In late 2019, Light Brick Studio released its first game on Apple Arcade, puzzler Lego Builder’s Journey. After getting rave reviews from fans, Lego Builder’s Journey is coming to Nintendo Switch and PC on June 22. The game is a pensive, soulful experience, a far cry from the zany chaos you’d normally expect from a licensed Lego game. We were invited to a developer event and learned a bit more about what went into this beautiful piece.
As you can see, players must use Lego bricks to guide the camper around diorama stages. There’s an element of freedom there, as you can use bricks scattered around the diorama to build bridges, make slides, and more. Even when there’s a clear objective, it’s important that the player is able to be creative in designing the solution. To reinforce this theme of creativity, every stage is a diorama that was built in the studio. Each brick and piece exists in the real world, and there’s always a creative use of odd bits to be found if you look closely. This helped keep the game grounded in reality while still evoking a fantasy feel. The ambient sounds and music also go a long way in reinforcing that atmosphere.
In bringing Lego Builder’s Journey to Nintendo Switch and PC, there were a lot of opportunities to add things. The team designed new stages for the new releases, being careful to uphold the spirit of the game. The Switch version will utilize the touchscreen and the controller, and both methods will have HD Rumble implemented. The PC version, on the other hand, is getting a new graphics engine, complete with ray tracing. The details are so fine that you can see specks of dust and even fingerprints on the pieces.
The team said that their biggest challenge was keeping a balance between the game’s difficulty and meditative feel. They also made very sure that building felt good, as that’s what the core of a Lego game should be. They wanted this entire game to be as close to playing with Lego bricks as possible, and it is in fact the reason why they formed Light Brick Studio. The main Lego Group is still closely involved, however, and a number of the developers used to work there before founding their own studio.
As for the future, the developers said that they’re working on similar games to Lego Builder’s Journey, but set in different worlds. They also want to bring this game to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One eventually, and they’re looking into PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S potentially getting the graphical updates that the PC is seeing.
Lego Builder’s Journey‘s narrative reinforces the importance of play in our lives. There needs to be a balance between our external responsibilities and how we amuse ourselves. In a way, that’s what Lego is all about, especially as fans of the building toy get older and introduce it to their own children. Light Brick Studio seems to have done a marvelous job bringing that philosophy to life in its game.