Lego Batman 2: DC Superheroes Assembles for PS Vita, PS3 today

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Lego Batman 2: DC Superheroes Assembles for PS Vita, PS3 today

After seeing Lego Batman 2: DC Superheroes at GDC this year, then playing the PS Vita version at E3, I’ve found myself anticipating its imminent release (it’s out today). With a huge Gotham City hub world and a cast that reaches far beyond the Caped Crusader, Lego Batman 2 appears to be the most ambitious entry in the venerable Lego series. A few days ago I caught up with Matthew Ellison, a producer at TT Games via transatlantic cable, er, telephone. We talked at length about PS Vita, the plethora of playable DC heroes, and… bat nipples.

Do read on:

Lego Batman 2: DC Superheroes Assembles for PS Vita, PS3 today

Jeff Rubenstein, PlayStation.Blog: After seeing this game over the past few months, it seems that the title “Lego Batman 2” really sells the game short…

Matthew Ellison, TT Games: This is a sequel to the first game (Lego Batman: The Videogame), and that’s a key point for us. We’ve learned lessons with the first game and when we wanted to make Lego Batman 2, the idea of bringing in Superman and other Justice League characters just seemed like a great way to improve what is an original story. The story basically has Batman, Superman, and Robin teaming up to take on Lex Luthor and the Joker, so we’re bringing all these characters together and the different relationships that they have is something that we’ve loved getting to work with. Batman and Superman are in the story throughout, but we have these other Justice League characters who play a part towards the end of the story.

PSB: Beyond the breadth of characters, which is a common thread in Lego games, this seems to be the most ambitious Lego game from a design perspective.

TTG:The Gotham City hub is on a different scale to anything we’ve ever done in the past. To be able to create a Lego version of Gotham City — which is still quite a dreary, dark place — we’ve been able to put a Lego spin on it that gives it a different feel to previous representations of Gotham City. Hopefully we’ll surprise people with that once they play it.


PSB: Of course people will be eager to try out Batman, with his plethora of tools, or Superman, who can fly. Who’s the sleeper character that people should be looking out for?

TTG: The Flash is one that instantly jumps to mind. He’s got super speed, naturally, and it’s really, really cool to run around, especially in the hub where you realize how quickly he’s moving, jumping around and collecting studs at super speed. Green Lantern seems to be very popular among the people we’ve shown him so far. Any green Lego you find in the game, he’s the only character that can interact with that Lego, so that’s unique to him. And he can build objects that no other character can build thanks to his ring. Cyborg is another one that’s pretty cool. Much like Superman’s heat vision, he’s got laser eyes, and he can climb up magnetic walls. And there’s a number of flying characters as well. Flying’s quite cool in the game. Cyborg 6

PSB: This is your second PS Vita game, with a third in development (Lego The Lord of the Rings). What have you learned from Lego Harry Potter Years 5-7 that you’re applying in these next two announced PS Vita titles?

TTG: We have been learning very quickly on Vita. Harry Potter was a very good learning experience, because whenever a new platform comes out it takes some time to get the grips on how to get the most out of it. Just simply from a development point of view, learning all the tricks and how to optimize things and get the best results does take a little bit of time and can’t be, or is rarely, done the first time. The guys at TT Fusion make our handheld games, so all the tips and tricks to get the graphics looking sharper and so on have been learned from previous titles so we’re able to put together a higher quality game, and enhance it further as we move forward working with the platform.

The other thing with Vita is it has a few extra features. We’re using “near” functionality, we also have front touchscreen and rear touchscreen for targeting, like Batman’s Batarang, for example.

PSB: How are you using “near”? Do you mind elaborating?

TTG: The way the feature works is that when in game you can go up to the Batcomputer in the Batcave and choose an item or character that you have unlocked and set it as a gift. Anyone that then goes to that geographical location can obtain the gift.

PSB: We put a note out on Twitter asking for some questions, and we had a couple of funny ones — one reader thanked you for not including “Bat nipples” on the costume – not a fan of the Joel Schumacher movie, I guess.

TTG: To that point, with the character designs, we do work closely with DC. The character outfits, a lot of those decisions will come from talking to DC and how they want characters to appear. We also obviously work very closely with Lego, so where there’s a Lego toy available, we’ll use their design for the toy wherever possible. The idea behind that is simply when kids have the mini-figs in the toy set, they like to see the toys come to life in the video games.

PSB: The other question that came through on Twitter — by about 90% of the respondents — is how similar is the PS Vita version to the PS3 version?

TTG: There are quite a few differences between the PS3 and the PS Vita version. The things that are the same are the story, which is told through cutscenes primarily, and those cutscenes are shared between the versions. The other things that are the same, more or less, are the levels. There is one level in the console game which doesn’t appear on the handheld due to technical limitations. The console game does have the big Gotham City hub, while the handheld has the Batcave hub, but the thing that the handheld game does have is the JLA mode, which is basically bonus missions. There are five bonus missions, and each one is divided into eight different rounds where you take control of a different Justice League character. You’ll either have to have a big fight with a series of enemies, or have to cross some platforms or just get into a different mode. So there’ll be sort of challenges that make up this Justice League mode, and that seems to be something that’ll be very popular.


