Go Minifigure: Funcom To Work On Lego MMO

By Adam Smith on June 28th, 2012 at 1:00 pm.

Was anyone else unnerved by the way Toy Story Lego minifigs had non-conformist heads and proportions?

The Secret World will be ready to reveal all of its enigmas soon enough but Funcom are already looking to the future, announcing that they are to begin work on another MMO.

…the company has signed a license agreement with the LEGO Group, one of the world’s most successful manufacturers of play materials, to develop a massively multiplayer online game based on the hugely popular LEGO® Minifigures franchise.

Of all the things I expected to read today, that sentence ranks as slightly more unexpected than ‘moon is actually an egg’ but slightly less unexpected than ‘Dreamfall Chapters to release tomorrow; Kinect exlusive’. More on the announcement below.

There’s surely space for a Lego MMO handled competently and concentrating on the aspects of Lego that people actually enjoy. It’s interesting that the Minifigures are mentioned as the licensed franchise, which does make wonder if it’s the variety of setting and appearance of the characters that Funcom will be playing with, rather than the building possibilities latent in the bricks themselves. What else can we glean from a simple press release about a game on which development has not even begun?

To The Glean Machine.

The massively multiplayer online game that Funcom will develop based on the LEGO® Minifigures franchise will focus on maximum accessibility. Funcom and the LEGO Group will work together to make the game available to consumers in their online channels and will be coordinating activities to provide a broad and enhanced experience for the product line. The game will be a prominent part of the LEGO® Minifigures online experience which already has millions of unique visitors per month.

The machine immediately sniffs out the words “online channels” and a small siren sounds at its rear. “Calm down, boy, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have to put your face in a book to play.” It’s no good though. The machine whimpers and it’s glowing proboscis flinches as it continues to scan the press release. It twitches unhappily when it reaches the words “online experience” before powering down with a clockwork shudder, tendrils of acrid smoke creeping from its innards.

Fie, The Glean Machine, you should not jump to judgement with such obvious haste and distaste. While the whiff of social gaming may indeed emanate from those words, we are still in the dark as to the how, when, what and why. We just know the ‘who’. Funcom and Lego. Oh, and “children and youngsters” because, unlike The Secret World with its violence and very occasional sexy times, the Minifigure game will, expectedly, be family-friendly.

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36 Comments »

  1. paddymaxson says:

    What’s are “play materials”? Do they mean “Toys”?

  2. Screwie says:

    Wow, that surprises me. I would have thought the last Lego MMO’s corpse was still a bit warm for this.

  3. djbriandamage says:

    I’m really glad Funcom has more work in their pipeline. They’re one of my favourite developers, especially because they have the courage to push the envelope with nonstandard properties like The Longest Journey, Age of Conan, and The Secret World.

    Will Ragnar Tornquist be writing for this game? I’d love to read a 70,000 word dialogue between a lego brick and Crambles, King of the Legoverse about his troubled childhood.

    • baby snot says:

      FYI Longest Journey will be on sale at GOG in about half an hour.

    • Wreckdum says:

      The only thing I agree with is The Longest Journey.

      Who cares if they keep trying to push the envelope if they are so bad at it. There isn’t a single redeeming quality about Age of Conan. And I go back about twice a year and check to see how the game is doing. Terrible.

      The Secret World… I’ve been playing in the beta and I just got a refund on my pre order. What a joke. It’s like they go out of their way to use the worst game engine. I mean if you’re that bad at making game engines LICENSE ONE! I’m sure the money paid to competent developers for a good game engine would pay for itself when people keep playing your game passed the first month.

      The only reason Funcom games sell is because of the hype train and pre orders. But that is true of many developers these days.

      And for the record when I’m saying the game engine is terrible it’s not because I don’t meet the requirements and it doesn’t run well. It’s because I’m way ahead of their requirements and the game looks like garbage. Graphics aren’t everything but they are something. Not to mention the gunplay in The Secret World is lol… Might as well have given them squirt guns.

      • Awesomo says:

        The Secret World looks like garbage? You must have played a completely different game than me. Either that or you’re blind. Or possibly biased I suppose, but I’m thinking blindness is the most likely explanation.

        You’re very good at reading and writing for a blind person by the way so kudos to you for that!

        • SkittleDiddler says:

          I have to agree with Wreckdum. I had high hopes for The Secret World until I actually started seeing bits and pieces of the game. It’s been hyped to the point of over-saturation and I honestly cannot find anything that’s especially appealing about it. It just looks generically bland, like most of Funcom’s library.

          But God forbid someone have an opinion that’s different from yours. The horror!!!

        • barelyhomosapien says:

          I actually agree with the original post, I don’t know what it was about the art style for TSW but it turned me off immediately and I have to say I thought a lot of things looked very low poly and dated.

          I’m glad I got a shot in the last beta weekend as it killed any temptation I had to give the game a look :/

    • ScubaMonster says:

      I gave up on Funcom after AoC. It looks like they are going to continue their cycle of crapping out incomplete MMO’s that need a lot of work then moving on to the next one. I will eat my hat if Secret World doesn’t suffer from a lot of problems similar to AoC.

      I was pissed off after AoC when they had a lot of fixing to do then announced “Hey guys! Secret World coming!” How about you complete one MMO before making another one?

    • frightlever says:

      It’s good they’ll have contract work to fall back on. They’re too interesting a developer to fail.

  4. pakoito says:

    Didn’t they open a Lego MMO last year? They have so much money they have to use it on a flopped MMO like everyone else?

    • Hoaxfish says:

      It was some mad decision to make it a subscription MMO (theoretically aimed at young children), and then completely ignore the idea of F2P as a way out, which seems to be the main attribute for it sinking.

