Mindscape, developer of the enduring 1997 Lego sport Lego Island, laid off the undertaking’s crew to keep away from paying them numerous bonuses.
The small crew which constructed Lego Island had labored on the sport for 2 years and had already begun work on an underwater-set follow-up. However when it grew to become clear how profitable Lego Island could be, Mindscape bosses took motion to keep away from paying them their contracted royalties.
It is an eye-opening element dug into by Lego Bits N’ Bricks, a brand new and officially-sanctioned podcast collection from the Lego Group which is being launched episodically to rejoice this 12 months’s twenty fifth anniversary of Lego becoming a member of the world of video video games.
The latest episode of the collection charts the Lego Group’s lengthy and barely cussed journey to becoming a member of the world of video video games, and the discharge of Lego Island, its most memorable early title.
Documentary maker Ethan Vincent and video games journalist Brian Crecente speak to varied individuals employed inside the Lego Group on the time, in addition to those that labored on Lego Island itself.
“When the sport got here out, we knew that it was going to be large,” Lego Island senior producer Scott Anderson mentioned. “Now we have a terrific program in place for bonuses, for the crew. And when the sport got here out, fairly than repay the, uh, the individuals who work on it, I imply, they bought like a variety of copies within the first day. And they also owed us royalties, they owed us a variety of bonuses they usually determined that they might fold the corporate fairly than pay us. So that they fired the entire crew, after which they folded the corporate.”
Crecente added that that is an account he had heard from quite a few individuals related with the undertaking that he had spoken to, whereas researching the Bits N’ Bricks podcast collection.
“They consider that the corporate didn’t need to should pay out these bonuses,” Crecente commented. “So that they fired everyone earlier than it began promoting. Completely horrible.”
Whereas Mindscape would proceed on beneath new administration after the corporate bought itself, the Lego Group didn’t contract the developer once more for Lego Island 2, or any additional undertaking. And, sadly, with out the unique crew on board, Lego Island’s sequels by no means lived as much as the unique.
Away from that anecdote, there’s a variety of nostalgia on supply within the episode, even simply through audio – listening to Lego Island’s opening theme once more, or its “L.E.G.O. Radio” jingles is an actual deal with.
Earlier than attending to Lego Island, I discovered it fascinating to listen to hear how Lego executives needed to be satisfied it was value getting into the video video games enterprise in any respect – and that it was ultimately a mix of each inner encouragement from the corporate’s personal R&D division and an exterior pitch from Mindscape, Lego Island’s eventual developer, that received Lego high brass on board.
Future episodes of Bits N’ Bricks will go into extra element on the earliest inner concepts for Lego video video games, and transfer onto the model’s lengthy partnership with TT Video games, in addition to different initiatives equivalent to now-defunct MMO Lego Universe.
This is the episode: