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UK Q&A: LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4

Jeff Rubenstein's Avatar + Posted by Jeff Rubenstein on Apr 06, 2010 // Sr. Social Media Manager

I didn’t think it was possible to make a game as collaboratively geektastic as LEGO Star Wars. But when it comes to the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup-style “two great things that taste great together,” I think that LEGO + Harry Potter is right up there. With LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 casting a spell on PS3 and PSP this Spring, PlayStation.Blog EU‘s Jem Alexander met up with Traveller’s Tales‘ Jonathan Smith to find out more about the games. Y’know, cos SCEE offices are pretty close by the Ministry of Magic.

LEGO Harry Potter

Jem Alexander: How does Lego Harry Potter differ from previous Lego games?

Jonathan Smith: With every new game we make we try to raise the bar and there are lots of technical innovations in Lego Harry Potter. The new layer of physics makes the world more realistic and enable us to build with Lego using magic in a way you’ve never been able to do before. And taking advantage of this wonderful setting of Hogwarts and the magical characters within it, we can use magic to create a new kind of lego gameplay as well, with characters that learn new spells over a long period of time, so that they’re always progressing over what is a very sizeable adventure and learning new things every step of the way.

Jem: How has game progression in particular changed in this Lego game?

Jonathan: So what’s radically and completely new in Lego Harry Potter from what we’ve done before is the effect that having Hogwarts as a massive explorable environment has on the game progression and the game structure. When you first start as a new student in Hogwarts, finding your way to your first lesson you’ll be pretty well directed by the teaches and the design of the environment to find your way, but as you play and progress further through the story, with each new spell you’ll gain access to new areas and trigger new story events that move on through the plot. So you’ll find more and more of Hogwarts accessible to you as a player, switching between different characters, until it becomes a really huge, immersive, explorable, open environment — to which you’ll return between story events to discover more secrets and learn more things.

Jem: So why did you choose to focus on the first four books?

Jonathan: We wanted to start at the beginning of the Harry Potter story with year 1 and we wanted to create a game that was a really substantial adventure. The end of the Triwizard Tournament at the end of The Goblet Of Fire is a really nice climax. Over those four years you get a real sense of development from a novice to becoming a very powerful wizard. It’s a period of time that’s rewarding to play through and get to the end of.

Jem: Would you say the game is based more on the books or the films, or a mixture of both?

Jonathan: Everything in the world of Harry Potter comes from the books. That’s where it was invented and where it has the greatest detail. We draw, where we can, upon the wonderfully vivid evocation of the story as represented by the film makers and you’ll see that in the representation of the characters and some of the action scenes.

Jem: How much creative freedom were you given when creating objects, characters or environments for the Harry Potter Universe?

Jonathan: Everything that’s in Lego Harry Potter has to be fitting for the world of Harry Potter and the world of Lego Harry Potter is very accommodating of surprising objects. So, you’ll find tractors and washing machines and trampolines and all the surprising, fun, Lego things you’d expect to find in a Lego game — and yet at the same time it will still be perfectly fitting for the world of Harry Potter.

LEGO Harry Potter LEGO Harry Potter

Jem: How have you dealt with character progression in the game? Do they get older and more powerful?

Jonathan: All the students, as you progress through the game, will learn new, more powerful spells.

Jem: Are there any plans to incorporate Move functionality?

Jonathan: No. Because we’re coming out before the Move is releasing.

Jem: How much support have you had from JK Rowling and the people behind the films?

Jonathan: We’ve had tremendous support from JK Rowling and all the team at Warner Bros who are responsible for the upkeep of the world of Harry Potter. Everyone appreciates that what Lego brings to Harry Potter is unique and I think everyone has come to trust the respect and love that everyone on the team has for the source material and that wonderful world that was created.

Jem: How much sidequest / secret content will there be in the game?

Jonathan: It’s a big game compared to other Lego games. The balance of directed, plot-orientated level action to fool-around bonus stuff is not dissimilar to previous games, but there is probably more of it because it’s a bigger game.

