TT Games Brighton’s Jason Avent on the making of the mobile strategy game, available now, and the fun of leading LEGO Star Wars minifigures into battle.
An Ewok versus Darth Vader? Leia versus Boba Fett? BB-8 versus R2-D2? The possibilities are endless, fun, and often times hilarious in LEGO Star Wars Battles, which launches today on Apple Arcade. In the new PVP strategy game, announced earlier this month, you’ll create your own army of Star Wars characters from across the saga and lead them into battle, resulting in some memorable matchups for LEGO Star Wars fans. But that just scratches the surface of a deep strategy experience. You’ll also master the Force (both sides), build a Droid Factory and more for instant backup, and collect over 40 vehicles to help you win. Only the greatest armchair Ackbars will emerge victorious. To mark the game’s release, StarWars.com caught up with Jason Avent, studio head of developer TT Games Brighton, to talk about the inspiration behind LEGO Star Wars Battles, how they approached balancing the characters, and the fun of sending “tiny stormtroopers onto the battlefield.”
StarWars.com: There's so much packed into LEGO Star Wars Battles, from character selection to gameplay features. What can you tell us about coming up with the idea for the game and then bringing together all of the elements you wanted to include?
Jason Avent: We loved the epic battle scenes from the Star Wars movies and we felt that a fast-paced strategy game would express that best on mobile. Very early on we visualized the shiny plastic LEGO Star Wars minifigures dangling from a player’s finger to drop onto an authentic battlefield and come alive with realistic blasters, explosions and lightsabers. That defined the unique feel of the game.
We also wanted to allow players to build something important out of LEGO during the game. That evolved into the build-pads and assault towers that fly together out of bricks as they’re constructed to push forward your battle-line so you can deploy troops closer to the enemy base.
StarWars.com: Dream matchups are a big feature of the game. How did you approach balancing the characters to make this work?
Jason Avent: Each player deck holds a Champion with a game-changing special ability. This is where the really high-profile characters like Darth Vader, Yoda, Luke Skywalker and Boba Fett lie. They’re supported by troops and strikes. We knew we needed units with abilities like ranged shots, melee attacks, stuns, slows, and area damage. We also established archetypes like tanks, groups, snipers, and fliers, for example. Players need a mix of all those and more. We love Star Wars so it was easy for us to imagine which characters from the films would best suit particular roles and abilities.
The LEGO part of LEGO Stars Wars brings levity, which affords a sense of comedy and allows us to bend the rules a bit. So when you frustrate a player’s attack by using a flock of porgs to bring down an AT-AT, it’s kind of funny. It feels good. Equally, BB-8 single handedly stun-locking Darth Vader while a band of Ewoks pound him into submission makes for a great moment too.
StarWars.com: For players new to strategy games, why do you think they'll enjoy LEGO Star Wars Battles?
Jason Avent: The game is easy to learn. You win by destroying the enemy base ship or by building more towers than your enemy. It’s just fun to drop tiny stormtroopers onto the battlefield or call in air-strikes from a TIE fighter, and it’s those actions that will lead you to your first few victories.
When you’re ready though, there’s plenty of depth to discover. Managing the energy that allows you to deploy troops and strikes is key to success and you’ll need to learn their strengths and weaknesses. Using the right combination of units at the right time will mean the difference between glorious triumph and soul crushing defeat.
Join our game and we’ll elevate you to the rank of General, presiding over epic Star Wars battles fought by your LEGO minifigure minions. It’s a powerful feeling and it’s really fun to play.