PSB:You’ve done quite a few of these games – what have you found that people want in a Lego game?

TTG: I think the thing that people want most is, working with the different IPs people love to see how the stories are told through Lego. Our games are very much character driven, I think, and the personalities of those characters and how they interact with each other. For example, the relationship between Superman and Batman in the game. Superman is quite brash and arrogant and Batman doesn’t want any of Superman’s help, and a lot of the humor comes from that relationship and how they interact with each other. I think people like seeing that in our games.

Lego Batman 2: DC Superheroes ships for PS3 and PS Vita today. The Vita version will be available for download later today on the PlayStation Store. Of note, the Vita version of the game will feature ad hoc multiplayer support for the campaign, and couch co-op on PS3.

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  • Well I feel crapy, I just wasted $40 :(

  • C O U C H C O – O P O N P S 3

    SHAME ON ANYONE WHO SUPPORTS THIS TRAVESTY. It’s year 2012 for crying out loud. WHY SO AWFUL! WHY? It makes no sense…

    Hints to publisher: Step 1: Go to Step #2: Enter “online game” in the search box. Step #3: read

    I have nothing against traveler’s tales. I know this is not the dev’s decision. It’s the publisher, whoever that is. Don’t want to pay server costs, do ya? Well I don’t want to pay you for your game then. How’s that? No one should

  • So I bought this game today for the Vita hoping it would be open world…and turns out it isn’t open world like the consoles. what a waste of money and what TERRIBLE marketing for it. The Vita version is a DIRECT PORT of the 3DS version [yes, direct port. even the cutscenes are lackluster] I don’t know if the people at TT Games knows this or not..but the Vita CAN handle console level games. Gotta find a way to get rid of this excuse of a game.

  • I was about to go get that right now and I’m glad I didn’t!! NOT OPEN WORLD? Might as well play with real legos…

  • No demo, no buy. I don’t want to buy something & get a 3DS port on Vita.

  • Brilliant me….reading this blog AFTER I purchased the Vita game. Definitely a rip-off; I watched the trailer which doesn’t indicate any differences in versions.

    And the price: why is the PSN version the same price as a retail cartridge? I thought Vita PSN downloads would always be less expensive, say $5 for this game.

    Sony: you are doing a big disservice to your fanbase with these sorts of actions.

  • What do you have to say about all this Jeff Rubenstein!! (please reply in the most un-proffesional way possible)
    If you don’t reply then your demoted. (Bet $5 he won’t reply)

  • Would’ve picked it up for Vita day 1 if it was the same as the PS3 version. Bit disappointed that it’s not, so I’ll just wait and pick up a used PS3 copy from Gamestop when it drops in price a bit.

  • NEVER been interested in a LEGO game until I saw some open world gameplay of Lego Batman 2 with Flash running around at hyper speed. It’s a joke they couldn’t squeeze an open world on the Vita. Now I wouldnt buy the Vita version of this game if it was 95% off

  • the psp could run gta liberty and vice city, all with more cars….if anything the ps vita is 4x more powerful, this is no exception, i dont like leo games as much, but the open world thing changed my mind and i was really lookin foward to buyin it on vita, lol guess what im not buyin it, sony fire thoose developers immediately!!!!!!

  • The excuse offered by Lego as to why the psvita version is not open world is truly insulting. Not powerful enough. The vita can kick the wii’s ass umpteen different ways, but that version features open world gameplay. The vita has more memory than either the xbox 360 or the ps3.

    The platform has an uncharted game for crying out loud. Gravity Rush is a huge open world game with multiple vertical levels to it. You’ve got a bonafide first person shooter on the platform, but the vita can’t handle lego. Oh, brother. Who are these guys kidding. Just once, I’d love for a developer to admit, we screwed up, we made a mistake. At least i could give them some respect instead of being sold a song and dance routine that nobody’s buying.

  • yup, sorry jeff buuuut you owe me 5 bucks and you are now the JUNIOR social media manager……man, if only you would have replied… doesn’t it, well so does lego batman 2 for vita.

  • you know….make that $40, to make up for lego batman 2. I’m gonna get me some metal gear solid.

  • @56: That’s only first party games. These LEGO games aren’t first party or even second party. They’re third party. It’s up to third parties to set PSN prices of their games, they’re not required to put the price on PSN less than the retail price. Just as their not required to put PS Vita/PS3 games up for the buy one, get both thing.

    @61: It’s more of a “the DS can’t handle open world, and the PS Vita version is a DS port.” It’s about time they stopped pandering to the lowest common denominator of handhelds (the DS) and porting to more powerful handhelds.

    Drop the DS as the main development platform for handhelds and I think we’d have much better handheld versions. Even the 3DS should be able to handle it. If the Wii can pull of Xenoblade, I can’t imagine the 3DS being unable to do something like it. As far as I know, the 3DS is more powerful than the PSP. And if they don’t even include 3D at all, which according to Nintendo is okay, then they have that much more to work with.

