GDC '08: Lego Batman First Look

The Lego series takes on the Dynamic Duo in our look at this action-packed kids' game.

SAN FRANCISCO--The Caped Crusader and the Boy Wonder will once again be stalking the Gotham skyline, only this time they've got blocky feet and an obsessive desire to build things out of colorful blocks. Yes, the Lego game series, first begun with the Lego: Star Wars series, is now taking on Batman and his rogues' gallery of villains in the upcoming Lego Batman from developer TT Games. We got a chance to check out this highly anticipated game for the first time during a tour of a few levels of the game hosted by a TT Games producer.

Excellent game design decision #209,331: Robin won't be wearing those ridiculous scaled swim trunks in this game.

Like the Lego Star Wars games, Lego Batman features cooperative play for two players (both online and off), but the level structure of this game is a bit different than in previous Lego games. Each level first begins with the hero's perspective, letting you play as Batman and Robin as you take on bad guys and track down one of the Dynamic Duo's well-known enemies, such as Catwoman, The Joker, and the just-announced Harley Quinn, among many others. After you beat a level as the heroes, however, you'll unlock the corresponding "villain" level, which will be a new take on the mission told from the villian's point of view.

The first level we saw featured Batman and Robin chasing down Catwoman, who had just stolen a huge pink diamond ring from a building and then scampered across rooftops. Once Batman and Robin gave chase, they were immediately set upon by a multitude of bad guys. It didn't take long for the pair to clean house, and it served as a good opportunity to talk about the slightly revamped combat system in the game. Unlike in Lego Star Wars, neither Batman nor Robin have light sabers at their disposal, so the development team has had to strive to make sure that combat is effective, even with the reduced reach of the heroes.

One new feature that helps is the batarang, which both Batman and Robin can throw. First you aim a bat-signal-shaped icon at the object you wish to hit, and then you press a button. The batarang can be used in combat and to help the heroes reach objects that they might not be able to reach otherwise, which makes it a handy tool for solving puzzles.

A Batman game without plenty of high-tech gizmos at your disposal wouldn't be much of a Batman game, so it's nice to see, then, that Lego Batman is dealing out the gadgets liberally throughout the game. For example, in certain areas of a level, you'll be able to change suits from your regular Batman or Robin getup to a specialized costume that will grant the wearer special powers. We saw several examples during the demo, including a magnetic-shoed suit for Robin that allowed him to climb up the sheer face of a building, or indeed upside down in certain spots; a glide suit that let Batman glide across rooftops to access areas he couldn't reach on a regular jump; a demolition suit for Batman that let him set mines and detonate them remotely; and a tech suit that let Robin take control of remote-controlled airplanes, cars, and robots (made out of Legos, naturally).

Proving that the Lego series still has its sense of humor well intact in Lego Batman, the chase for Catwoman ended with the sultry feline thief planting an extended kiss on Batman (much to the chagrin of Robin), before tossing the pink diamond over the roof of the building (only to be picked up by an umbrella-gliding Penguin). From there we were taken to a different level, focusing on two of Batman's most notorious foes.

Harley Quinn and the Joker are just two of the many villains making trouble in Lego Batman.

We're speaking, of course, of The Joker and his sidekick, Harley Quinn. In this level, the pair was navigating through an amusement park--which acted as a colorful visual counterpoint to the grim and gritty streets of Gotham during the Batman level we saw. Like Batman and Robin, The Joker and Quinn have their own special abilities; we especially enjoyed The Joker's hand buzzer, which can be used to electrocute opponents or charge up unpowered objects. While watching the two villains navigate the level, we got a nice taste of the amount of animation work the team at TT Games has put into these characters. From The Joker's strut to Harley Quinn's lithe and agile jumping, it's amazing to see how dexterous these blocky little characters can be.

Quinn and The Joker cooperated to solve several puzzles, including setting off a roller coaster to break through a cave wall blocked by boulders, before ending with a confrontation with the end boss--Commissioner Jim Gordon and a bevy of Gotham's finest--that ended with Gordon getting locked in a cage and awaiting rescue from you know who. Commissioner Gordon as a boss battle? Yeah, count us in.

