Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and TT Games headed to the Main Stage at New York Comic Con Saturday to discuss the upcoming game LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham.
The panel started with TT Games Game Director Arthur Parson and Assistant Game Director Stephen Sharples.
"We're really excited - we've had a brilliant con, we've been revealing things left, right and center," Parsons said, showing off a trailer.
The trailer has Batman possessed by forces unknown, as he hangs Robin over a chasm in the Batcave. The threat is Brainiac, who says that collecting cities has lost its fulfillment - "I now want to collect worlds."
The video included not only members of the Justice League, but also Green Lantern and the rest of the multi-colored Lantern corps, including Atrocitus, Saint Walker and Arkillo. (As well as the Joker singing "I've got the whole world in my pants!")
DC Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns was then brought onto the stage. Johns will actually be a character in the game, wearing a Green Lantern shirt and hat and armed with a Green Lantern ring, a Captain Cold blaster, and Batman "detective powers." DC Comics co-publisher Jim Lee is also in the game, wearing a leather jacket and a Superman shirt. He has the ability to throw pencils at enemies, as well as the ability to fly.
Actor Troy Baker, the voice of Batman was then introduced to the audience. Joking about Johns' overpowered character, Baker said, "Well, I guess some people need 'super-powers.' I just rely on my detective abilities, my billions of dollars in the bank, and my cool gadgets. Some of us don't need to compensate, if you know what I mean. With very, very large vehicles. And planes. Not compensating."
The audience then burst into applause as film director Kevin Smith was introduced. He will be an in-game character for LEGO Batman 3.
"Everything about this game makes me happy - and being in the game makes me extra happy," Smith said, praising the animation, particularly Brainiac's skull ship. He said when the game producers asked him what superpowers he wanted, he asked for "the power to make a successful movie." He said he was turned down. He said he cried when he was asked if he wanted to be put in the game: "But I was baked, so I cry about everything."
When Smith told his daughter about this, she told him, "This is great! This is probably better than winning an Oscar. Because you're probably never going to win an Oscar." A fan gave him a consolation prize, asking for LEGO Tusk. "The least successful LEGO game of all time!" Smith replied.
Johns said that it was a no-brainer to join the LEGO-Verse when he was asked to be a part of the game. He praised the previous editions of the games: "I loved Killer Moth's interactions - the nuance, the care that went into all these characters, there was personality. There was time and effort put into the story. It was fun to become fans of these characters."
Baker discussed stepping into iconic voices like Batman and the Joker. "Something like this gives you a complete welcome break, because a lot of the games out there are pretty serious, pretty heavy, and the goal was to have fun," he said. "The team at TT said, 'Remember, it's LEGO - have fun.'"
"We just wanted to make a great game, and all we had to do was read the scripts," Baker said. Johns praised the team for making Batman in space work. "That already is a feat."
Sharples said that the most difficult part of putting together games like this. "The most difficult thing about putting together a LEGO game is you get to the closing stages of the project. Me and Arthur come in, and the rest of the team, and it's kind of an intervention," he said. "It's kind of an awkward moment, because they want to go home, and we need our content."
Johns praised the team, saying that he didn't need to intervene beyond standard high-level discussion meetings. "They don't screw it up, ever. We just talked about characters, and the number of characters," he said. "We just want more characters than Marvel."
Parson said that he planned to deliver on fan expectations of making the games bigger and better than the last. "It's about doing silly things - like when you're Wonder Woman and you're flying, you get the old '70s theme playing," he said. "You guys will definitely enjoy it."
"I've been dressing like a living cartoon character for 10 years," Smith said. "My closet looks like the cartoon Doug's. After years of wearing this, they finally put me into something like this. So the lesson here is, dress stupid, kids. It makes people notice."
"I love being in the LEGO world because it's the only world where I can be thin," Smith quipped. After the audience let out a sad response, Smith fired back, "No, I'm kidding, I love being fat."
Taking a more serious tack, Smith said that video games let players live an adventure and tap into that heroic side that they might not have an opportunity to show in the real world. "It's kind of like a better version of us."
Parson said that Smith's character was "really kind of amusing. As you're wandering in the free room part of the game, you'll come across Kevin, and he'll ask you to do some pretty weird things in the game." (Hopefully not in the back of a Volkswagon.) At the end of the game, when you complete the story mode and all of the post-credits, one of the sequences involves both Johns and Smith.