  • I really hope that they don’t do this again with Lord of the Rings.

  • OK, guys, I know you’re upset, but there’s no reason to insult the other consoles for this. The problem comes from the developers, and trust me, they didn’t just drop the ball on the Vita version. The 3DS can easily handle open worlds too. Heck, even the DS could do it. Look at Chinatown Wars or Transformers, but specially watch some gameplay videos for “C.O.P.: The Recruit”. Outstanding tech for a DS game, and while the gameplay itself was lackluster, it proves open world was easily achievable.

    The problem here are clearly the developers, who look at handhelds as child consoles and as such don’t focus much on putting effort into their games. They’ll probably think “Meh, those children will play anything”, so they won’t bother in carefully re-building or porting the game, they’ll quickly smash a few lines of code together, slap a sticker on it and call it a day.

    It’s a shame, of course, because when the game gets poor sales, they’ll blame it on everything else, from piracy to used copies to lack of interest in either franchise.

  • I dont want to sound rude, but i’d like to thank all the comments on this blog post. I too was going to get Vita version but if its nothing like the PS3 version (which i see no reason why it shouldnt since as far as i know it can handle it) then my purchase will be on the Ps3 version.

    Seems really sad that they are making the Vita (at least for this game) be made out to be some type of obsolete system that cant handle when i think everyone can agree it can do it, if not better. Please for the sake of future games stop gimping them out. the Vita can be doing so much better.

  • So…. Sony which is it? Is the Vita powerful enough to handle the PS3 version of this game or not? I’d really like to know!

    I bought both the PS3 and the Vita versions, and I’m sorely dissappointed in the Vita version. If Tt can’t produce a decent handheld version, I won’t be buying any more Lego games for the Vita.

  • What an insult to EVERY Vita owner, this is a 3DS…3DS, port.
    If we wanted a 3DS game, we’d go out and buy a 3DS game and use it’s 3D feature and get this game at a 3DS price for cheaper.
    WTF is going on here, this isn’t the PSP anymore…this trend is unacceptable.

  • What drugs are these people high on??? I think they tapped into the cat piss again.

  • This game is an insult to both 3DS and Vita owners alike. You ported the DS version to both portables and upped the pricetag by $10 and called it a day. Remind me never to support you guys. This is extremely lazy and just flat out shady business. I feel sorry for anyone who got suckered into a purchase on this.

  • I just wanted to add my voice to the waves of dissapointment about how lackluster the Vita version of the game is. I was also planning to get it on the Vita, but as many others I decided against it.
    I understand that the decision to go with a weaker version of the game was out of the hands of the people who actually ported it over, but the “suit” who thought it was a good idea to do so should be made to understand how many sales he did NOT get because of his “smart” idea.
    We the gamers are addicted to our games but not so much that we will continue purchassing blindly, if you keep this kind of poor quality production standard, we will take our business elsewhere.

    A dissapointed customer, that didn’t buy your product.

  • Worst vita game as for now,how come they didnt inform early that its gonna be a port to 3ds.Some pre-ordered this game hoping it will be the same as the ps3 versions but not,the suits and cutscenes dont match,the graphics are not really that beautiful and most importantly the new feature,the “open world”.

  • I don’t know if i’m supposed to believe what I’m hearing about the lego characters actually speaking in this installment of the lego video games????? What?!? I loved the grunting, non articulate, non verbal gestures of the games. i found them more funny than actual dialogue.

    Is this speaking rumor true?

  • Lego Batman 2 for Vita is a joke. To simply do a poor port of the 3ds version is unacceptable. I played it for a couple of hours and took it back. The cut scenes are pixelated and look like low quality youtube videos. Such a disappointment when you think of what the vita is capable of.

    Shame on you TT. Hopefully you wont screw up Lego Lord of the Rings too.

  • besides the whole E3 sony conference going sour with that stupid dragon book thing … I’ve never seen so much hate towards a game before … and to be honest i don’t blame you all

    i was going to wait till the game got cheaper and then buy it … but now i know it’s 3DS version .. it’s like ..ummmmmmmmmm

    this console can handle ps3 quality games….wtf is this crap

    you port a 3ds game to the vita?

    this is rather disgusting

    P.S. – people stop posting about the call of duty game for the vita on EVERY fricking blog thread ….PLEASEEE STOP !

  • Dumb empty wallet.

  • I am crazy in love with lego games, and I was specifically waiting for Lego Batman 2, having enjoyed the first so mucha dn Batman being my favorite (super)hero. The moment I learnt it was a DS port with bad bad graphic for the Vita, let alone not being open-world – made me think exaclty like this:
    “Hey I have a 3DS, so if it’s a DS port, I’d rather get it for the 3DS so I can avoid the ultra strecthed graphics. Know what… I’m in no hurry, I’ll also wait for a good discount.”
    There, that’s how you lose customers.

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