Lego - Lord of the Rings - Case Study

     

LEGO asked us to develop an online game to help promote their new product launch for Lord of the Rings. This was obviously a very big deal. For years LOTR fans have been clamouring for LEGO to release a product range, and with new The Hobbit movies scheduled for launch, there was a lot of focus back on the world of Middle Earth – no pressure then!

Obviously with an intellectual property as vast and successful as The Lord of the Rings franchise, there was a lot to consider. Our game had to function on a number of levels. Firstly, we had to stay true to the events of the story in the movies. This was in particular true for the Battle of Helm’s Deep: the set piece for the second movie, The Two Towers, and the biggest of the new LEGO product releases.

But at the same time, we had to keep in mind that this game was for the LEGO brand. It needed to be fun and somewhat lighter in tone than the movies themselves. There was a fine balance that needed to be struck between the intellectual property holders and the Marketing team at LEGO.

We decided to create a game that told the story of the Battle of Helm’s Deep with a strong focus on the characters involved in the siege: Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas. We also wanted a way to tell the back-story, and to offer kids who are new to the franchise, a way of familiarising themselves with the epic tale and its key protagonists – even those who are not directly involved in the main battle.

We devised a gameplay that lets the player defend the fortress against three different types of Uruk-Hai assault: a ladder assault, a berserker assault and a battlement assault. The player can then choose their favorite character to fight the Uruk horde. By suppressing these Uruk assaults, the team of heroes are buying time for Gandalf to return with the brave Riders of Rohan and crush the Uruk army. So, we had a gameplay that complemented the story: something both LEGO Marketing and Warner were very happy about.

To add more depth to the storytelling, we decided to produce a series of ‘story slides’ – images in the game that would tell the events leading up to the battle and would also show some key action scenes from the battle itself. These story slides would be offered up as in-game collectables that would then be displayed in a sticker-book style page. This allowed us to showcase key products that didn’t directly relate to the Helm’s Deep playset, such as Shelob’s Lair, The Mines of Moria and the Orc Forge.

Categories

Games

Case Study

Awards

  • IMA: 2012