He's one of the nicest men in game development so we've always been wary about talking to TT Games' head of production Jonathan Smith about what the hell happened with the DS version of Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy.
Still when it came to getting some email answers about the all-new The Complete Saga version, which combines the six films from first two Lego Star Wars games plus plenty of extras, we were brave enough to include a 'What went wrong with Lego Star Wars II DS?' question.
Of course, he just ignored it.
Oh well, he did at least answer everything else…
Pocket Gamer: Let's get right to it, shall we – how will the touchscreen controls work in The Complete Saga?
Jonathan Smith: When you're in control of a Jedi character, you can use the touchscreen to control your Force powers and to interact with objects by moving your thumb across the pad. You can also select different characters from your party, simply by pressing their face icons on the lower screen.
On top of that, we have lots of completely new mini-games, like the Pod Race pit-stop, which are controlled exclusively through the touchscreen. The lightsaber training game, based on the scene in A New Hope where Luke tries to deflect blaster bolts under the tutelage of Obi-Wan Kenobi, moves your lightsaber in direct response to your movements with the stylus – and it feels great!
How does this DS version of The Complete Saga compare to the 'bigger' home console version?
The DS game has been built from the ground up by Traveller's Tales; and as part of that process we did import and convert a number of models and animations from the console originals to get the best possible quality. Level layouts are specific to the DS, but are modeled to a significant degree on the console games. We think we've managed to create a game specifically for the DS, which draws successfully upon some of the best elements of the other versions.
And it contains all six of the Star Wars films?
Absolutely! The DS version has 30 levels covering all six films, with all the characters you'd expect, and intense starship action. Like the other versions, it offers two-player co-operative player throughout, via wireless link-up. It's a big game, just like the other console versions, with lots of additional surprises of its own.
How have you managed to fix all that into the DS?
By remaining ruthlessly focused, being 100 per cent efficient and having a team full of brilliant people smart enough to find clever solutions to seemingly impossible problems.
Why did you decide not to do a PSP version this time?
We really love Lego Star Wars II on PSP, but we simply have limited available resources, and couldn't fit a PSP version of Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga into our plans.
What are your plans when it comes to mobile Lego Star Wars games?
And finally, any news about the handheld versions of Lego Indiana Jones or Batman yet?
They will definitely be brilliant.Our thanks to Jonathan for his time. Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga DS is due to be released on November 16th.
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