Back in 2015 I was approached by the Official PlayStation Magazine asking if I could help with a feature they were planning. They wanted to know if I could direct them to someone who could create a range of custom minifigures based on some of gaming’s biggest icons. Without a moment of hesitation Minifigs.me came to mind, and after passing the idea by Nick I passed on the details to OPM and that was the last I heard. Then around this time last year, the brand new issue of Official PlayStation Magazine hit newsstands, and within its glossy pages sat a feature titled ‘Toy Story’ an 8-page feature which included over 20 custom created minifigures characters from some of the biggest games to appear on PlayStation platforms over the pass 20 years.
But just how did the UK best selling gaming magazine and the customising wizards at Minifigs.me blend digital heroes with the humble minifigure? In this BricksFans exclusive interview we sat down with fellow LEGO fan and Editor of Official PlayStation Magazine, Matthew Pellet and Steph Anderson, one of the designers from Minifigs.me, who was tasked with taking pixels and turning them into physical minifigures.
Steph Anderson, Minifigs.me designer
Q. How did you approach the design aspects of creating each character?
Generally I did some research via google and YouTube, I looked at image reference and walkthrough video’s of the games to get different perspectives of the characters. There are a few of us on the team so we took it in turns to pick characters to design. I did more of them as I have more experience with this area of the business and was able to create the designs faster.
Q. What process do you have to go through to create a custom minifigure, is it a long route from design to final product?
We always start with looking at visual reference, we pick out the key aspects of character to make up the design and then start work. The design time is normally the lengthiest part of the process. Next the characters move to printing, and once the print is complete we can see how the design has worked on the minifig. Not everything prints the way we think it will do. If we need to, we go back to the design and tweak any parts necessary. Once the design stage is complete we can work on which accessories work best for the specified character.
Q. Were any of the characters trickier to achieve than others?
Definitely! Pyramid head’s head was tricky! Cloud’s hair was really hard! Crash Bandicoot’s head was hard to find! Ico was harder to find reference for! Galahad’s outfit was pretty complex and Abe had a lot of shading and texture to him (even though his outfit is mainly a loincloth!). For all of the characters it was specified which game version was required, which made things a lot easier. Otherwise we would have used the most prolific version or most current!
Q. Do you have a favourite of the minifigures created and are their any other gaming icons you’d like to create in minifigure for
Kratos was exciting, Abe as well! Cloud and Abe were childhood favourites of mine! Ben was really excited about making Joel as Ellie as they’re favourites of his. In the office Ryu was super popular as well as Big Boss and Solid Snake! They’re a wonderful series, we had been hoping to produce some game characters for the website for some time, and this was the perfect opportunity to put together a collection of popular characters as recommended by an industry expert! We’ve had some wonderful feedback about the collection so we’re all really happy and proud of our efforts!
Who are Minifigs.me
Nick and Caroline have been running their LEGO customising business for a number of years now and it continues to go from strength to strength. Their custom creations have appeared in many unexpected places including as part of the Speed Champions launch, last years BAFTA celebrations and even aboard the ISS in space. So their creations really are out of this world. As well as providing plenty of custom minifigures they can also create your very own minifigure along with a range of custom printed tiles and bricks.
Matthew Pellet – Official PlayStation Magazine Editor
Q. How was the idea to recreate iconic PlayStation characters in minifigure form conceived?
I’ve been a huge fan of LEGO since I was about the size of a minifig myself, and I’d thought about variations of this feature as far back as the first LEGO Star Wars game – that’s before I was even in this industry! I guess we started to talk seriously about the project after Warner announced Lego Dimensions. The Portal Level Pack was just incredible, and having seen various LEGO Cuusoo/Ideas pitches fall just short of approval we wanted our own little “What If?” project.
Q. Some characters translate into LEGO a little better than others, did this influence the choices of which characters were picked?
Initially it did, but where’s the fun in asking “What if?” if you already know things are guaranteed to work perfectly? Some characters were obvious slam-dunks – Lara Croft, Nathan & Elena from Uncharted, Agent 47 from Hitman, and so on… – but I really didn’t know how the likes of Crash Bandicoot or Jak would translate. I had big question marks by those characters, but thought it’d be fun to see how Nick and the team would tackle them.
Q. The end result is pretty impressive, what do you think of the finished minifigures?
I adore them – as does everyone who’s seen them. Some came out even better than I was expecting, which was a great surprise. Though I have to admit, it now makes it even harder to accept that there aren’t official LEGO sets or games for these characters now we’ve seen them in the fle… er, in the plastic.
Q. Do you have a favourite of the custom PlayStation minifigures and are there any other gaming legends you’d like to see join the LEGO fray?
Pyramid Head’s my favourite – the head sets him apart from the rest, of course. It’s actually just how I imagined he would look, but there’s something brilliant about turning one of gaming’s most grotesque and evil characters into a cute little toy. Kratos and the pairing of Joel & Ellie (those short legs just get me every time) aren’t far behind, though. And Ryo, because… well, because Shenmue.
UK’s Best Loved Gaming Magazine
The Official PlayStation Magazine has taken many guises over the years but it’s always been the number source of PlayStation news and reviews. With the PlayStation 4 selling extremely well, there has never been a better time to be a gamer and OPM continues to be the best place for all things PlayStation as well as being the UK’s best selling gaming magazine. You can find OPM in all good retailers and various digital platforms.
Get Your Trend On
Since the feature was published and the minifigures became available from Minifigs.me they have taken the internet by storm. With some of the developers behind the games awestruck with Minifigs.me’s creations. Santa Monica Studios, who created God of War and Neil Druckmann, Creative Director at Naughty Dog, the studio who brought us The Last of Us and Uncharted have both taken to social media to express their love of their respective game’s minifigures.
Beyond the Brick
You can own many of the Minifigs.me Gaming Icon minifigures for yourself by heading over to their website. If the range continues to prove popular we may see more gaming heroes and villains added in the future. You can see the PlayStation-inspired minifigures in all their glory in the February issue of Official PlayStation Magazine in it’s digital form from both Google Play and iTunes. To subscribe to OPM visit www.myfavourite.co.uk