LEGO Media // August 1998 – August 1999
LEGO Island was the first ever LEGO game. Its massive success proved the viability of LEGO software products, leading to the formation of LEGO Media. It also guaranteed an eventual sequel, of which I was made the Producer.
Interestingly, the game started life as something quite different. LEGO Media’s remit extended beyond just software, and the game was originally intended to support a TV show being developed in collaboration with a US animation house. The proposed show was the usual bland Saturday morning filler about three human kids and their comedy dog who could ‘warp’ into LEGO world for all sorts of life-lesson-teaching adventures, and so generic that it’s no surprise it didn’t go beyond the initial concept phase.
At that point, the game was still early in development – essentially little more than a 3D engine and a dog animation (my original idea was for a Mario 64-style platform adventure, where you could swap between the three human heroes and use their differing skills to solve puzzles, plus ‘use’ the dog to sniff out secrets, dig up items, attack enemies, etc – take that, Fable!).
It was a shame to throw away all that work, so it was decided to repurpose it as LEGO Island 2, seeing pizza boy Pepper back in action after he accidentally releases the Brickster from prison. Unfortunately I never got to finish the game as I left LEGO Media well over a year before it closed, though it was nice to see the final game kept fairly close to my original design and storyline.