The Next LEGO Game Needs to Learn From The Skywalker Saga’s Co-Op Struggles
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is still a fresh release, but it's already an iconic entry in the franchise. Although the wait for the new LEGO Star Wars title has been long, critics and fans have hailed it as a worthy evolution for the franchise. The massive overworld, combat adjustments, and new collectibles in LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga have seen positive reception on the whole for adding up to a more robust LEGO experience than usual.
Of course, The Skywalker Saga isn't without flaws. In spite of the praise, it has also received a fair amount of criticism for its handling of local co-op.GAMERANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
Local 2-player multiplayer is a longtime traditional facet of Traveller's Tales' LEGO games, allowing friends and family to battle foes and solve puzzles as a team. The Skywalker Saga preserves the feature, but unfortunately it's held back by several flaws that unfortunately make the game more optimal in singleplayer. Traveller's Tales is apparently already working on the next LEGO game, and if that's the case, it must remember to strike a balance between The Skywalker Saga's innovations and a more satisfying co-op experience.
As such an important mechanic in the franchise, co-op deserves to be a priority in all LEGO games. RELATED: LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga Should Fix Free-Play Bugs ASAP
The Skywalker Saga's Co-Op Flaws
Historically, LEGO games are full of puzzles that require two players to work together, or at the very least, for one player to solve problems with an NPC's help. The Skywalker Saga has some similar puzzles, but the levels containing them aren't perfect. For instance, in the Droid Factory Frenzy level from Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones, there are multiple segments where one player will stand around waiting for the other player to overcome some obstacle, rather than two players constantly working together.
Because of this, certain levels in The Skywalker Saga are far less engaging in co-op than they ought to be. The Skywalker Saga's HUD also causes some problems for co-op. When two players are working together, they both have their own mini-maps and quest pop-ups, meaning a lot of the screen is taken up by superfluous information systems.
That reduced visibility is a big deal when players are already working with split-screen's limitations. The Skywalker Saga can feel cluttered due to its HUD, which makes it far harder to enjoy the impressive LEGO visuals of The Skywalker Saga's overworld. A simpler layout may have served co-op better. Unfortunately, The Skywalker Saga's overworld contributes to the game's flaws as well.
While it's great that Traveller's Tales lets two players explore different parts of a planet at the same time, it also creates some problems. When players are loading into sub-areas of The Skywalker Saga together, there can be quite a few loading screens that slow down the exploration experience massively. Altogether, playing The Skywalker Saga in co-op has quite a few drawbacks, which is a shame. The Skywalker Saga seemed like a prime opportunity to experience the Star Wars universe with a friend, but the co-op experience simply isn't as practical as it deserves to be.
How the Next LEGO Game Can Improve
Traveller's Tales can still keep many of The Skywalker Saga's innovations while improving co-op in the next game. For instance, co-op in levels can easily be fixed. As long as players constantly work together to overcome obstacles like in previous LEGO games, the levels will be vastly improved.
Taking turns fighting enemies and solving puzzles is far less fun than both players getting to consistently engage with the game. The Skywalker Saga's level co-op structure at least seems like a simple problem to resolve. HUD changes in the next LEGO game will be a little more complicated, but there are still good ways to streamline. For instance, instead of both players getting a quest icon like in The Skywalker Saga, the next game should simply have players share a quest guide rather than putting one on both sides of the screen, assuming the quest structure in The Skywalker Saga returns.
Players should also have an easy way to toggle the minimap, quest indicator, and other information off immediately so that they can clear up space on the screen. Even in a simple game like LEGO Star Wars, sight lines are important. Changes to a future LEGO game's overworld may be needed for simplicity of exploration too.
There's no telling if the next game's overworld will be anywhere near as elaborate as The Skywalker Saga's, since not every IP has a world as vast as the Star Wars galaxy, but it could still be a sprawling world that creates optimization issues when two players explore in different directions. Whether Traveller's Tales simply tethers the two players together more strictly or features fewer rooms requiring their own loading screens, there are a fair few ways that a new LEGO game could improve on The Skywalker Saga's exploration.
Honoring LEGO Co-Op Tradition
Traveller's Tales' LEGO games are at their best when they're experienced with someone else. They're simple enough that anyone can pick them up and play at a moment's notice, and their goofy sense of humor can make just about any IP approachable for fans of all ages.
Co-op deserves to be a priority for every LEGO game, no matter what it's about. The Skywalker Saga tries a lot of interesting things, but in the process, it has unfortunately let the quality of multiplayer slip. Even if it's still fun as a singleplayer experience, the weak multiplayer is a major loss of potential. It'll be interesting to see how much of an influence The Skywalker Saga ends up being on Traveller's Tales' next project, both in terms of its strengths and flaws. The Skywalker Saga's combat, RPG-like character progression, and more definitely deserve a place in another LEGO game, but certain aspects like co-op could really stand to be shored up in the future.
It's up to Traveller's Tales to decide which areas need the most improvement, which mechanics can best be reused, and what LEGO games will look like from here on out. Its iconic franchise may never look the same thanks to The Skywalker Saga, but hopefully the lessons that The Skywalker Saga teaches ensure that the franchise only gets better from here. LEGO Star Wars: the Skywalker Saga is available now for PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.Traveller's Tales Should Attempt a Medieval or Fantasy LEGO GameRelated TopicsAbout The AuthorStan Hogeweg (1027 Articles Published)More From Stan Hogeweg