There was a bevy of tie-in merchandise to celebrate the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens last year, but one item that wasn't produced was a video game adaptation of the film. That is about to change, from a certain point of view. After the partnership between LEGO and Lucasfilm led to the creation of a very successful series of video games based on the previous six films, it wasn't surprising to hear that they were going to give Episode VII the same treatment. LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens is on track for release this June, roughly six months after the movie premiered in theaters.
Based on the promotional materials released thus far, the new game looks to be as fun and creative as anything LEGO has put out in recent years. That feeling probably won't change with the unveiling of the latest trailer (watch it above) that highlights several key aspects about LEGO Force Awakens, including the gameplay and the fact that most of the original film cast returned to play their roles for the game.
The primary focus of the preview is showcasing the ability to play all-new adventures that go beyond the events of the film. These include hunting Rathtars as Han Solo and Chewbacca, rescuing Admiral Ackbar from captivity as Poe Dameron, and exploring the desert planet Jakku as Max Von Sydow's character, Lor San Tekka (among others). However, unlike Star Wars: Battlefront's Battle of Jakku DLC, the exclusive content of this particular video game is not considered canon. Since Disney acquired Lucasfilm, fans have become accustomed to all pieces of Star Wars media being part of the same continuity, but it would appear that anything under the LEGO banner is an exception (see The Freemaker Adventures TV series for another example).
Not that that should (or will) deter people from picking up a copy. After The Force Awakens became a critical and commercial hit that reenergized the Star Wars brand, viewers are eager for the chance to act out the story themselves (with the classic LEGO twist of humor). It's a neat feature that LEGO Force Awakens has these extra stories, since they should flesh the game out and give players more to explore and be surprised by. The events of the movie are so well-known now, that just a general recreation of that plot would only be scratching the surface of what's possible. This way, the game can offer a more complete and satisfying experience for those interested.
Ahead of the trailer debut, game director Jamie Eden visited IGN (watch the video below) to give them a look at two levels from LEGO Force Awakens, Poe Dameron in the Jakku village and Poe and Finn's daring escape from the Star Destroyer. The main point that Eden emphasizes is that the game is more about just shooting stuff with blasters or slicing up enemies with lightsabers. There's an element of strategizing here, with puzzles to figure out to advance. For instance, on Jakku, players need to figure out how to deactivate a First Order turret using outside materials. This gives LEGO Force Awakens some substance to compliment the style, prioritizing problem solving over basic action.
All in all, it looks like LEGO has another hit on their hands when their Star Wars 7 game comes out. From all the footage shown, it seems to be a worthy addition to anyone's collection, especially if they are one of the many who loved the film. None of the Star Wars games that EA develops will be specifically based on one of the new films, but that won't matter as long as LEGO steps in with their own version. The company's already looking ahead to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, so they seem to have this corner of the market covered.
LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits shelves on June 28, 2016.