Lego Dimensions – Wave 5 and the Future of Toys-to-Life


Lego Dimensions has released its final wave of initially announced characters, and with the other news in the Toys-to-Life genre over the past week or so, it finds itself in an interesting position. Let’s run down the final instalment of this first “Season” and see where it could potentially go in the future…


Wave 5 has landed, and it wraps up with, honestly, 3 of the more “completionist” figures from the set. Slimer, Bane and Lloyd are in their own right pretty cool characters, but they’re also ones that won’t add a whole lot more to those collections that are based solely around abilities. Bane gets big, Lloyd slashes stuff up with two swords, and Slimer, erm, slimes. The minifigs are kinda fun with some unique attributes. Slimer is a clear green representation of everyone’s favourite spectre, Bane’s headpiece art is really nice, with a clever little build for the Venom tank on his back, and whilst Lloyd’s minifig is similar to the rest of the Ninjago lot, his dragon “vehicle” build is fantastic, and I thoroughly enjoyed creating it. The other vehicles are fairly standard fare, with a couple of new unique prints on Slimer’s weapon, but on the whole both his and Bane’s vehicles feel a little shoehorned in.

In game, as mentioned, they don’t really have a great deal of new stuff to add. If you’re still looking for a character to “get big”, Bane is a cracking addition, although he won’t open up a new area (the DC universe is open from the start thanks to Batman). The Drill vehicle digs and bashes things in quite a cool way, and slimer’s weapon definitely does the job against enemies, but unless you’re particularly invested in the franchises, they all feel a little superfluous. It’s a little bit of a whimper to go out on, despite the figures being very cool, and part of me thinks that Wave 4’s Midway Arcade pack would have been the perfect send-off to extend the life of the game until the inevitable new characters drop, with its massive range of arcade classics to pick up and play.


Which brings me to the future of the game, and indeed the Toys-to-Life market as a whole. The sad news that Disney is pulling the plug on not only Infinity, but also their publishing arm as a whole came as a shock last week, as the public perception was that the game was doing quite well, with the figurines lining the shelves of specialist retailers and supermarkets alike. With one of the key players in the Toys-to-Life market bowing out in quite an unexpected way, what does this mean for the other franchises?

Well, with Disney essentially moving to a licensing model, the obvious move would be to have some of the more successful Lego franchises bleeding into Dimensions. Let’s face it, if Star Wars or Marvel figures found their way into Dimensions, it would pretty much print money, especially if they could wangle some exclusive deals. Warner already have the license in place for the other Lego games, and surely it’s a matter of sitting round a table and putting some numbers together? I can but hope that someone with some power realises this, because I know most people with any passion for Lego and the above franchises would absolutely love to see the brands collide for the next stage in Dimensions.

Whilst it’s a shame that Infinity has bitten the dust, and it’s never nice to see people lose their jobs, it’s an indication of where the market went since the release of Dimensions. Indications are that, whilst Dimensions has done very well, the sector of the market didn’t really grow much at all, meaning that essentially the same number of people are playing Toys-to-Life games, just that they’ve moved around and something, seemingly, had to give. It’s a shame that that’s Infinity, but ultimately the lack of inter-operability of each series outside of the Toybox mode I think is probably what started to turn people away from it. With Dimensions, you can use everything with everything else, at any point in the game, and there’s a huge amount of work that’s been done to ensure that the characters interact in-game in all the right ways. It’s a hugely impressive game that I honestly didn’t see going quite this far when it launched back in September.

I’m excited to see what’s next for Lego Dimensions, but also apprehensive about where the market is going to go. I’ve not really talked about Amiibo or Skylanders in this piece as I don’t really have a huge deal of experience with either, but by all accounts Nintendo are making plenty of money from their experiment, and Activision keep raking it in with their constant re-imaginings of things. The “constantly expanding” Dimensions promise certainly seems to be a good platform, and hopefully any future products will work with any existing ones, as to not fragment the experience and/or annoy current users, but I guess we’ll have to see where things go.

But seriously, Warner, get on the phone to Disney. Lego Iron Man teaming up with Peter Venkmann to take on GlaDOS and Darth Vader? I’m telling you. It’ll print money.

Editor-In-Chief - NGB. Started writing for NGB in 2013, 3 years later I was running the show. I love what we do here, if you want to get involved, get in touch! PSN/Xbox LIVE/Steam - Winstano


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