- Minecraft Legends is a new game that brings an action-strategy experience to the Minecraft universe.
- Minecraft Legends recontextualizes familiar mobs and tools and gives you new ways to use them.
- We spoke to two Producers on the game to learn more ahead of launch on April 18
At first glance, Minecraft Legends may seem like a bold pivot in a new direction, but rest assured that this new strategy title still includes all of the familiar elements of the epochal survival title – you just might not notice right away. You can expect to see all of your favourite resources, mobs and tools, but in a brand-new strategy game setting – and even in a 4v4, PvP mode, which was introduced in today’s Developer_Direct showcase.
So what is Minecraft Legends? The new title, developed by Mojang Studios with partner Blackbird Interactive, offers a brand-new story campaign, and a fresh new PvP mode. Take on the campaign alone or with friends, or hop into a 4v4 match to take down the enemy team by destroying their base, while building your own. It sounds very different to the original Minecraft, but – if you’ll forgive the pun – it’s built out of many of the same blocks.
Of course, key to Minecraft is its procedurally generated maps, which offer up a unique experience every time you jump into a new game. Minecraft Legends is no different, generating new maps to conquer for each new battle. Traditionally, everyone is on the same side in a classic Minecraft server (or, at least, they should be), but in Minecraft Legends, the twist is that the map’s resources are competitive, and its terrain is key to how you progress — both must be used to triumph against the enemy team.
Speaking to Xbox Wire, Minecraft Legends Executive Producer Dennis Ries and Blackbird Interactive Producer Lee Pederson explain how Minecraft Legends uses randomly generated maps in both its campaign and multiplayer modes to shake up the traditional PvP experience:
“It’s not like your traditional multiplayer situation where you have a set few maps. Every time you go to play PvP, the strategy that you want to use to win could be different than it was the game before,” Ries says. “When we had the added this procedurally generated dynamic with the variety, it really started to feel like Minecraft. The chaotic fun really shone through and we wanted to embrace that chaos.”
When each multiplayer map is generated, resources that you can use in battle will appear in random areas, and some are more unique and useful than others. You’ll have to decide which strategy is best to take on the enemy team based on where you build your base, and the resources around it.
“Every game is a new scene, and there’s different environmental challenges,” Pederson explains. “So when building your base, you can take advantage of being on a mountaintop for example, or build a tower behind one to hide it. You’re going to have to really tune your strategy based on what the world is generating for you.”
Ries adds that this could be a Redstone strategy, a Diamond strategy , or an Iron strategy – each resource offers different units and upgrades to build, and which you happen to have can fundamentally alter how you gain an advantage over an enemy. You’ll need to change up how you proceed through the game based on what you can secure to get ahead in those early game moments.
“You just don’t know what’s going to happen, so with that, you might shift your strategy and go with say, a Redstone strategy because that’s what’s closest to you,” he adds.
It’s not just the environment that can provide resources either. Minecraft Legends features many familiar mobs, from the classic Creeper to the Nether-native Piglins, who will attack anyone that passes through their territory. They all carry important items, and they can be used to plot your win in a number of ways.
Some Minecraft enemies such as Skeletons and Zombies are also here but, this time, they’re on your side, and you can take advantage of their abilities too. Seasoned Minecraft players will have a sense of how all of these mobs will act (and attack), but will need to readjust to how useful they can be in this brand new context.
“Creepers are always going to explode, but now you have the ability to actually use a Creeper […] and pinpoint it to go in a certain direction,” Ries explains. “In PvP, the Piglins are an annoyance, but they’re necessary because they have items that you need to [use to] upgrade. On another hand, they can attack you, so while you’re off implementing your strategy, they can disrupt it if you’re not careful.”
While combat is at the forefront of Minecraft Legends, there’s a role for every kind of player, from planning huge sieges against the enemy or simply exploring the map. Ries adds that you may naturally gravitate towards a certain role in a team of four, and you can choose what to do based on your own personal preference, whether that’s swinging swords at enemies or hunting down a specific resource for your base.
All About That Base
As you might expect by this point, just like classic Minecraft, building things is a truly enormous part of your time spent in Minecraft Legends. Building up your base and ensuring it can withstand enemy attacks is just as important as besieging the enemy. Once you’ve built a basic structure, it’s time to get creative with ways to deter your attackers. Build additional walls that enemies must navigate through, place hidden traps, or set up mobs to keep your base safe. Be sure to lay down your upgrade tower in a good spot too, so your base can be upgraded to withstand even the heftiest assaults.
Setting up your base in Legends serves a new purpose, but it shares many of the components of classic Minecraft building. You need to collect wood, stone and other world resources to stack up walls, towers and gates block-by-block, and adventure for ores and hidden treasures that’ll help your team level up. The difference is you’ll need to craft with a little more thought into how your base functions, rather than how it looks in the sunset. Winning with a cool looking base is an obvious flex, though.
While there’s a lot of freedom in how you plan your battles (and your defences), Pederson adds that the PvP experience is designed to be approachable for new players, and you don’t need a grand strategy or a ton of experience to hop in. “Because the maps are procedurally generated, you don’t have people who have mastered a map who are then dominating newer players who are coming in,” she adds.
And this really is the crux of how Minecraft Legends can feel so akin to Minecraft, despite being part of a totally different genre. Like the original, Legends doesn’t just feature random elements – it builds its whole identity around them, rewarding players for working with what they’ve got, rather than doing the same thing every time.
Pederson puts it in very simple terms – terms that feel almost like a mantra for the game’s design as a whole: “Everyone is coming into a new experience each time.”
Minecraft Legends launches April 18 on Windows PC (day one with PC Game Pass), Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One (day one with Xbox Game Pass), Xbox Cloud Gaming, PlayStation, Steam, and Nintendo Switch.
Xbox Game Studios