The folks at TT Games must be having a ball twisting up expectations for the Batman formula with this game, and it shows. With a lighthearted tone and plenty of iconic characters in the mix (in addition to the above villains, we also briefly saw Killer Croc and the Scarecrow in action), this looks to be another fun-filled adventure for the Caped Crusader. The game is due for release this fall on practically every major platform. We'll have more on the game in the coming months.

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67 comments
pflet87413
pflet87413

With all this talk about how great Lego is, I just may go try one of those Star Wars games. Being a Bat fan, I have to buy this game anyway. I know there are two Bat games coming out this year already, Lego, Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe, but has anyone heard anything based off the movie The Dark Knight?

omnifury
omnifury

is it way too cool for you, RedGoal30?

RedGoal30
RedGoal30

Taking 2 sub par themes to make one ok game. Its genuis but not going to be in my collection. Dont like batman...didnt like the star wars editions

omegakie
omegakie

The butler better be in it

Noventus
Noventus

I want to play as alfred....

JoeyLarocca
JoeyLarocca

i gotta play this when it comes out lego games are cool

Justinisrad
Justinisrad

This is very good news. Everyone loves these new Lego games. Easy, and yet fun.

KittenToes
KittenToes

looking forward to this one! i love the lego games and batman looks just as great!

chuckytheman
chuckytheman

Sounds like a good funny game to me. I enjoyed Star Wars...And now they continue to turn things into interesting lego blocks...what will they think of next?

reidy1986
reidy1986

ha ha hai heard about lego indy but batman thats quality i have completed al 3 lego even the complete saga sad i kno but there fun so.... bring um on

Tenordruid
Tenordruid

Hah! 'm almost 40 and I love these lego games. Who cares if I get shot, clobbered, fall, electricuted, smashed, drown, sliced, explode, etc. You just pic up and go and find more puzzles to figure out. I still haven't finished LSW yet and still have fun figuring out where the canisters and red blocks are. I like the fact that you will change perspective for hero to villain. this sounds intriguing in as itself. Looking forward to this one. Can't wait for Indy as well. I'm sure with the success of these new games that lego and TT games are coming out with, there will be other ones to follow. Pirates anyone? Marvel universe? X-men? Superman 1-5 AND Returns? There so much you can do and I'm sure they will find different ways to incorporate new gameplay tweaks. As far as combat and action.

Cookie2-0
Cookie2-0

LOL is there anything lego cant do

grendel246
grendel246

I liked the previous Lego games, they were fun, but I'm not really into Star Wars... but Batman is definitely one of the coolest characters/stories out there. Looking forward to this one.

gazacf1
gazacf1

I really like the lego games so I can't wait tot get it!!!!!!

king_bobo
king_bobo

Cool - this sounds like it could be good...

mejsimon
mejsimon

Someone mentioned a Lego Spider-man game. Is anyone out there licensing smart. I think Mega owns the current Spidey license. Would Lego be able to draw on the first two films, when they had the rights?

greater_bird
greater_bird

Bit odd that they're calling this a kids' game. The Star Wars ones were clearly aimed at everyone, kids and adults alike, and I doubt they'll narrow their audience focus for this one. I don't much like the look of Batman's helmet - he looks like a Bionicle. That aside, I'm sure I'll love this game. Must buy for me.

A2Kkilla
A2Kkilla

Hehe...I gotta try this game when its released :D

Katsumoto038
Katsumoto038

Batman = GOD Legos = Amazing Lego Batman = UNFREAKINGBELIEVEABLE.

greystone227
greystone227

I agree with omrikk87 - Lego Spiderman all the way.

Iu_uI
Iu_uI

It actually look really good

msdd9
msdd9

To Knat4 it's on almost everything.

gtarmanrob
gtarmanrob

i think jack_sparrow_28 said enough ;)

knat4
knat4

HEy is this only comin out on xbox or other consoles too????????

