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Lego MMO will break generational divide - Netdevil

Beta test for the family-friendly online game expected to launch next year

NetDevil believes MMO Lego Universe can break apart the generational divide that exists between technologically adept children and their parents.

"I talk a lot about the visual divide between generations, and I feel it quite acutely between say my mother and my son," Ryan Seabury, creative director of Lego Universe, told Eurogamer.

"His grandmother I can't drag onto email kicking and screaming. I've tried three times. But he's going to grow up with email as just part of his vocabulary - it's not like a new concept or anything. So how are they going to communicate? How are they going to have a relevant conversation?

"I look at Lego as a language, as an idea," he added. "She understands it: she bought it for me when I was a kid. My son likes it, I like it. So even though she may not be playing Lego Universe, I'll be playing Lego Universe, he'll be playing Lego Universe and there's a relevant connection there."

Seabury thinks we get "excited" when we have children and they become old enough to play with Lego. "You have that excuse to go and play with toys again," he said, and Lego Universe has a "lot of potential" to capture that parent-to-child bond.

Jonathan Smith, head of TT Games, agrees: "And of course from a parent's point of view, this is the world where their children can bring them into a world they're not already in," Smith told Eurogamer.

"Online games and the online communications experience are very accessible and children are ready for that, immersed in that, and parents are not. So this is where the children can actually lead the parents by the hand and show them what to do," he added, "and that can be a really powerful experience together."

Lego Universe has been kept under wraps since being announced in 2007. The family-friendly MMO has missed 2008 and 2009 release dates, and now steers a course for next year, which is when Seabury expects a beta test to open.

But why should a core gamer be interested? "Why shouldn't they be interested?" countered Seabury. "Good games are fun to play, no matter what."

"There's a lot of depth that we can offer that will be there. Obviously it's family-friendly so it's going to be in a different context to some of the more adult-themed games. But if you like Lego and if you like playing MMOs or connecting with your friends and playing games then you're probably going to like Lego Universe," he said.

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Robert Purchese avatar
Robert Purchese: Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.
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