Lego The Hobbit Dwarfs All Previous Lego Games

LegoHobbitThe new Lego The Hobbit game–inspired by the two films, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, as well as the collection of Lego The Hobbit construction sets–is available now across North America for the Xbox One and Xbox 360, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3, and Nintendo 3DS. The game will be available for the Nintendo Wii U on April 22.

Lego The Hobbit features key locations from the film, including Bag End and High Pass over The Misty Mountains. In addition, this will be the first Lego game to utilize a loot system, in which Lego studs representing a variety of materials can be for crafting items. Published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and developed by TT Games, Lego The Hobbit will be available on all platforms.

A main new feature of the game allows players to utilize dwarves’ combined abilities such as buddy fighting, two-player attack, staff climb, mace swing, and belly bounce to help them fight Orcs and fouler things. There’s also an easy access drop-in, drop-out gameplay option available on the consoles. Together players will navigate 16 levels, unlock more than 90 playable characters, and partake in treasure quests–the most diverse number of any Lego video game to date.

Lego Ninjago Sequel Coming to Handheld Systems

Lego.NinjagoWarner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, TT Games, and The Lego Group will release the second installment of the Lego Ninjago franchise, Lego Ninjago: Nindroids, to the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita this summer. Hellbent Games developed the sequel in partnership with TT Games.

The game will feature 30 fast-paced, action-packed levels that follow key plot scenarios featured in the Lego Ninjago Rebooted animated series. Players get to use vehicles such as the Kai Fighter, special moves, combo attacks, and secret weapons like Technoblades to solve puzzles and defend New Ninjago city.

Warner Bros. Throws Down Gauntlet, This Time for Digital Game Service

GauntletAn updated action-RPG version of the classic dungeon crawler, Gauntlet, will be available this summer via Steam for PC. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, it will lead the launch of WB Games Vault, a direct-to-digital portfolio that will deliver paid games based on popular Warner Bros. and Midway brands across multiple digital networks.

Developed by Arrowhead Game Studios, Gauntlet lets players select from four classic fantasy-based characters: Warrior, Wizard, Valkyrie, or Elf. Each character has its own unique strengths and weaknesses. Meanwhile, gameplay is set within dungeons where the object is to fight through the chambers, slaying evil creatures and completing challenges.

Lego Legends of Chima Goes Mobile

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, The Lego Group, and WB Games Montréal have launched Lego Legends of Chima for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod. Playable with a Wi-Fi connection, the game is free to play and both extends and complements Lego Legends of Chima products, including construction sets and vehicles.

In the online Chima universe, players take on the role of an animal warrior in the Lion, Eagle, Gorilla or Bear tribe. After creating and customizing their character, players explore massive environments, uncover hidden secrets and treasures, build weapons and gadgets, and collect studs and gold bricks that will help expand their outpost.

Lego Legends of Chima is currently downloadable at the App Store.

COMMENTARY: Lego Friends Video Game Appeals to Boys and Girls

Lego Friends box art.jpgRight in time for the holidays, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has released Lego Friends, a video game based on the construction toy line of the same name. While the game is all-ages-friendly, the target demographic appears to be young girls in particular: The box art features many of the characters that appear in the game—fresh-faced ladies of various hair colors, skin tones, and hobbies.

I first heard of Lego Friends, developed by TT Games and Hellbent Games for Nintendo 3DS and DS, months before, and even then I was interested in how it might differ from titles intended for more of a boys’ audience. Eventually, I got to demo it alongside Lego Marvel Super Heroes, a game that if not specifically for boys, is certainly a more testosterone-heavy affair. The art direction and color palette for Lego Friends are cuter and brighter, respectively. But do those factors alone—and that the main avatar and supporting characters are all female—qualify calling it a video game for girls? Could it still conceivably appeal to other audiences? [Read more...]

Warner Bros., TT Games, and Lego to Create Lego The Hobbit

WBIE_Color_LowResWarner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, TT Games, and The Lego Group are making a new addition to the Lego videogame series: Lego The Hobbit. The game will bring filmmaker Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and the upcoming The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug to life as players are taken on quests and adventures throughout Middle-earth, joining Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf the Grey, and Thorin Oakenshield and Company.

