The history of LEGO Star Wars video games

Cover art: Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga. Photo: Lucasfilm/TT Games.
Cover art: Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga. Photo: Lucasfilm/TT Games. /

With the release of LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga just over the horizon, gamers are gearing up to return to the galaxy far, far away in all its blocky glory.

Last week, we covered the beginnings of the LEGO Star Wars brands in the physical sets that have dominated toy shelves for over two decades and counting. Today, let’s take a look at the game series that brought the brand to live like never before.

First up, released in 2005 is the original LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game which covered the three prequel films. This coincided with the release of the “final” entry in the saga: Revenge of the Sith. The game received decent reviews and was hugely financially successful. Seeing as the LEGO Star Wars sub-brand was already flying off of shelves at this point; no surprises there.

The success of this first LEGO Star Wars game acted as a resuscitation of LEGO games in general. In 2004 LEGO Interactive, the studio responsible for all of the company’s previous games, was shut down. Some of the former team members then went on to found their own studio, Giant Interactive Entertainment who went on to publish the first LEGO Star Wars game and have done so ever since under the new name TT Games Publishing.

The game’s success was attributed to its ease of access, cartoonish charm and highly adaptable drop-in drop-out cooperative gameplay. These would all become hallmarks of the series as new entries were released.

The next year would see the release of the game’s sequel: LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy. Most of the game’s functions were more or less identical to the original but of course took place in the three original films. Some improvements were to be witnessed in the form of improved camera angles that caused headaches for co-op in the original, as well as the introduction of a custom character creation suite.

Following this was a compilation of the two original games in LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga released in 2007. This entry had far less original content but is now considered the optimal way of enjoying the early iteration of the series. Some levels were redesigned and included an all-new “bounty hunter” mode featuring new missions.

After three years of annual releases there was a notable gap in the main series of LEGO Star Wars games. Finally in 2011, the series returned with LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars. As the title suggests, this entry borrows plot from the 3D animated movie and follow up series The Clone Wars as well as a notable array of technical updates. However, the game was not as well received as its predecessors which even by this time had become renowned classics.

Another sizable gap followed until 2016 with the release of LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens which unlike the other games focused solely on one movie, that being of course episode VII. The game was considered a return to form for the series which had not had a major hit for close to a decade by this time.

And so, with LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, this brings us to the present. Fans of the series have been waiting for this one for a while as the release will mark over half a decade between new games.

Originally announced at E3 2019, the upcoming entry has experienced some serious delays. It was first scheduled to release on 20 October 2020 then had its date pushed back to an unspecified time in 2021. Once again in April of that year it was announced there would be further delays. However, with a fairly detailed gameplay trailer being shown, the new release date of 5 April 2022 seems to be set in stone.

While COVID-19 related delays are likely, a recent report detailing severe crunch, the use of outdated development tools and management issues are also likely causes of the delay.

Related Story. LEGO Star Wars: A complete history. light

What’s your favorite LEGO Star Wars game? Let us know in the comments below! For all things Star Wars, check out Dork Side of the Force.