- Build your own street, offroad, and/or water vehicles and drive them in the open world or take them to the track and race them.
- Play Solo, With Friends, or With Everyone – supports split screen and cross-platform play.
- We talk to David Msika, Design Director from Visual Concepts, about partnering with LEGO to build the ultimate LEGO driving experience.
Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly game to enjoy with the kids or something fun to play while taking a break from slaying dragons or repelling alien invasions, LEGO 2K Drive is a charming and downright fun game to play with a surprising amount of depth. Before playing it, I thought it was going to be a kart racing game with lots of vehicles, power-ups, and tracks to choose from. Once I played it, I realized I was wrong. It’s so much more than that and has tons of content to offer. I reached out to David Msika, the Design Director from Visual Concepts, to get a deeper understanding of what went into combining an iconic brand like LEGO with a driving & racing game.
“LEGO is a highly respected worldwide brand, that fosters a culture of unbound creativity, and reaches audiences of all ages, origins, and walks of life. And it’s also a tone and a particular brand of humor that reflect inclusivity by having the power to reach kids and adults on different levels, and entertain them equally,” says Msika. “We knew right away that we wanted to make a game that could reach the widest audience possible by offering a gameplay loop that’s very accessible, but also contains a lot of depth for the more competitive players.”
Part Driver, Part Racer
After playing LEGO 2K Drive for a couple of hours I realized why the team named it Drive and not Race. The game features a few different biomes, which are essentially their own separate open world, and each time I unlocked a new region I spent much more time driving around exploring the different areas and discovering new activities than I did in the dedicated racing modes. There are lots of little details scattered around – some are collectibles, like golden trophies, while others are just funny to see, like The Cone Depot and UFOs crashed in the desert. You can fast travel between biomes and different spots on the map once you discover new garages, so you’re free to explore wherever you want to go.
“When we describe LEGO 2K Drive as the ultimate LEGO driving experience, we put a lot of emphasis on the word drive. Early on during development, we had this mantra in the team that persisted throughout the entire project: we’re not making a racing game, we’re making a driving game,” explains Msika. “Every aspect of the game was going to follow that, and that means that the driving model, the environment, and the activities, would all be geared towards allowing the vehicle to be a fast-moving character that can do much more than crossing a finish line: it can walk, dash, sprint, turn around quickly, use weapons, and scale the environment. Of course, the racing experience is very fast and visceral, but the vehicles are inherently built to explore and compete at great speed!”
Start Your Engines
One of the neatest features about driving and racing in LEGO 2K Drive are the vehicles. You have three types of vehicles – Street, Off-Road, and Water, and they automatically switch (quite rapidly) depending on the terrain you are currently driving on. You can change vehicles to shift manually in the settings, which is handy if you don’t want your Street vehicle to shift to Off-Road every time you run off the road a bit. You can use the default vehicles, choose ones that you’ve unlocked, or even build your own. One key element racing games like LEGO 2K Drive have to absolutely perfect is drifting, and the drifting mechanics in this game are slick.
Drifting is a feature the developers spent a lot of focus on perfecting. “There were those breakthrough moments where, after working on something for a long time, it finally FEELS right,” explained Msika. “Drifting comes immediately to mind, and I remember distinctly the chill that went through me when I tried the version that is currently in the game and thinking “we got it!”. This was the thousandth iteration of the system, when you start to feel that you may not quite get there, and then, there’s that incredible “what if…” epiphany that unlocked everything.”
You can drift whether you’re driving around the open world or racing on one of the tracks, and in one instance during a race, I pulled off the perfect drift around a hairpin turn, did the old slide job on the leader on the final lap, and went on to get the win. It felt awesome and left me wanting more!
The Garage – Build Your Own Vehicle Brick by Brick
The Garage is…amazing. Like every LEGO fan’s dream – a seemingly bottomless bucket of LEGO neatly sorted with dozens of pieces in all sorts of colors. The Garage could very well be a standalone LEGO building game. It’s fun and extremely simple to use, with special tools to make the process even easier. Obviously since you are building vehicles to drive and race, there are limitations. The Garage floor will keep your construction project within the size limitations, and there is also a maximum piece count you must adhere to. Other than that, though, you can design whatever contraptions you want, and then test-drive them on a closed course. I had to ask Msika about The Garage because it is such a delightful part of the game.
“The Garage is a huge point of pride for the team, because it taps into the fantasy of building with LEGOs, but without having inventory restriction, and with the addition of tools that do not exist in real life, like the ability to mirror one side of a vehicle or change colors on the fly,” describes Msika. “We offer it as a way to not only be true to the LEGO brand by offering a mode that emulates most closely the experience of playing with the physical plastic toy, but also as a way to complement someone’s playtime by allowing them to creatively come up with solutions to make the game easier.”
It’s important to note you don’t have to use The Garage or build any custom vehicles. You can skip that part if you choose, but you’d be missing out. There are plenty of tutorials to teach you the basics of building vehicles and you can refer to them even after you’ve completed them.
Solo and Group Activities
There’s a lot to see and do in LEGO 2K Drive. Not only are there core activities like single races, cup series races for a championship, and story mode, there’s also a bunch of mini-games. Even in the story mode there are a variety of activities scattered around each biome in addition to the main campaign. Plus, story mode can be played solo or entirely in local split screen with friends and family members.
“We wanted to give players as much of a fun, comprehensive, and varied experience as possible, so we came up with a whole lot of different activities for players to engage in,” says Msika. “We have close to two dozen incredibly fun races across the world of Bricklandia that all have a specific theme, as well as minigames where you have to either rescue townsfolks from hordes of monsters or defend generators from being destroyed by waves of robots. In the open world, there are dozens of On-The-Go events that are bite-size activities that will challenge players on specific skills, like jumping, boosting, drifting, etc.”
LEGO 2K Drive supports solo and split screen, but also has several options for connecting with your friends or everyone else online, including cross-platform coop and multiplayer (which can be disabled in the settings).
“The World Challenges can be crazy races across the open world, where roads are only a suggestion, or they can be a very fast paced scavenger hunt, where players compete to collect the most items,” says Msika. “Finally, players can also participate in one of our Cup Series, where you play 4 races back-to-back, scoring points based on your position at the end of each race.”
Play With Friends allows an online party of up to 6 players from your friends list to play either in the shared world, a multiplayer version of the single player open world, or do single events like races or cup series championships. In Play With Everyone, you and up to two friends can matchmake with players around the world to participate in races and cup series.
Although we don’t always get to see everything it takes to build and ship a video game, I’ve always been fascinated with the process and the behind-the-scenes moments we seldom get to hear about. I asked Msika about a memorable experience from developing LEGO 2K Drive and smiled real big with the response.
“Something I’ll always remember is that the designers had created a secret race mission. Every time we’d come up with a new hazard or trap for the game, we’d put it, in excess, in that secret mission,” says Msika. “And then they added some more that were just plain crazy, like huge laser walls with only a hole the size of a small car to get through. For a while, at the end of every playtest, we’d launch into that secret mission, and have a blast for 10 minutes. There are only two laps on that race, and it’s probably less than a mile to drive for each lap, but it takes about 10 minutes to finish it because of all the crazy stuff the designers put in there!”
LEGO 2K Drive is out now and available on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S. You can see the various editions below and be sure to follow @LEGO_2K_HUB and check out their official website for all the latest news and updates.
LEGO® 2K Drive Cross-Gen Standard Edition
LEGO® 2K Drive for Xbox One
LEGO® 2K Drive Awesome Edition
LEGO® 2K Drive Awesome Rivals Edition