Forget 2017; today I’m going to ask you to think back to 2010, when the folks behind LEGO decided it would be a great idea to release an MMORPG based on the building block universe but make it super unwieldy and hypervigilant with a weird business model that didn’t make much sense to the families likely to play it. Now fast-forward to 2011, when the team gave up on the so-named LEGO Universe because it had “not been able to attract the number of members needed to keep the game open,” sunsetting the title in 2012, only to see Funcom take a stab at the IP with LEGO Minifigures Online in 2014. It closed last September for pretty much the same reason.
So if you have a craving for some classic LEGO MMO gameplay and aren’t enthused about MineCraft and Trove and their ilk, maybe this’ll grab you: Former players under the banner of Darkflame Universe are bringing back the original LEGO Universe, with closed alpha set to begin on January 31st, the fifth anniversary of the closure.
Give another human being a creative tool with the instruction to make anything, and odds are that first creation is going to be some variety of dong. It’s just human nature. This is funny when it’s a bunch of adults but a pretty huge issue when you’re making a game meant for children. The developers of LEGO Universe have recently spoken up about the challenges of making a building game in which every creation had to be very closely scrutinized for… well, you get the idea.
In a world where games like Minecraft and Landmark have both taken off, it’s relatively obvious that creative building games are welcomed. The problem was that preventing the display of wee-wees was an absolute ironclad portion of the game’s development; it couldn’t be automated, the branding required constant hypervigilance. As a result, there was a huge cost associated with just moderating the game, extending even to the developers playing around with the toolset. By extension, it turns out that there’s really no way to build software to automatically detect dangly bits.