      • Kelron says:

        Which is a shame, because (from what I played in the beta) it was a lot more creative than most MMOs. The time trial race up a mountain with shortcuts and booby-traps stands out for me.

        • RakeShark says:

          To be fair, it wasn’t all sunshine and roses. The actual building part of the Lego MMO was non-exsistant outside your little “playground cloud”. You had templates that were built for you with no customization options beyond “pick a theme”. Then you had the lack of “build by numbers” templates that could have helped slightly less creative people get over that hump, which is surprising considering the massive catalog of Lego. Finally, the painfully slow grind to acquire pieces to actually build things, as opposed to being able to pick out what pieces you wanted.

          • nimzy says:

            The reason for that is actually kind of complicated. LEGO insisted that NetDevil use their pre-existing Lego Digital Designer software for the build phase rather than let NetDevil figure out how building with Legos should work on their own. This played merry hell with the rest of the game. (Long story short: while NetDevil built the game, LEGO micromanaged the shit out of it, and it suffered as a result.)

      • Kapouille says:

        I’m pretty sure the subscription model isn’t the only reason. Kids aren’t really into the World of Warcraft grind. My son played it once and never asked to play it again. I don’t blame him.

        MMO developers seem to have a severely limited imagination.

  5. epmode says:

    I would do unspeakable things for a new Dreamfall. It’s never happening, is it?

    • DClark says:

      I was looking at Funcom’s financial statements before ponying up for a lifetime subscription to The Secret World and the only two unnamed titles they had on the books are “Project A” a subscription MMO still in concept phase, and “Project B” a F2P MMO (which I’m guessing is the now introduced Lego MMO).

      But always hold out hope that TLJ trilogy will eventually get finished – so long as the sun doesn’t collapse and explode into a supernova, and so long as aliens don’t invade the earth and lay waste to the planet, there’s always hope…

  6. SandmanXC says:

    Past-me demands that I play this.

  7. Babli says:

    Half- Life 3 or Dreamfall: Chapters. Whats gonna be there first?

    Neither.

    • Skabooga says:

      Part of me still want to throw Duke Nukem: Forever into the mix of choices. I remember its vaporware status better than the actual game itself, and I have to remind myself that it was actually released.

      • Torgen says:

        I worked video game retail as a second job many, many moons ago, and the running joke was:

        “When is Neverwinter Nights coming out? Never.
        How long until Duke Nukem Forever? Forever.”

        ans we all thought the Dreamcast was going to conquer the console world. :(

  8. sonofsanta says:

    Will this finally be the tale of the oft-undervalued yet possessed-of-great-inner-strength Lego Lady and her efforts to understand the world and mature into a comprehension of life and its workings? As detailed in exhaustive and excellent dialogue?

  9. Calabi says:

    Didnt they already make an lego mmo, how many times do they have to fuck up the same idea.

  10. aliksy says:

    I really, really hope it isn’t another “kill monsters to level up” MMO. It would be really stupid to copy WoW for this, and surely they’re smarter than that, right?

  11. FKD says:

    I enjoyed the late Lego MMO..it certainly was not worth the monthly sub, but it was enjoyable. I still have the pre-order mini-fig sealed up! The game was really well done, but had its short falls. And as excited as I am about this new one, I am almost more hesitant..I think Funcom will certainly do an awesome job, but I worry about the fact that people were (understandably) pissed when the cancellation announcement went out. Now, you might say “Yes, but people were pissed about !” And to that I would say, “True, but those people were mainly ‘gamers’ to begin with.” The difference here is all the hundreds of people posting angrily on the Lego facebook page were adults who had bought the game for their child/grandchild and had no understanding about how games and MMOs in particular work. And those are the people that I fear that once you have crossed, if you will, are now going to say “Nope..not doing that again.” Then again, they may also bend to the pressure of a child crying for a Lego game..

    • PopeJamal says:

      I played the Lego MMO for five minutes and then turned that garbage off? Why? Because the very first thing they told me to do was to go off and shoot a bunch of stuff.

      In my opinion, a Lego game should about building. The only reason games like Lego Batman and Lego Star Wars are acceptable is because they are licensed products in the style of Lego. If your game is ONLY about Lego, then you damn well better let me build something within the first 5 minutes of playing your game. Otherwise, forget about it.

  12. Snakejuice says:

    They should just make an MMO version of Minecraft with LEGO-skins/textures.

  13. Njordsk says:

    So scary you’ll shit bricks.

  14. trjp says:

    Thing is, there wasn’t much wrong with the last Lego MMO as far as it went – the mistake they made was marketting a subscription MMO at children.

    It lacked in the building department – but MMOs are about collaboration and working with others and it did those bits AOK I thought.

    If they’d worked-out a freemium model for it upfront, they’d be sitting on a mass of cash now – it amazes me they didn’t even try that out.

    FunCom’s MMOs are fairly serious and ponderous things full of story (written by kids but it’s story) and grind tho – I’m not sure they’re really up to a Lego game which wouldn’t be ponderous and dull.

  15. fuggles says:

    I feel for funcom, they can either make MMO’s which is an overly full genre and will likely tank and take down the company or they can make an adventure game, a niche genre which will likely no sell and take our the company.

    Make more longest journeys or upload the design docs that you stated were written, please.

  16. gromit says:

    “Go Minifigure” Best RPS pun of 2012?

  17. Geen says:

    Joy to the world, Lego Universe is dead. Can’t believe I spent the time to beta test the steaming pile of crap. Ranged weapons that didn’t work half the time and only allowed about five shots? No actual choices when building? Grind-based leveling? Goddamn that sucked.

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