Once again smack dab in the middle of 500,000 writhing Comic Con attendees, we made our way to the middle of the show floor. This time, the destination was for a proper on the other side of the great comic book fandom divide: the DC booth. It was there, we had the pleasure of some hands-on time with TT Games’ newest LEGO property, LEGO DC Super-Villains. We spoke with TT’s Executive Producer Phillip Ring as we smashed and bashed our way through this one, and he was pleasantly forthcoming about many aspects of this new title.
First off, odds are at some point you have played one of these LEGO-derived games. There have been literally scores of them over the last fifteen years. There, LEGO denizens approximating characters from one of your favorite franchises are yours to control as you button mash your way through destroying LEGO-based environments set in those worlds. We particularly last dived into this madcap approach to platformers back in 2016 with LEGO Marvel’s Avengers. The title was woven around the stories of the massively famous Marvel Cinematic Universe and featuring samples of your favorite dialog moments from the actual movies (not a fresh recording, the audio pulled straight from the movie).
Ring points out to us right away that this game is an entire original story, flipping the paradigm on its head and essentially starring DC’s legendary rogue’s gallery of villains as the protagonists. Ring indicates that while they shared and worked with DC on the story they created here, the company was mercifully open to just about any storyline idea they came up with. So no, purists, this won’t follow or affect your favorite DC Comics or DCEU story. This game is its own little pocket of the DC universe.
Furthermore, the game features a bevy of incredible voice actors known for often voicing these characters in various incarnations. Returning to the role of Batman would be Kevin Conroy. Mark Hamill would again be reprising his brilliant version of The Joker (apparently really, really not retired from it as he thought a couple of years ago). Tara Strong is back as everyone’s favorite harlequin Harley Quinn. Julie Nathanson will be voicing Silver Banshee and Fred Tatasciore will be voicing a multitude of characters (Clay Face, Solomon Grundy, Killer Croc and more). But wildly, none other than Clancy Brown (yes, The Kurgan from Highlander and Captain Hadley from The Shawshank Redemption, and even more recently Surtur in Thor: Ragnarok) will be the voice of Lex Luthor.
LEGO DC Super-Villains give you the chance to create a super baddie all your own style. You can pick the aesthetic, the size and even exactly what villainous powers the character will have. Your concoction of an evildoer will assist in a prison break from the other major characters. Naturally, your character doesn’t speak and Luthor and the others will comment on your relative silence. The gameplay is very similar to other recent LEGO combi-branded titles. You run, you jump, you bash, sometimes you fly, sometimes you trigger devices with specific characters. As usual, this LEGO game is adorable in its mindless fun and half the joy is smashing around as a character you have loved for decades. Ring explained that TT had opted to include a new mechanic that would help illuminate what your character needed to do next. He conceded that indeed, previous LEGO games did often leave players in a place where they were not sure which onscreen element they needed to interact with so now the game tries to point you subtly to the next switch you need to pull or element to interact with.
Given this demonstration was built to have in mind long lines of Comic Con attendees needing a turn, it was enabled with a timing component. We managed to get through a good portion of the tasks but not all before the enforced pacing kicked in. Switching between characters was easy as always and what little section of the prison break story we played through it was intuitive enough to decipher which character you needed to switch to in order to progress. Ring explained to us that like LEGO Marvel’s Avengers, this title would include numerous settings throughout the DC mythology. Yes, Metropolis will be conveniently near Gotham City so you will see your favorite cities in this title. It may not be a jaw-dropping end-of-year topper, but like most LEGO games, LEGO DC Super-Villains is a pretty cute and hilarious ball of fun. In a good way, it’s the kind of game that you can play and put down and come back to later where you won’t need to give it laser-like focus until you’re all the way through it.
LEGO DC Super-Villains will be released for PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch on October 16, 2018.