Written by Andrew Armstrong
While writing the Lego Batman 2 review, I was struck with how many Lego-branded games actually exist. It made me think: “At what point does a series cross over to its own genre?” There have been 12 Lego games in the franchise including Batman, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Harry Potter, and although they have been making strides lately with Lego Batman 2, for the most part these games all follow the same formula. It’s hard to call these games simple brawlers anymore; when you say “It’s a lego game”, it’s a pretty strong indication of what that game is.
It’s weird how things like this work. For example, I don’t really consider Final Fantasy to be its own genre; it is merely the prime example of a JRPG. The number of games in the Final Fantasy series is up to somewhere in the mid-twenties, and they all follow the same formula. For the record, I have played about the same number of Lego games as I have Final Fantasy, that being two each (10 and 13 for Final Fantasy, and Batman 2 and Star Wars Original Trilogy for Lego). Defining the genres is the reason FF isn’t its own genre. I’m just waiting for the day we get a non-Lego game that uses the same formula, and we say: “It’s a Lego game.”
We’re already starting to do this with Ubisoft games, as the company undergoes a kind of “Assassin's Creeding”. Splinter Cell, Assassin’s Creed, and the rumoured Prince of Persia reboot are all beginning to look the same. In five years, are people going to start referring to games as being an "Assassin's" game? It's a really weird thought for me. Games outside of Ubisoft (namely the Bethesda title Dishonoured) look like they could fit under an "Assassin" genre.