New kid on the blocks: Lego Worlds game challenges Minecraft

Danish plastic-block giant fancies its luck in 3D virtual arena

Lego has created a block-by-block world-building computer game to take on the Microsoft-owned Minecraft series.

Lego Worlds is now available via Steam for Windows PCs, and allows players to use virtual plastic bricks to construct and alter landscapes, buildings, forests, mountains, and yeah, you get the gist.

"In a galaxy of procedural worlds made entirely from Lego bricks, will you explore environments filled with adventure, then alter them? Discover secrets and treasures, then play with them? Create your own models, then make a world your own?" Lego asks gamers on Steam.

Lego stops short of asking players if they dream of creating penis-shaped structures. Apparently, that was a major problem for Lego Universe, which was an earlier attempt to create a world-building game using Lego bricks.

"We were asked to make dong detection software for Lego Universe," ex-Lego programmer Megan Fox said on Twitter before the weekend.

"We found it to be utterly impossible at any scale. Players would hide the dongs where the filtering couldn't see, or make them only visible from one angle. The moderation costs of Lego Universe were a big issue in general."

Worries over naughty erections have never bothered Minecraft, it seems.

All that aside, youngsters will be torn: they love Lego, but they also love the wildly popular Minecraft. Lego Worlds is so obviously in direct competition with the latter title, the block-based game that grew and grew until Microsoft bought it in 2014 for $2.5bn.

Minecraft was the most-watched game on YouTube in the past 10 years.

Last year, the Mojang-developed title invaded Lego's turf when Denmark's government put together a scale map of the Scandinavian country using Minecraft. Building worlds out of pretend bricks is our job, the Danish biz was probably thinking.

Don't expect Minecraft's creators to sweat much over the incursion from Lego. Since the sale of the game to Redmond, Markus "Notch" Persson has cashed out and cut ties with the company he founded, citing the overwhelming fan interest in the game. ®

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