The panel then discussed some of the characters in the game, including some new reveals. Detective Chimp, Mad Hatter, Deadshot, Deathsroke, Kalibak, Polka Dot Man and Music Meister are all playable characters.
Parson also revealed some new characters: Darkest Knight Batman from the 1994 Elseworlds story, which gives him a Green Lantern ring; Solar Suit Superman, which was requested on social media; Man Bat; Condiment King from Batman The Animated Series, which Parsons said was his favorite character in the game; Daffy Duck as Green Loontern, who will be voiced by Joe Alaskey; and talk show host Conan O'Brien.
"There are so many levels of humor here," Parson said. "The V.O. sessions were... interesting."
Sharples said that in the last LEGO Batman game, you could fly around Gotham as Superman or drive around Gotham in the Batmobile. But with the Lantern worlds in LEGO Batman 3, you'll be able to fly between six and eight planets. "The scale's ramped up something incredible," he said.
The panel then showed a clip from the game, which featured Green Arrow, the Flash, Booster Gold, Killer Moth, Deathstroke, Frankenstein, Plastic Man, Solomon Grundy, Green Loontern, as well as vehicles including the Batmobile, the Justice League Javelin and the Bat-plane from The Dark Knight Rises.
The panel was then crashed by Green Arrow himself - Stephen Amell, who will play the voice of the character in the game, as well! "This is great," Amell said. "Geoff will confirm this story - I'm not hugely involved in the gaming community because I become obsessive... but I don't want anybody else voicing Green Arrow!"
"I meet a lot of fans who have been Green Arrow fans longer than I've been alive, and it's a cool mantle to have, so I'm going to hold on to it for awhile, if that's all right," Amell said. He added that the first thing he had to say in the game was the "My name is Oliver Queen" speech... but then had to add, "And I'm going to wear really, really nice pants." He said it was a nice alternative to staring at people with a "mean expression."
"It may be a mean expression, but it's really f--king pretty," Smith said.
Parson then discussed the downloadable content for the game, including the Dark Knight pack featuring Bane, the Batman 75th Anniversary pack, and the Man of Steel pack. "You get to run around with a baby Superman, which I thought was epic," Parson said of the last pack. The 75th Anniversary pack includes Zebra Batman, amongst others.
He also announced a fourth pack: Arrow, featuring Diggle, Felicity Smoak, Helena Bertinelli/Huntress, Slade Wilson, Roy Harper, Sarah Lance/Black Canary and Malcolm Merlyn. "We go back to the island... and we have a lot of fun with Stephen," Parson said. Amell said he would buy the game just for LEGO Diggle.
Johns went on the praise Amell as Green Arrow. "There's so much going on with DC right now, and that started with Stephen," he said. "We owe so much to you and the success of that show."
Parson said that he wanted to go for all the iconic eras of DC Comics, from Adam West to the Dark Knight Rises, as well as oddball characters like Bat-Cow. "We wanted to make this the ultimate superhero game this year," he said, saying his only limit was how much they could fit on a disk.
A fan asked if there were any characters they couldn't fit in this game that they wanted in LEGO Batman 4. "Do you know how little sleep we've had?" Parson said. "We've still got a raft of characters to reveal." Johns said fans would be surprised - "If Diggle's in the game, everybody's in the game."
Another fan asked if there would be a LEGO Battle for the Cowl. Parsons said no, not at this time.
Which iteration of Amanda Waller will be in the game - the pre-52 version or the current, more svelte iteration? Johns said as a LEGO, she will be "The Wall."
Another fan asked if LEGO would be releasing a Kevin Smith LEGO toy? "Oh, the things I would do to that," Smith said. Another fan asked for Bluntman and Chronic.
Wrapping up the panel, Baker said that the first time he did the voice of the Joker at least year's Comic Con, he was terrified he would be savaged by the fans, particularly Mark Hamill fans. Thanking fans for their support, this year, he delivered a line from one of the Joker's monologues: "Memories can be vile. Little brutes, like children. Heh heh heh. I see that sea of faces, and I wonder how many of you have what it takes to kill the Bat? Ha ha ha!"
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