I have been putting this off for quite some time already since I am aware that such news may inadvertently fan the flame of unhealthy rumors and speculations. Nevertheless, we eventually need to weigh these things while keeping in mind the best interest of the LEGO Community. If you’re closely following the toys-to-life scene where LEGO Dimensions is a big part of, then you might be aware already that the future of this genre is looking quite bleak. After the surprising cancellation of Disney Infinity way back in May of last year, and the apparent slowdown of Skylanders, in terms of having no new releases slated for 2017, led many to speculate that the curtain may have started to roll down quietly for this particular niche of toys.
Bricks to Life, a website dedicated to everything under the LEGO Dimensions portal, has taken a lot of criticism lately because of an article that it posted a week ago. Daniel Becker, the main man behind BTL, asserts that they have reliable information that the LEGO Group has decided to pull the plug from LEGO Dimensions and citing numerous evidences that point out to the alleged not-so-distant cancellation of the game. Since after posting the said article, the site has received a lot of comments ranging from an emphatic show of support, saying that the larger LEGO community has the right to know about these things, to outright disapproval and outrage for what some has said to be ‘rumor mongering’ and sensationalism.
For our purposes, we will not repost or rehash what was already been said about this alleged cancellation (or plausible cancellation) of LEGO Dimensions. Instead, we will try to make sense about this piece of news by laying down (as much as we can) all the necessary facts about the report. Only then can you settle in your mind what the real case is, and what can you do as of the moment to help in settling the unrest among LEGO Dimensions community.
Fact#1 – The Apparent Delay in the Release Date of LEGO Dimensions Wave 8.
According to BTL’s report, it was noted that Hermione Granger will be welcomed through the LEGO Dimensions portal starting this month. The news was announced during the Harry Potter Celebration at Universal Studios in Orlando last January 28, with the promise of a March 21 release. This piece of news was relatively of low profile, though it didn’t go unnoticed among LEGO Dimensions fans. Needless to say, most of us were very excited about this and everything is going as planned with Wave 8 of LEGO Dimensions in particular, and the promise of more Year 2 content in general.
However, LD fans were caught by surprise when LEGO gave an official press release stating that the release of LEGO Dimensions Wave 8 will be pushed back in May instead. The press release specifically mentioned that the Goonies Level Pack (71267), the Harry Potter Hermione Granger Fun Pack (71348), and the LEGO City Chase McCain Fun Pack (71266) will all be available on May 9. It had a lot of people asking about why LEGO would opt for such a delay where in fact, historically, May is usually the end of their release cycles. It means to say that if everything is on track, the promise of other Year 2 titles such as the Powerpuff girls, Teen Titans GO! and Beetlejuice – collectively referred to as Wave 9 – should be released in May. This move of having a May 9 release date for Wave 8 obviously pushes Wave 9 further. This leaves a big question in every one’s mind, not to mention a bit of anxiety about what it may imply since there is no official word from LEGO as of the moment when Wave 9 will eventually be released. It should also be noted that there has been no news of any kind regarding the possible character line-up for LD’s Year 3 offering in spite of LEGO’s promise of ‘new ways to play in 2016 and beyond’.
Fact #2 – Removal of Previously Revealed In-Game Updates
Bricks to Life also pointed out an in-game update to LEGO Dimensions that basically removed some level spots that were previously shown already. The removal of these level spots only led to further questions: why were these Year 2 level spots reduced to four instead of six as previously revealed? Why were these contents being removed from the game?
Now some may argue that the removal of these level spots may not necessarily mean anything disastrous or apocalyptic right away. That the removal of such in-game content is like a harbinger of the end of things for LEGO Dimensions is still very much far-fetched. However, BTL decides to dig in deeper and sets itself to find out the real score behind these suspicious moves.
Fact #3 – The Toys-to-Life Genre is Slowly Dying.
When Activision – the company behind Skylanders – created the toys-to-life niche in 2011, the company seemed to have landed on a gold mine. The multi-billion TTL market was booming, with the masses experiencing for the first time a fusion of video games and real life, physical toys. Needless to say, the TTL revolution that Skylanders has started, captivated players and gamers of all ages. Disney decided to join the fray, with Disney Infinity as their take on this booming toy industry. The Japanese gaming giant, Nintendo, also saw the potential of the toys-to-life genre with their offering of exquisitely made, Amiibo line of figures. LEGO eventually jumped on the bandwagon with its unique take on the TTL scene. Opting for a licensing approach in its offerings, LEGO Dimensions now has more than 30 IPs and licenses under its belt.
True, we have seen and experienced the frenzy behind these unique toy categories, but there are indicators that point out that after five years of its existence, the toys-to-life genre may have reached a sort of saturation point. When Disney finally decided to wrap things up with Infinity, most analysts speculated that LEGO Dimensions will pick up the pieces where Disney Infinity left off. However, after almost a year since the cancellation of Disney Infinity, the numbers (particularly in terms of sales) that LEGO has been hoping to see in LEGO Dimensions doesn’t quite add up. As it seems, Disney’s decision to withdraw from the toys-to-life race only showed the symptoms of an ailing industry. To add a nail to its coffin, Skylanders has not announced any new releases for 2017, with Vicarious Visions, the group primarily responsible for the development of Skylanders under Activision, is now given new projects to work on. This saturation point and decline in sales have been attributed to the relatively high cost of the toys-to-life genre, where playing the video game and enhancing the gaming experience by unlocking game content using physical toys have proven to be expensive.
Fact #4 – Bricks to Life Claim of Insider’s Info.
Bricks to Life’s search for the real deal behind the future of LEGO Dimensions led them to one of their trusted sources. Obviously, they cannot reveal who their source is if that person is indeed a part, or a member of, any of LEGO’s partners and subsidiaries. According to BTL, they have reliable information that states how a recent TT Games company meeting revealed the true state of things for LEGO Dimensions. According to their source, the said meeting was more of a reshuffling of priorities as far as the development of newer games is concerned. As it turned out according to BTL, talks about future LEGO Dimensions content has been pushed at the very bottom of TT Games’ priority list only to be shadowed by new and more promising projects. Teams are now reassigned to work on other projects that have greater potential, while LEGO Dimensions is set aside. In the past, LEGO Dimensions has been TT Games pet project alongside other LEGO video games which have proven to be popular throughout the years. However, if Bricks to Life’s source can be trusted, then such reshuffling of priorities may well indicate that the game developers themselves have thrown in the towel for LEGO Dimensions.
Fact #5 – LEGO Officially Denies LD’s Cancellation But Goes On To Say That It Doesn’t Know What Game Developers Have In Store.
In its official Tweeter account, LEGO has dismissed any claims of future cancellation of LEGO Dimensions. Check out their tweet below.
On a separate inquiry, LEGO stated that it has no idea on what’s in store with regards to future game development as far as LEGO Dimensions is concerned.
Now this is just a sort of an extrapolation, but having LEGO unsure of what their game designers have in mind for the future while stating very clearly that LEGO Dimensions is not getting cancelled does not sound right for me. Considering that Year 2’s offering is about to come to a close, then any plans for working on a Year 3 series should be in the works right now. This apparent ambivalence with LEGO’s official announcements is not really new. In the past, we get to see relatively conflicting news regarding the cancellation of some of LEGO’s projects such as its MMORPG LEGO Universe, Mixels, and Bionicle.
Now at this point, you may have realized already that the news of LEGO Dimensions’ cancellation is, as of this writing, should be considered for what it is – as a rumor. Nevertheless, we should also realize that there are several facts that we need to scrutinize and see if these all stand up and serve as a signal on what lies ahead on the future of LEGO Dimensions, and of the toys-to-life genre. As of now, we still have the promise of Wave 9 coming out soon, and another set rumored to be a Lord Vortech Fun Pack. If there is anything that we can hold on to, is the truth that nothing is final until it is. We maintain our stand that though there are clear indicators of what lies ahead in this corner of the toys to life scene, we still give due respect to LEGO and what it believes to be as beneficial for both the company and the LEGO fans community.
So, what is your take in all of these brick fans? Do you think this is really the end for LEGO Dimensions, or perhaps this is just another low that LEGO has to hurdle? Share us your thoughts in the comments below, or join in the discussions in our Facebook page.