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Lego Dimensions hits the (brick) wall

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The toys-to-life game Lego Dimensions launched in 2015. It uses physical objects to affect gameplay within the digital game, which is a sprawling multi-world adventure featuring characters from several different series such as J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and DC Comics’ Batman. Developer TT Games intended to add new content to it until 2018, but according to a report from Eurogamer, it is now wrapping up the project and bringing it to a close a year ahead of schedule.

GamesBeat has reached out Lego Dimensions publisher Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment for confirmation and has yet to hear back. Eurogamer reports that TT Games studio manager Dave Dootson sent a company-wide email to thank the team for its hard work, acknowledging that the project is reaching an early end.

To play Lego Dimensions, players purchase Lego figurines and place them on a USB toy pad to change which character they play in the game. This also affects which special skills they can use. Physical Lego vehicles can also be placed on the toy pad and added into the digital game, such as Batman’s iconic Batmobile and Dr. Who’s TARDIS. It’s a mash-up of a number of IP, from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings to Pendleton Ward’s Adventure Time, and because all the figurines and vehicles are built from Lego pieces, they can be customized.

It received fairly positive reviews from critics, and it outsold toys-to-life competitors Activision’s Skylanders Superchargers and Disney Interactive Studio’s Disney Infinity 3.0 on its launch week. In July 2017, more people were buying Lego Dimensions figurines than Nintendo Amiibos — though industry-tracking firm NPD noted that spending was down year-over-year.

Trouble was already on the horizon. Earlier this year, Bricks to Life, a Lego Dimensions-centric site, reported that content started disappearing from the game and an expected update was pushed from March to May. According to Bricks to Life, Lego Dimensions was not only priced at a premium — a starter pack is $60, and add-ons such as special character figurines can cost $15 to $25 — but the toys-to-life category in general was already in trouble by the time it arrived on the scene. Earlier this year, Disney Infinity shut down, and Activision announced that there would not be a new Skylanders game this year.

Though other companies are pulling out of the toys-to-life space, Nintendo alone still seems committed to its Amiibo figurines. This is despite flagging sales; from April 2016 to December 2016, it sold 6.5 million Amiibos, which is less than half that the 20.5 million sold in the same period in 2015, according to IGN. However, it shows no sign of pulling back. New Amiibos accompanied the hit shooter Splatoon 2, and more will arrive with the hugely anticipated Super Mario Odyssey later this year.

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