LucasArts Hopes for Second Hit With 'Lego Star Wars II'

A young Luke Skywalker sizes up a cadre of white-clad storm troopers, then, with his trademark light saber, slashes through one storm trooper after another with the enemy crumbling ... into Lego pieces.

It's all part of LucasArts' latest video game foray into the realm of sci-fi swashbuckling with "Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy," which went on sale this week.

The game is a follow-up to the surprise hit "Lego Star Wars," which become one of the best-selling Star Wars-themed video games.

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When the original "Lego Star Wars" was released on consoles and PCs in 2005, critics and players took quickly to the transfer of the iconic characters of the "Star Wars" universe to the realm of blocky Lego figures.

"There is a lot that is appealing about 'Lego Star Wars,'" said Anita Frazier of market research firm NPD Group. "Young kids are very into 'Star Wars,' and parents of younger kids who may still be wary of video games feel a level of comfort with the Lego brand endorsement."

The first game followed the plot of the first three episodes of "Star Wars," and even contained some previously secret elements of the highly anticipated final film in it.

But the success of the title was a surprise, with the game becoming one of the most successful video games to utilize the "Star Wars" license.

To date, the game has sold almost 3 million units in the United States, according to NPD data, making it the second best-selling "Star Wars"-based video game of all time.

It was no surprise that LucasArts came out with a sequel.

The follow-up recreates the story line of the original three "Star Wars" films, episodes four through six, replacing heroes like Anakin Skywalker and Qui-Gon Jinn with stalwarts like the Luke Skywalker, as well as Han Solo, Chewbacca and other stars of the original film trilogy.

As in the first game, when a player destroys an enemy, be it by light saber or blaster, that enemy crumbles into a pile of his component Lego pieces.

The success of the first game made LucasArts aware that the surprise hit franchise was selling to more than just pre-teens, and the company said it has customized the game accordingly giving players the ability to pilot vehicles and customize characters by mixing and matching body parts.

David Perkinson, the LucasArts producer responsible for the sequel game, said the new game sizes up players and becomes more difficult as it progresses.

"The original game was meant for younger gamers, but it had hooks that appealed to everyone but some adult players thought it was too easy or too short," he told Reuters.