Just before the multiplatform release on Wednesday, September 13, LucasArts and TT Games present the seventh and final installment in the series of stories about LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy.

Episode VI: Your favorite LEGO moments!

The humorous view of the galaxy far, far away is not so far, far away from us anymore. On Wednesday, September 13, LucasArts and TT Games will unleash LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy on eight different platforms. Now that the game is all done, can we imagine a better time than now to talk about the final section of the game, which is based on the events of Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi?

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“As soon as I get my two-disc DVDs of all three films, the same day the game comes out, I skip straight to the speeder bike chase,” said David Perkinson, producer at LucasArts. “Back then, those special effects were amazing, and to this day, it’s still one of the fastest and most spectacular action sequences in movie history. And the folks at Traveller’s Tales certainly didn’t disappoint us with their in-game version of that scene.”

Speeder Showdown is the third of the six Episode VI levels, and the only level in LEGO Star Wars II that combines a vehicle-only game (in this case raging speeder bikes) with foot action like the first, featuring one big difference. “In LEGO Star Wars, you couldn’t build your own AT-ST and then jump in and blast stormtroopers,” said Jeffrey Gullett, assistant producer at LucasArts. “That’s one of the great new features that Traveler’s Tales has put into this game that really made it a lot more fun. That, and the Gamorrean guards that start rocking when you build a LEGO jukebox in Jabba’s palace.”

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“You know,” Perkinson adds. “I always feel a little guilty leading those pig heads to the abattoir while they’re honoring the rock gods. I always let them attack me (and make no mistake, they’re just about the toughest enemies outside the bosses) and then use Luke’s Force suffocation; I think that is a lot more civilized.”

“I absolutely love that whole level in Jabba’s palace,” says Gullett. “You have such variety in your party: Luke with his lightsaber and new Jedi powers, Chewie with his bowcaster, the droids and Leia in her disguise, who like the other bounty hunters can throw thermal detonators if they Boushh mask. And at the end of the level, Han joins in and the whole club takes on the Rancor. Well, the whole club except Leia… who then wears her gold bikini as a slave to Jabba.”

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Later in the game, Leia dresses a little warmer and, along with Han, Chewbacca, the droids, and Wicket the Ewok, lead the ground offensive during the Battle of Endor. “It’s one of the longest levels in the game,” said Gullett. “You’ll travel all the way from the Ewok village to the shield bunker, knocking down plenty of scout troopers, piloting AT-STs, and firing catapults along the way.”

In the Emperor’s Throne Room, your weapons are a little more advanced than a slingshot and witness an intriguing twist in the story that hit the silver screen 23 years ago. “That was one of those moments where we had to step back and make a decision,” explains Perkinson. “Do you suddenly turn one from a two-player game into a single-player game to be able to follow the story exactly? Or do you deviate a bit from the story for a better gaming experience? Since a great gaming experience is the main pillar of LEGO Star Wars II, we chose the latter. This means that Vader returns to the good side a little earlier than in the movie and helps his son defeat Palpatine in a spectacular lightsaber fight. We know some die hard fans are concerned about such a change, but we think they will see we made the right choice when they play the level themselves.”

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The final level of the game, Into the Death Star, didn’t require any of those difficult decisions to be made in the development phase. It gave developers like Traveller’s Tales’ Will Thompson the opportunity to translate their favorite scene from Return of the Jedi into a game. “I remember seeing the space battle over Endor for the first time in the cinema: all those TIE fighter formations flying screaming towards the camera…I was knocked back in amazement,” the storyboard artist and modeller enthuses. “It was a wonderful challenge to help turn this scene into a playable whole, but probably not as great as the challenge of filming the scene using a composite image method at the time! You really get a new appreciation for the time and energy that went into creating those epic space battles.”

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And now that the game is over, Perkinson has discovered a new appreciation in himself: “I’ve gotten a newfound appreciation for Ewoks.”


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