Jem: How do the PSP and PS3 games differ?

Jonathan: The PSP version of the game has a greater focus on adventure and questing. The PS3 version has a greater focus on action.

Jem: How do you feel about the idea that Lego Harry Potter will be the first exposure to the series for some people?

Jonathan: We aspire to be the perfect introduction for new gamers and people who may not be intimately knowledgable about Harry Potter already. Lego always gives people a way into new worlds of imagination and we feel very proud to be able to do that.

Thanks, Jem! Little known fact: on the way to SCEE HQ, you walk right past what I’m convinced is the basis for Diagon Alley. Someplace called “Carnaby Street.” Check it out if you’re ever round that way.

//Add Your Own

31 Comments

1

+ poweredbyzen on April 6th, 2010 at 5:17 am said:

i love lego! i love sony!


2

+ pgsdi on April 6th, 2010 at 5:19 am said:

The lego games are always fun to play… this one is no exception…


3

+ ediddy999 on April 6th, 2010 at 5:57 am said:

Is this a late April Fools Joke? You guys are to much, lol :). I’ve been fooled. I love this site.


4

+ The_Punisher111 on April 6th, 2010 at 5:58 am said:

I bet its gonna be 5-8 (dont know how many books there are). Then the complete trilogy, just like Star Wars…


5

+ idraw on April 6th, 2010 at 6:34 am said:

OK. The big question. Will this be made available digitally for us Go owners? And if so, when.


6

+ Hydez357 on April 6th, 2010 at 7:48 am said:

I want to say first off it is not an April Fool’s joke. It was announced a long time ago. Second. If you don’t know how many books there are then you obviously aren’t a Harry Potter fan so why would you comment on something you obviously know nothing about? Third. I really anticipate this game because it will be something I can play with my girlfriend because she doesn’t get into video games that much. This game will be an awesome exception.


7

+ TwinDad on April 6th, 2010 at 8:27 am said:

My wife wants this. Is there a better time frame of release other then “Spring”? It could release as late as

Summer Solstice Jun 21 2010 7:28 AM EDT

I’m not sure my wife could wait that long.


8

+ the-party-b on April 6th, 2010 at 8:56 am said:

Has the game really been pushed back to June or is it still going to be released in May?

@ The_Punisher111 the sexond game will be books 5-7.


9

+ Spyroluver88 on April 6th, 2010 at 9:10 am said:

I have been waiting a long time for this game as a fan of both! So far, I have all but one of the Lego games, some on multiple platforms. But I am also I huge fan of HP! I hope the current June date holds especially since it should have been in my grabby little hands right now. I plan to purchase this on both the PS3 and PSP, so could you please tell me if I will be able to download it for my go on Day 1? Thanks! And hurry, the wait is killing me!!


10

+ TwinDad on April 6th, 2010 at 9:25 am said:

@the-party-b

That is what I asked. It had a May release date on the Target Pro-order cards. Then I got an email from Amazon last week that indicated June.

Just wanting to know.


11

+ Gunwing on April 6th, 2010 at 9:36 am said:

I just hope the PS3 version wont lag out like a SOB like in other Lego titles…….. The PS3 version suck due to poor performance.


12

+ the-party-b on April 6th, 2010 at 10:02 am said:

@TwinDad
They might be pushing it back to release it the same day the Wizarding World park opens (June 18TH if I’m not mistaken).


13

+ Neil on April 6th, 2010 at 10:20 am said:

I might get this at some point.


14

+ The_Man_Who on April 6th, 2010 at 11:52 am said:

I want this game!! I bet is going to be the Best HP game


15

+ BalramRules on April 6th, 2010 at 11:56 am said:

@Comment 14 remember what Homer always said in “The Simpson’s Movie.”

This is going to be the BEST HP Game, (SO FAR).

Coz hopefully SOE (not Jagex or anyone else), will develop a Harry Potter MMO, plzzz, I beg you!!

