Lego Overwatch hasn’t had the greatest time of things. I always felt the two brands were a bit of a weird fit – but it was never exactly successful despite having some cool sets. After two ‘waves’ of Overwatch building kits, Lego seemingly canned the majority of a third wave of Overwatch sets thanks to the tepid response. A couple of sets survived, with one planned to release next month - but that’s now been shelved thanks to the ongoing disaster that is the public-facing image and internal operations of Activision Blizzard. Disgraced executives refusing to resign may very well have hammered the final nail into the Lego Overwatch theme.
If you love video games and have an interest in Lego, however, all is not lost. In fact, 2022 might be the best ever year for Lego and video games. We’ve got a new Lego Star Wars game coming, yes - but I’m talking about the physical toys.
I realize the overlap of people who religiously follow both video game news and Lego news probably isn’t that large, so let me just catch you up on a development from last year: a dedicated ‘Lego Gaming’ line of sets might be on the way. Rather than being a series of Lego builds based on a specific franchise, as with Overwatch and Super Mario, these would be a series of disconnected sets from a wide range of franchises all released under one generic banner - which is exciting.
This news leaked last summer via a Polish retailer. In video games we tend to be pretty wary of retailer listings, but Lego isn’t nearly as secretive as video game companies and new sets and lines leak through retailer listings as a regular occurrence. As reported by Lego site Brick Fanatics at the time, the leak suggested the Lego Gaming series would initially consist of 11 sets. That's quite significant. However, at least two of these were meant to be Overwatch hangovers from the canceled Lego Overwatch Series 3, and in all likelihood those will now never release. That gives us nine sets to play with.
At least one appears to have leaked in a separate listing, right towards the end of last year: A Lego Horizon: Zero Dawn Tallneck.
That leak was particularly detailed, giving even more information. The set number is 76989, it’ll cost €80, and it’s targeted at adults, falling into Lego’s 18+ line. This suggests that it’ll be a large-scale set in Lego’s for-adults black-box branding, and be more like a detailed statue than a toy. That’d place it into the same category as the recent Mario 64 Question Mark Block and Lego NES sets.
What’s exciting about the leak of the Lego Gaming line and a Horizon Tallneck set is the image it depicts. Lego has worked with Nintendo closely on Lego Mario – but here they are working with Sony, and on a franchise that isn’t exactly as kid-friendly or with as much mass appeal as Star Wars, Marvel, or Mario (all of which are now Lego staples). The Horizon set being targeted at adults is interesting, too; it means that we could see some left-field gaming franchises represented in the Lego Gaming line. We should see a wide range of publishers represented. And we could see some grow into fully-fledged lines if they’re successful, just as Lego Minecraft did years ago.
Certainly, fans have made clear over the years that there’s a heavy interest in gaming-themed Lego releases. Franchises like Zelda, Animal Crossing, Among Us, and Metroid have garnered hundreds of thousands of votes through the interest-gauging service Lego Ideas. Ideas has also led to multiple gaming sets including Lego Minecraft, as mentioned, and the newly-released Lego Sonic the Hedgehog – a beautiful fan-designed set that tellingly features joints at either side so it could be clipped together into longer, more detailed level layouts. That is hopefully indicative of the Lego Group’s intentions to release more Sonic sets.
The Lego Group has made the right decision in delaying the Overwatch 2 sets. Knowing Lego’s history, those sets are unlikely to see the light of day at all now. But despite that, it’s an exciting time to be a gamer who also happens to be a fan of Lego. Now only one question remains: what games would you like to see get a Lego set? Sound off in the comments below.