LEGO Sea Challenge (lost build of cancelled "LEGO Island" spin-off game; 1997)
LEGO Sea Challenge, also known as Beneath the LEGO Phanta Sea, was a planned spin-off game in the LEGO Island series. The game would have taken place in the ocean and would have possibly been based on the LEGO Aquazone or LEGO Divers themes. LEGO Sea Challenge was going to be developed and published by Mindscape.
In 1996, the LEGO Group invested $2 million into developing LEGO-themed video games. This was done in part to help expand the LEGO brand beyond LEGO sets and into other mediums of entertainment. On September 26th, 1997, the first LEGO video game titled LEGO Island was released. The game was met with great success and before the release of LEGO Island, six more games were already in the planning stages. LEGO Sea Challenge is the most notable out of the six games as there is an easter egg in LEGO Island that shows a teaser for the game. In an interview with a LEGO Island fan site, director Wes Jenkins says that "Yes the 2nd floor was an homage – hey, cool that you went there! We thought it was funny that the ocean was on the second floor…" referring to the second floor of the elevator in the game where the easter egg can be spotted. According to Scott Anderson, the Senior Producer of LEGO Island, the game was initially going to feature "submarines & divers trying to stop a Brickster-type character from upsetting 5-7 different underwater ecologies." The game was originally going to be mentioned in LEGO Island's manual as a part of a contest, but both the mention and contest were scrapped.
Also in the same interview, Wes Jenkins also talks about why LEGO Sea Challenge was cancelled, stating:
"Well… time, budget, technology, and other… but mostly because Mindscape got in a dispute with LEGO over distribution and lost their contract – political issues, mostly. They didn't realize the potential profits of the product and what LEGO was about. In fact, they couldn't quite understand why we didn't just do a simple 2D program instead of 3D. Is that libelous? No, I didn't mention any names… maybe I should just say some people from some unknown places seemed less than enthusiastic and were paranoid every step of the way."
Mindscape also fired the entire team that had worked on LEGO Island a day before the release prompting any spin-offs to be shelved. No other gameplay footage or teasers are known to exist outside of what was shown on LEGO Island.
- Next Generation magazine covering LEGO investing $2 million into video game development Retrieved 06 Jan '18
- Wes Jenkins' interview with a LEGO Island fansite Retrieved 06 Jan '18