Battle of the Blocks: Lego takes on Minecraft with Lego Worlds

Minecraft may be the biggest name in free-form construction video games, but when it comes to the real world, nothing comes close to Lego. These titans are finally going to clash with the announcement of Lego Worlds, which is essentially the Lego version of Minecraft.

Developed by longtime Lego video game maker TT Games, Lego Worlds is available right now as a beta on Steam Early Access for $15. Much like MinecraftLego Worlds drops you in a procedurally-generated landscape to explore and create in, with familiar-sounding upcoming features such as additional biomes and underground cave networks. It’s only single-player at the moment, but online multiplayer is promised as development continues.

The game does not appear to share Minecraft‘s survival elements, instead focusing on the creative possibilities, so less subsistence farming and more building giant snow men. Various creatures will be available to populate your world, along with an assortment of items and vehicles. The player will also have access to tools for easily manipulating the landscape en masse, something that requires special mods to accomplish in Minecraft.

Elements from TT Games’ other popular Lego tiles will carry over as well, such as character customization and hidden red bricks for bonuses. A select number of real-life Lego playsets will be unlockable in the game during the beta, with many more to come when it gets a full release.

Minecraft has been well-established for a while, and Lego already had a strong position in video games with TT Games’ light-hearted Lego takes on popular franchises like Marvel super heroes, so you’d think a creativity-driven Lego game would have been a no-brainer some time ago, and you would be right. Lego Universe was a short-lived Lego take on a creative MMO that lasted from 2010 to 2012. Developer Megan Fox recently tweeted about her experience working on the game, saying that one of the major factors to sink it was their inability to create cost-effective “dong detection.” (via Eurogamer)

While players could create whatever they want in their own worlds, anything they wanted to share had to be vetted so that parents could be reassured that their children would be safe from lewd content. If you give gamers construction tools, though, they will inevitably make a lot of penises. The automatic detection tools were outfoxed by clever workarounds such as multi-part sculptures that would look like a penis from one particular angle. Ultimately the cost of human moderation was simply too great to make the game viable while ensuring parents that it was safe. It’s not known whether a similar problem might bedevil a future multiplayer version of Lego Worlds.