you up to get a red brick or something else. So it's quite versatile. But these purple things indicate where it is.

Q: So it's confined to certain areas of the game?

LD: That specific thing is, yes. You can also put a character on it and move them around, so you can get them up to higher places or other areas or secret places as well. But we do have the LEGO Builder. In Indiana Jones 2 you can build your own levels, so you can put your LEGO down, build buildings out of the LEGO, set traps and do all sorts of things.

Q: In the demonstration, the brick building was on a 2D plane. Will you be able to make elaborate structures in 3D?

LD: It's on a 2D plane because obviously we do concentrate on kids, six to 12. We've done a lot of testing with kids and they do struggle with depth perception a lot of the time. So a lot of our jumps we tend to have side on because they can't judge a jump into the screen. It's the same with the builder, and we keep the controls simple as well.

LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 screenshot

Q: LEGO Batman has sold over a million copies in the UK alone. Congratulations. What is it about the LEGO series that makes it so popular?

LD: It doesn't take itself too seriously. It doesn't punish you. That's one of the things we thought about from the beginning: why do players want to get punished in a game? They want to have fun. So when we made LEGO Star Wars it was: if you die you just come back. Why would you want to re-do the section you've just struggled to do? It's fairly simple, really, but a lot of people didn't think about it. The other important thing is the two-player aspect, and parents being able to play with their children. That's been important for a lot of people. We've had a few parents saying, thanks, we never played video games before, but now we're playing them with our kids. It's that constant reward, and collecting things - we know kids love collecting things: the studs, the characters. That sort of thing, we just make sure there's lots of it in the game. There seems to be so many things. The storytelling - that's funny. There aren't many funny games around. And of course the LEGO.

Q: Everyone loves the LEGO game cutscenes. How do you go about creating them?

LD: A lot of that comes down to the cutscene team and the individuals who bounce ideas off of each other about how they can handle a specific scene. The other thing to point out really is we're not just telling the story; we're also setting up the level. You're trying to tell a bit of the story but also say, this is the story but now you're going to fight the cave troll. The animators look at the film and, because we've got a lot of the same animators who did Star Wars and Batman, they know how to deal with scenes; they know how to deal with death scenes and make them funny. We had a scene with Padmé in Star Wars; she was pregnant, and Anakin basically throws her into the wall. We had to deal with that scene - you wouldn't imagine you would see that in LEGO - it's just the way they can do it.

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Game Stats

Release Date: 28/05/2010
Developer: Traveller's Tales
Publisher: Warner Bros.
Genre: Adventure
Rating: PEGI 7+
Site Rank: 10,146 191
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