The ad where I first learned about LEGO Racers CC.
Back in 2019, I set myself to a special goal to find the developer behind the unreleased LEGO Racers CC (or Create + Control in full), and after several searches, I found the answer was Bizarre Creations.
Shortly after I spoke to Christopher Entwistle (The Producer), Chris Speed (The Lead Artist), and Jeff Lewis (The Lead Designer). They all gave different prospectives on how far it got and what it was focused on, so I've divided their messages up into separate sections.
Jeff Lewis - Lead Designer
To start with I asked Jeff about the development history of the project, which lead to him revealing all sorts of details regarding various design changes and the intriguing fact it was originally designed to allow you to order a set of your in-game car.
Lego initially came to Bizarre Creations with a very ambitious pitch . The game was to be a fairly standard racing game, but with a vehicle builder included in it. You’d be able to build a car and race it in game, but then also be able to order your design as a real toy and have it sent to you in the mail with instructions, box art and everything a shop-bought Lego kit would have. That would be much more doable now, but 15 years ago it was just too ambitious and that idea got shelved fairly quickly.
By that time the game was already in development. It still had the vehicle builder in it but, tbh , without the toy idea to support it, the game never really found its own identity.
Lego had their Racers CC Drome brand going at the time and the game was initially mean to be part of that, so the vehicles had action features like buzz-saws and rams on their noses and more of an action racer feel.
This didn’t last all that long tho, and we were then asked to make things more realistic. I think they wanted to try and take some market share from games like Need for Speed and Gran Turismo so the cars all became very shiny and sleek and the game more about tuning and handling. I remember actively being told to make the vehicles look less Lego-like, which seems very odd to me at the time!
Eventually things swung back the other way and the game became less of a racing game and more of a karting game, with weapons and power ups, but by that point we were pretty much out of time.
When I asked him about how far it got into development it got, he stated it was only a month away from completion.
It was very nearly finished. Maybe only a month away from being mastered.
When asked directly about the gameplay Jeff described it as having a "standard championship game structure."
The game had a standard championship game structure, with cups for winning etc.
Between races, you could customise your vehicle’s length, width, wheel size & suspension in the builder, all of which affected handling. You could also make cosmetic changes and attach weapons. The game would generate AI vehicles before each race that were fairly similar to the vehicle you had built.
Tracks were fairly standard karting tracks; with shortcuts, hidden routes, that sort of thing.
The way he remembered the plot was that it had a focus on the "Racers CC Drome brand", presumably the way he remembered the Drome Racers theme.
It was initially supposed to feature the characters and story from the Racers CC Drome brand. We were encouraged to design our own characters as well, and make them more realistic than in the little comics and the 4dmovie they had already used them for. I don’t think this got past the ideas phase tho. We never actually built any characters.
He also remembered several tracks that were in the game, including jungle temple and airport ones.
The tracks were pretty generic themes. There was a jungle temple one, a city one, a snow one and an airport one that I can remember. I think they were originally connected to the Drome themes but Lego didn’t give us any more of a steer than that and gave us creative freedom.
Art by Gary Hall for Max Axel and Exceta
Christopher Entwistle - Producer
To start with I asked him what he could remember about the gameplay, which lead to him remembering the car build and that it had an elemental focus at one point.
Well, the most important thing was that you built your own car out of LEGO pieces. The chassis/engine would be built out of more common shapes, while the exterior was more angular/curved. We didn't 'cover' the car though - it looked like a LEGO car, not a facsimile of a real car.
I believed towards the end we were playing with an elemental concept - fire, lightning, earth, etc... Each track had features on it that you could take advantage of if you'd built your car correctly.
We had some problems with min-maxing. Players could build outrageous cars that did 3 things VERY WELL, and that was often enough to win the race. Balance was hard due to the customization effort.
Also: I remember it being a PS2 game primarily.
When I asked him about how far it got, he specifically remembered that it only got the prototype stage...
We had a somehow polished prototype if I remember correctly. We had a working track (in a volcano I think) and you could build your car, though it was pretty rough and ready. I don't think we used the handling model from PGR because we wanted this game to be less realistic and more 'arcade' than we had in the PGR games.
He also did not remember any characters from while he was working on the project.
No, at that stage in development it was primarily a racer. No real story or characters - though they might have had that planed.
Art by Gary Hall of Sever and Katsu
Chris Speed - Lead Artist
While he couldn't remember much, he did remember that it was cancelled due to LEGO's budget being tighter. Perhaps, this was due to LEGO nearly going bankrupt at the same time.
It got canned because of a huge hole in LEGO finances
Art by Gary Hall of Ransak and Tag
Link to the LEGO Interactive Producer's MobyGames Profile Where "Create + Control" is Used:
Mat Hart Biography - MobyGames