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Gaming: The LEGO Movie 2 video game trailer; farming sims get competitive; more

By Benjamin Bullard
LEGO Movie 2 game via official website 2019

With the next LEGO movie building toward its debut in theaters next month, previews of the accompanying video game Warner Bros. is constructing show off an experience that, like the game’s 2014 predecessor, appears to be more than the sum of its colorful parts.

The new trailer for The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame hints at gameplay that will delve even further into LEGO’s built-environment mechanics, and it gives us a nice new glimpse of Sweet Mayhem, the movie’s carryover protagonist.

Unlike a lot of games that ride the success of the movie franchises they’re based on, the previous LEGO Movie Videogame was tons of fun, serving up satisfying action, suitably quippy characters, and immersing players in a setting that looked and felt exactly like it belonged in the LEGO universe.

From what we’ve seen so far, the sequel is poised to build on that blocky foundation. With the ability to “explore new worlds from LEGO Movie 2 and revisit iconic locations from the first film,” as well as the chance to pick from an assortment of more than 100 characters from both movies (and yes, that includes LEGO Batman), the game may end up being just as much fun as the movie itself.

The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame arrives on Feb. 26 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. As for the movie, get ready to welcome Emmet and Lucy back to the big screen on Feb. 8.

Ah, the cutthroat world of farming simulation. There’s nothing like counting your chickens for fun, profit, and glory (or so we’re told), which makes the newly announced esports league based on Giants Software’s Farming Simulator series of games sound like such a great idea.

Via Variety, Giants and other partners are putting together the new competitive league thanks in part to the success of last year’s inaugural Farming Simulator Championship in Europe. The bucolic sim sensation appears to be primarily a European phenomenon, where top teams in the new league will compete in 10 tournaments throughout 2019 in order to claim more than $110,000 in prize money — a figure that’s reportedly intended to climb to more than $280,000 by year two.

Lest there’s any confusion about what’s involved in running a farming sim, it plays like it sounds. Players strap on their straw hats and get down to the virtual business of operating fun equipment like tractors, balers, and combines while raising cattle, plowing the fields, juggling scarce agricultural resources, and then bringing it all to market. Just like real farming, in other words — without all the dirt, sweat, and occasional real famine.

Finally, one of the creative heads behind the forthcoming Cyberpunk 2077 game is taking his talents to the studio behind World of Warcraft and Overwatch.

THR reports that CD Projekt RED’s Sebastian Stępień, one of the three creative heads for critical favorite Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, as well as the head writer for the studio’s hugely anticipated Cyberpunk RPG, is leaving to join the creative team at Blizzard Entertainment.

While Stępień’s new role with Blizzard hasn’t been disclosed, the move may signal the studio’s interest in upping its narrative game. The choice-driven story trees and thoughtfully designed plots in the Witcher series, and particularly the sprawling Wild Hunt, remain storytelling high points in narrative gaming.