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A Conversation with LEGO Star Wars II Game Producer Dan McAuliffe

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A Conversation with LEGO Star Wars II Game Producer Dan McAuliffe
Screenshot © LucasArts, a Lucasfilm Ltd. Company

Q: What are the differences between the GBA and console versions?

Dan: The GBA version is close to the console version in both style and spirit. The game follows the same basic design philosophy of following the well-known story of the Original Star Wars Trilogy while injecting the youthful humor and fun of the LEGO franchise. The GBA version focuses on collecting LEGO studs to unlock everything from characters to unique extras and game modes. There's even a playable Baby Rancor!

Q: How does it fit into the Star Wars lore?

Dan: Much in the same way as the console, the GBA version follows the movie by focusing on key scenes and moments, while taking a few creative liberties.

Q: As producer, what part do you play in the production of the game?

Dan: One of the most unique and interesting parts of GBA development is the small size of the development team. As such, the role of Producer is one of many parts. While the traditional roles of Project Manager and Client Liaison fell under my jurisdiction, I was also heavily involved in the game design and conceptualization. I was even responsible for a few technical areas such as scripting and *very* basic programming.

Q: This isn't just a Star Wars game, but also a LEGO game, with environments, creatures, ships, weapons and characters all designed to look like actual LEGO pieces. How was this design/look achieved?

Dan: More than anything else, the look was derived through consistency of vision. The design called for anything interactive to be constructed from LEGO bricks while the rest of the environments were stylized versions of the movie sets. The most important element to the overall feel was an unwavering attention to scale. All LEGO objects and set pieces were built in 3D using rendered LEGO pieces. This allowed all of the game objects and characters to remain as though they were constructed from the original toy sets.

Q: The LEGO Star Wars games are filled with humor, poking a little fun at the franchise. Is it difficult to interject comedy into a GBA game?

Dan: Not at all! A great deal of humor was derived from the fun animations and cinematic moments interspersed throughout the story. Everything was created and implemented in a casual, fun fashion which really brought the humor and enjoyment of LEGO to light.

Q: What's your favorite part of the game?

Dan: Actually, the aforementioned humor was the best and most well received component of the game. Everything from the Baby Rancor to the Ice Skating Wampa were terrific game moments. That combined with the cute and clever art style and animation made for a really fun experience.

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