Players will even visit key locations from the films, including Bag End, Bilbo’s Hobbit-hole in Hobbiton, as they solve countless puzzles, partake in treasure quests, and battle with orcs, trolls, and other foul things.

Lego The Hobbit is currently being developed by TT Games and will be available on Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vista, Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, and Windows PC and Mac, next year.

Nintendo Brings Holiday Fun to Malls Across the U.S.

NintendoBetween November 25 and December 22, Nintendo will visit 23 malls coast-to-coast so the public can test drive video games for the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS systems.

The expected lineup for the Wii U includes Super Mario 3D World, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, Wii Fit U, Wii Party U, Wii Sports Club, The Wonderful 101, Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, Sonic Lost World from Sega, Disney Infinity from Disney Interactive, and more.

For Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo is scheduled to show Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, Super Mario 3D Land, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Skylanders Swap Force from Activision, and more. [Read more...]

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment to Release Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Shadow of MordorWarner Bros. Interactive Entertainment is developing a next-generation, third-person action game based on a story of vengeance and redemption set in Middle-earth. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor has gamers take on the role of Talion, a character who’s resurrected by a spirit of vengeance after his own life was taken. He’s empowered with many abilities and his main mission is to destroy those who have wronged him the night his family was slain in front of him.

Although the background of the game stays the same, each player can create his own experience through the Nemesis System. Enemy relationships and characteristics are shaped by each player’s actions and decisions during gameplay. Gamers are even able to craft their own battles, enemies, and rewards within the Mordor world that adapts to and remembers their choices.

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is in development for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, and Xbox 360 by Monolith Productions and Middle-earth Enterprises.

COMMENTARY: New Warner Bros. Licensed Games Look at Superheroes in a Different Light

I couldn’t be happier that 99 percent of all current movies—including Thor: The Dark World, due in theaters this week—seem to feature somebody in a cape or a miraculous suit of armor battling evil. Full disclosure: I was way into superhero comics when I was a kid. I managed to amass hundreds, which I kept in cardboard long boxes, re-reading them over and over throughout my tortured adolescence. I didn’t buy them for collecting purposes, thank goodness; years later, I traded in the entire lot for $10 and a key lime pie, and considered myself lucky to have gotten that much.

(Seriously, folks, if you started collecting comics during the 1990s or later, they’re not going to put your kid through college. It just won’t happen.)

My point is, I’m a huge superhero fan. However, I’ve started to feel super-saturated by all the licensed comic book-based movies and TV shows popping up of late. They always seem so serious, with all the world-saving and high drama, the death and epic romance and heroic posturing. It’s great the first time, pretty good the second, but around the umpteenth, I have to fight the urge to stand up and yell, “Hey, grown person in hockey pants! Aren’t we supposed to be having fun here?”

For that reason, I am grateful for the recent trend in video games based on licensed superhero properties, specifically those from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. While its offerings of late include the very seriously toned Batman: Arkham Origins, the company is also responsible for two titles that manage to be respectful of the superhero genre, while simultaneously turning it on its head in ways that are funny and downright fun. Both games are available now and suitable for kids ages 10 and up. [Read more...]

Warner Bros. Interactive Launches New Batman: Arkham Origins Games

Batman.ArkhamWarner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Entertainment have released Batman: Arkham Origins. Developed by WB Games Montréal, the game is based on DC Comics’ core Batman license, and introduces an original prequel storyline in which a young, unrefined Batman faces the defining moment of his early career, and sets his path to becoming the famous Dark Knight.

Batman: Arkham Origins, in which Batman is hunted by eight of the deadliest assassins from the DC Comics Universe, is available for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U, and Windows PC. New to the franchise is a multiplayer mode, developed by Splash Damage, which allows friends and foes to engage in online play that blends traditional Arkham gameplay with those of third-person shooter mechanics.

Also available now is Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate, a companion game developed by Armature Studio, which brings core Batman Arkham pillars to the PlayStation Vita and Nintendo 3DS handheld formats. It allows players to continue the storyline of the console game.

Players looking to extend their gameplay experience can buy the Batman: Arkham Origins Season Pass, comprised of five of the game’s upcoming downloadable content packs. The Season Pass is available on the PlayStation Network, Xbox Live online entertainment network from Microsoft, Nintendo eShop, and Steam.