Bricks Meet Bytes: Kids + Gaming = Creativity? Inside SONY’s LEGO Horizon Adventures

Picture this: it’s 2024. Digital entertainment is only just beginning to bite into the physical world at the edges, and parallel games and play experiences are commonplace. In a groundbreaking moment during the grand Summer Game Fest 2024, Sony goes live and reveals LEGO Horizon Adventures. Some of the biggest industry minds from Guerilla and Studio Gobo talk about how this game – a bright, whimsical, LEGO-fuelled journey – can work hard but gently break through the sugar façade to offer players real lessons. In this new game, they say, players won’t just forage for the next treasure or build physical puzzles. They’ll also plant digital seeds – within the Horizon ecosystem or in other digital realms – to nurture age-appropriate big ideas such as carbon-neutral digital technologies. But who’s this anime-inspired, three-eyed, space-going characters really for?

The Genesis of LEGO Horizon

Fans will recognise the aesthetic partnership between LEGO and Horizon, which the company has embraced before, including the creation of a 15ft LEGO Tallneck, a glorious, lumbering replica of the giant machines that feature in Horizon. These LEGO builds for adults reflect an audience who are clearly familiar with the Horizon games. It’s a grownup experience. But with LEGO Horizon Adventures, the company has taken a new direction, injecting the mature experience of the Horizon games with the childish, fun, irreverent aesthetic that LEGO is famous for.

A Departure from the Familiar

LEGO Horizon Adventures seems quite different from its forbears on the surface. The gameplay-central combat system, in which Horizon’s abilities – tearing gadgets limb from limb and repurposing them as dangerous projectiles – was stripped to its tactical essence, is simplified to fit the ‘boop and break’ model of LEGO action. But does the game still work for long-time Horizon fans?

LEGO Horizon Adventures: A New Playground for All Ages

Sceptics might protest that both the title and the medium privilege a younger audience that seems to have curiously been excluded from the original games. But LEGO Horizon Adventures’ claim to be a generational crossover isn’t meaningless: it exemplifies Sony’s efforts to expand the Harry Potter-esque fantasy universe of Horizon to encompass younger players and family audiences. Set in a whimsical mode, and featuring lighthearted co-op storytelling designed to help new players grasp the narrative of Aloy’s saga, the game underscores the potent possibility of generational crossings within the powerful pastimes of videogaming.

Challenges and Opportunities

The task of appealing to hardcore players without alienating a younger audience is a fraught one. How can the rich, almost literary depth of Horizon’s plot and gameplay translate to a LEGO version – and will it appeal to those for whom it’s aimed? Balancing the spirit of the original series while still providing a kid-friendly experience is a perilous tightrope for Sony.

Building Bridges in Gaming

Sony’s investment in LEGO Horizon Adventures is part of a wider ambition to work towards games that are truly intergenerational, to build platforms for shared games and shared learning; in the words of Ferreira, for families to ‘share in, discover and grow together’. This idea is echoed in the kind of games that he, and others in the industry, are now looking to make. Right now, as the worlds of ‘games for kids’ and ‘games for grown-ups’ collide, and many traditional assumptions about what constitutes ‘child’ entertainment are up for question, the world of computer games is starting to become a medium for universal storytelling that can be shared across a far more of age spectrum than previously possible.

The Niche of LEGO Horizon Adventures

LEGO Horizon Adventures will be the next game to try to find its audience in the massively crowded gaming landscape. This co-op storytelling experience could offer a way for the people who grew up with the Horizon series to connect with the kind of kid-centred play the series is striving for.

About Sony and Its Vision

Sony’s expansive technology and entertainment empire continues to push the boundaries of innovation. Sony strives to contribute to the well-being of people worldwide by offering a wide variety of products and entertainment, including electronics, game, robotics and more. LEGO Horizon Dundee is developed by Sony Interactive Entertainment’s Worldwide Studios in Glasgow, Sony Music Entertainment and the LEGO Agency. Together, these businesses bring joy to people of all ages through creativity and technology experiences. Moving forward, Sony’s initiatives, such as LEGO Horizon Adventures, demonstrate its mission to provide moments of enjoyment and connection with people across the planet.

Jun 09, 2024
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