Im overconfident it’ll be successful, I’ll be Slytherin coz Snape is the hero in the last book, it’s quite sad of how he dies X(


16

+ AmericanNinja1 on April 6th, 2010 at 12:46 pm said:

Jeff say goodbye to Chris for us, he will be missed!


17

+ LILBUDDY2000 on April 6th, 2010 at 1:19 pm said:

Open Environment…cool! The kids will love this game.


18

+ Korlithiel on April 6th, 2010 at 2:27 pm said:

I wish we had more information on how the PSP version will differ from the PS3 version as it seems clear from the interview that there will be some big changes.


19

+ plaztiksyke on April 6th, 2010 at 3:47 pm said:

I hope the PS3 version has as much adventure/story/questing as the PSP! I’m much rather “play the books”, as the previous video games were very poor on this front.

Will they be using the movie score? Will it be 24-bit lossless music?

Will the PS3 version be 1080p native?


20

+ MKJ93 on April 6th, 2010 at 4:08 pm said:

The past lego games really turned me off, with limited exploration and boring repetition, hopefully this one is better formed for full exploration, not just a specific mission area, and also more than one way to complete a mission.


21

+ Jeigh on April 6th, 2010 at 4:18 pm said:

You know, I don’t know if anyone’s got anything planned, but I’ve been thinking that the Move would make a particularly handy wand, considering it’s pretty much a wand already…

Just sayin’…


22

+ Jeigh on April 6th, 2010 at 4:31 pm said:

@BalramRules

Gee, I wonder what childish ambitions drove you to try and spoil the final story for others. You’re the worst kind of person.


23

+ RyanOnTheGo on April 6th, 2010 at 6:44 pm said:

when will more lego games come to psn? I’m still waiting for lego indiana jones 2 for the psp go!!!!


24

+ Ramokk on April 6th, 2010 at 7:01 pm said:

This looks like it would have been an awesome game!

Too bad Sony took away the Other OS option last week; I probably would have bought it.


25

+ Mot345 on April 6th, 2010 at 10:35 pm said:

Jem: How do you feel about the idea that Lego Harry Potter will be the first exposure to the series for some people?

haha i thought they meant this would be the first introduction to the LEGO series for many people. Can’t wait for this game!


26

+ j_mauer on April 7th, 2010 at 1:21 am said:

seriously ps3 needs more kids games and I dont mean the cheap activision ones. sony really should make a Invader Zim game that would be awesome. I’d play it if the objective wasn’t just run around and punch stuff


27

+ JacKeD312 on April 7th, 2010 at 5:29 am said:

Is it me or is lego harry holding a cucumber? Hes like, “Behold! The power of nutritious eating!”


28

+ SlaveSpawn on April 7th, 2010 at 10:47 am said:

I hope we get to explore Hogwarts, it’s grounds & Diagon alley.


29

+ rainonrooftop on April 8th, 2010 at 9:11 pm said:

Why didn’t you ask any probing questions? Like why the game has been delayed to it’s FOURTH release date? What went wrong and how they expect to overcome that? Quit lobbing softballs at these developers and show some journalistic integrity. Some of us were really looking forward to this game originally and had genuine concerns about the delays that you had the opportunity to address and failed.


30

+ juggalorider on April 10th, 2010 at 2:59 pm said:

@BalramRules thanks for ruining part of the last book for me, i may have brought it on realase day but i still havent gotton around to reading it, i only finshed the first 6, oh an you don’t rule

@Ramokk frist off im tried of hearing people complain about the other OS that was token off, why arn’t you gonna buy a game that couldn’t even work in lynx, achlly no game works in lynx why its not the ps3 OS, so the only reason lynx was used was to act like a super computer, but the ps3 is a game devise not a computer or supercomputer, an your retarded for saying your not gonna buy a game just because they took that stupid OS off


31

+ nasformer on April 12th, 2010 at 10:19 am said:

what the hell harry potter in lego!!! that is wierd


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