SpazH3d
SpazH3d

This is a must buy!: D

omrikk87
omrikk87

kids game? are u kidding me? LGS was an awesome game , it was fun , funny and very very informative about the movies , damn i want this now , i love batman franchise , plus wouldnt that be cool it they were doing Lego Spiderman? that could have been awesome ,q4 though =\ =\

j3v1zzle
j3v1zzle

Let's hope they're not starting to milk the franchise.

MAJORLAGGY
MAJORLAGGY

KIDS GAME??? Im buying this the first day LOL :lol:

PhantomPhoot
PhantomPhoot

I'm glad this game will have its own plot and not attempt to follow any already existing movie/cartoon/comic storylines. I'd buy this over Lego Indy.

luk3th
luk3th

yes! My LITTLE (4) bro loved LEGO starwars, hope co-op will be as good (Should be) can't wait for Indy AND batman!

Zestytoaster
Zestytoaster

wooo! i admit i probably won't buy either batman or indy, but star wars was freaking awesome when it came out, and there are a lot of the same positive points, like the nostalgia and the pure focus on fun... you must not have had legos when you were younger, maybe then you'd understand

chang_1910
chang_1910

:D this looks so cute... a must imo :)

Pete5506
Pete5506

Hope this is as fun as Lego Star Wars

Raven87
Raven87

wow, and i thought robin looked camp as a human character

PerpetualBliss
PerpetualBliss

Hey, don't be hatin'. The LEGO games are freakin awesome. How could you not want more of them. Especially Indiana Jones?

deepfriedjosh
deepfriedjosh

stop it! no more lego games... first star wars... now indy... and next is this?!?!?! when will it end? pirates of the caribbean lego game? jebus...

darthzew
darthzew

The graphics look good. The lighting and shading looks excellent. I probably won't pick up on this, though. Unless it's REALLY good!

LittleDuck
LittleDuck

I'm so glad about this. Batman is awesome. Much better than that pansy superman. It's a shame his old films were so well colourful really and batman was so super patriot in all of them. It made us miss out on his dark nature that we see in the new films. In fact the cartoons of old and new were darker than the adult tv series. At least in my opinion. Want proof? Try watching batman begins. Oh and also I want above.

Toastman923
Toastman923

How can they call this a kids game?? I'm getting it on day 1 batman is the man

WeWerePirates
WeWerePirates

peeweeshift "thank god they used the old show style. i hate the new style in the show" I think it's based on the comics and not either of the shows... well as much as lego can be. bassy26 "Does any one know if the Robin they are using is Dick, Jason, or Tim?" It's Tim's costume, well until recently, I don't think it will matter. We can be pretty sure it isn't Stephanie at least.

Josepiphus
Josepiphus

This looks cool but I'm looking forward to indiana Jones more. What I really want though would be a lego version of the hobbit followed by LOTR. epic.

peeweeshift
peeweeshift

thank god they used the old show style. i hate the new style in the show

bassy26
bassy26

Can't wait man =D! this is going to be an awesome game ^^. Hmm... I wonder what kind of more enemies are going to be in the game... considering you have a diff costume for batman, does that mean unlockable costumes for batman and robin? =D Does any one know if the Robin they are using is Dick, Jason, or Tim? kina funny if they used jason lol considering he was the dead one and now being red robin and all... what will DC think up next... =P

SrTVBR
SrTVBR

LOL, this game should be fun....

Xavier_Draven
Xavier_Draven

Yeah Assassin's Creed made me think of Batman. It have been a prefect idea for a Batman game.

WeWerePirates
WeWerePirates

"Excellent game design decision #209,331: Robin won't be wearing those ridiculous scaled swim trunks in this game." That costume went, what, getting on 15 years ago? I'm suprised how much I'm looking forward to this game. Edit: ItchyIsVegeta "I want to see a Batman game that is a cross between Splinter Cell and Spider-Man 2." I think something a bit Assassin's Creed would be nice.

brianguy7
brianguy7

Two comments I agree wholeheartedly with: webzpinner It's KILLER Croc and Sandman is a Marvel character, not DC. Jeebus, this preview was horribly written. --and-- ItchyIsVegeta I want to see a Batman game that is a cross between Splinter Cell and Spider-Man 2.