A new Lego game, Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, has just launched and that means like any good gamer, my immediate reaction is to demand more. More games more better more sooner. More more more. There are quite a few movies that I think are perfect for Lego, and I may well argue their case sooner or later, but right now I can’t think of anything more fitting for Lego than Shrek. Please, give me Lego Shrek.
It would be remiss of me not to note that The Skywalker Saga was reportedly made under crunch conditions, and the gamer’s demand that games go bigger and better while simultaneously coming out faster and faster has made life as a developer considerably worse. I of course want devs to be able to make games in the best environment possible, and think we show a flagrant lack of respect for the people who make the games we love so much. That said, give me Lego Shrek now now now. Kidding. But also, give it to me.
Shrek is the perfect game for Lego. First off, to be a Lego game you need to have a family friendly charm while appealing to adults as much as kids. That’s why Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Marvel, and all the other Lego games work so well. They have that easy-going, light-hearted charm that makes them approachable to all ages, deliver nostalgia for adults, and just enough jokes that fly over kids’ heads for them to land right in the sweet spot. It might feel odd for us to consider Shrek ‘nostalgic’, but the first movie came out in 2001. That’s 21 years ago. Shrek is old enough to drink a beer anywhere in the world, and us? We’re just plain old.
You also need to have a simple story that can easily be shrunk down into Lego’s brand of quick, laff-a-minute storytelling, while being full of action sequences. Who doesn’t want to wrestle as Shrek in Lord Farquaad’s castle in brick form, or lay the smackdown on Robin Hood as Lego Fiona? Across four movies, there are plenty of moments like this, and a huge range of characters to play as. The humour is pitch perfect for Lego in that it’s already highly visual and reliant on iconic quotes, and in Lego form it could be taken a step further. Some of the adult edges might be sanded down in places (pretty much every subtle Farquaad joke, for example), but the characters are so inherently funny and the comedy so natural within their personalities that tweaking it to fit a Lego game would be perfect.
Marvel Superheroes is probably the best example of this. Spider-Man’s charm remains mostly untouched by Lego, while some of the stars aimed at older demographics or who have sharper, more incisive wit are turned into pantomimes of themselves, but it all works because that’s exactly how you’d make them act if you had your grubby little hands on them for real and were playing with them while doing silly voices.
While the movies belong to Shrek, both Fiona and Donkey have major roles in them, then there’s the fact all three have two forms. Add to that all of the villains, side roles, and recurring fairytale characters, and you’ve got a huge cast with a lot of variety for level by level play and bags of Easter Eggs for die hard Shrekies (I assume that’s what they call themselves) to unlock.
I know it’s not as simple as all of this. Shrek is a DreamWorks property, and as far as I can tell, Trolls is the only DreamWorks property with a Lego line. Universal, DreamWorks’ parent company, has only ever teamed up with the Lego games twice – once for Jurassic World (one of the best games), and once for a Back to the Future appearance in Lego Dimensions. It seems like Disney and Warner Bros. are the two horses to bet on, and given the fact Disney owns roughly 73 percent of the world, there are probably more likely movies I could push for a Lego game. But consider this: Shrek, but Lego. I make a pretty compelling case, don’t I?
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