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Graham Goring

Being script writer of LEGO City Undercover

Graham Goring

Hullo, Graham here again and this time I'm gonna' tell you a bit more about what it's like being the script writer of LEGO City Undercover. But rather than tell you in general like last time, I'll take you through one of our exciting days at the recording studio in LONDON*...

5.10am - Alarm goes off. Ugh. I hit the snooze button.

5.19am - I get up, notice that it's still dark outside and reconsider my choice of career.

5.40am - I arrive at Mauldeth Road station just in time to notice they've cancelled my train to Manchester Piccadilly. I panic and then call a taxi.

6.00am - Flustered, I arrive at Manchester Piccadilly. I get on the train. I get off the train. I get on the right train.

6.10am-8.10am - I spend the journey to London preparing for the day ahead, re-reading the script and making notes.

Or, if it *isn't* my boss reading this...

6.10am-8.10am - I watch 2.7 episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine on my laptop and eat a chicken and bacon sandwich.

8.30am - I get to the recording studio in London's trendy Fitzrovia. Doug - who videos some of the actors in order to do the lip-syncing** for them - is already there because he has to set up cameras and whatnot. Then I ask if we're seeing any new actors during this session. I Google them to see if they've been in Doctor Who. In case you're wondering, at least 2 have.

8.40am - Loz Doyle, LEGO game producer extraordinaire arrives. I just put this in to make it clear that he always arrives after me, despite him only living an hour away.

8.45am - I drink a cup of tea. I will repeat this at least eight more times throughout the day.

9.00am-1.00pm - The actors and actresses arrive in turn for sessions of 1 to 4 hours each.

We start by chinwagging about what play or TV show they're doing at the moment and then get on with the recording.

The actors read out their lines, one or two at a time. These might be new lines, or they might be lines we've recorded before but which have changed due to the gameplay changing or because I got something wrong the first time. I'll let you guess which of those two options happens most often.

If they nailed it in one take we move on, but the director (usually Mark but sometimes Damian) may ask the actor to try it in a different way. If I have a very specific delivery I'm after (due to it being a set-up or punch line to a joke or just because I'm a control-freak that way) then I'll ask for them to stress a particular word in the sentence or say it with a specific emotion. Occasionally, when my communication skills fail me, I'll give them a line-reading and feel guilty about it because actors really don't like it when you do that.

After between one and three*** takes and some discussion we all agree that the line is bang-on and move on to the next one. Either that or we agree that I've written a right turkey of a line and I rewrite it there and then.

Eventually, the actor either finishes their session or moves on to record the lines for another character. Some actors only play a single character (such as the actor who plays Chase McCain), however a few of them play quite a few, just like in cartoons.

1.00pm-2.00pm - Lunch. I eat a Schnitzel wrap and it is delicious. I check my email and answer any urgent messages. Then, if there's time, I check my work email and answer any urgent messages.

2.00pm-6.00pm - We see more actors and actresses and record more lines. It's very much like the morning session except now I've got so much tea inside me that I have to keep diving out to the toilet.

6.00pm - End of the day!

If we have a recording session the next day, then I'll find a moderately priced restaurant and eat a steak, check in to my hotel and wonder why they felt the need to put eight assorted pillow and cushions on my bed.
If we don't have a recording session then I'll get a train home, arriving at between 10pm and 11pm depending on how badly I planned my trip and how many connections I managed to miss.

8.30am - I get up at a sensible time and remember why I love my job.

* This is where you should "coo" appreciatively.
** That's where we match the animation of the mouths to the dialogue so it looks like they're really talking.
*** Or *very* occasionally, twelve.

 

Nick Ricks

Almost done on LEGO® The Lord of the Rings™

Nick Ricks

Hello again

Well we’re almost done on LEGO® The Lord of the Rings™! We’re so close to the finished game now, just the last few tweaks to make.

We’re all massively pleased how the game has turned out. When we look back to the start of the game, and remember what we wanted to achieve, we’re blown away by how much we’ve crammed in! Bet you’re as excited as me now!

Recently we’ve been getting the game running on all of the different consoles, so all of you out there can re-live this epic story in LEGO form. Each console is different, and so needs a slightly different approach to make sure it plays, looks and sounds as great as we all want it to be. That means a lot of hard work (and even more take-away pizza) by a bunch of very dedicated and creative people.

On top of this our QA team have been playing through the game time and time again (tough job eh!?) in all different languages and settings, to make sure any glitches are fixed before we make the final version.

Well you guys won’t have to be patient much longer, and I’ve got a Balrog to fight!

Signing off... for now.

Graham Goring

LEGO City Undercover very close to being finished

Graham Goring

Hey there! I'm Graham, and I'm the writer for LEGO City Undercover, which - as I type - is getting very close to being finished. As a result, everyone on the team is as busy as a bee* making the game as super spiffy shiny-trousers as possible.

Even though all the writing is done on the game, that doesn't mean I get to put my feet up. Although I frequently do, which is when my boss yells at me and points at the list of things I've still gotta' do. One of them is simply getting the dialogue we recorded into the game, in the right place (although Ben - Hi Ben! - does a lot of this, too). That also includes putting all the foreign dialogue into the game in the right place, too. So, if - when you're playing the game - one of the characters is speaking Spanish, then you know who to blame. Or thank, if you're playing it in Spain.

Additionally I have to set up a bunch of the little mini cut-scenes you see in the game (not the all-singing, all-dancing ones you see at the start and end of levels and during important story sections, they're done by a team of incredibly talented animators over in Knutsford). My task involves setting up cameras and trying to point them in the right direction, so you're not looking at someone's elbow when they're talking (unless they're talking about a tennis injury) - it's quite fiddly, sometimes taking many hours to get right, but the end result is worth it.

My last job is the simplest, and that's just knowing everything about the plot of the game. It's so that if someone says to me "Why is that character called Rudolph Pianola?" or "Why can that cow talk?" I can instantly retrieve the answer of "I think I had a fever that day.".

Until next time!

* An especially busy bee. Or a lazy one who's left filing his taxes until the last minute.

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