I recently attended a virtual press event for Funko Fusion, the upcoming console and PC game that brings together 20 famous franchises for a universe-hopping toybox romp.


After watching some live gameplay and hearing from the developers, I looked down at my notepad to find that I'd grouped a few of my thoughts under one heading: "Funko Fusion isn’t what you think it is."

You might assume that the debut release from 10:10 Games, a new studio that counts a number of Traveller's Tales alumni among its founders, would be exactly like the LEGO games they used to make.

You might think, for starters, that the game was aimed at young kids. But in reality, it has a 'teen' age rating. Horror films like M3GAN are among the brands being brought to life, in big-headed Funko form, in the game.

You might think it would have simple graphics. Instead, from what I saw, the game uses Unreal Engine 5 to great effect to produce some visually impressive worlds that won't look out of place on a next-gen console like a PS5.

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You might think the gameplay would be basic. Walk forward and press A to progress. Instead, I saw overlapping systems and loads of depth for players to discover, including a fun Easter egg where any of your Funko characters can turn into zombies if they get bitten in the Shaun of the Dead world.

You might think it would have the same basic set-up as a LEGO game, with two-player local co-op being the order of the day. Instead, the co-op is online and it goes up to four players.

After the event, I rambled all of the above to Arthur Parsons, head of publishing at 10:10 Games, and you can see below exactly what he said back to me. Here's the video:

"I actually think that's kind of where we're at," Parsons said, in response to my question about what people might assume about Funko Fusion, compared to what it actually is.

"You know, if you look at the box art – I love the box art – but if you look at it, you could initially think, 'Is this a kids' game?' Is it sort of going to be for everyone or, like you say, PEGI 3 or whatever?

"And it's like, we made a real conscious decision with what we're doing because we're wanting to make sure we've got all this wealth and variety of IP [intellectual property] in there. We wanted to be faithful to those IP.

"So something like Hot Fuzz, for example. You know, Leslie Tiller, the florist, she does get murdered. Someone stabbed her through the neck with shears, right? You know, Tim Messenger does get a big piece of masonry on his head.

"We've got to include that stuff. But obviously in a tasteful way. So we're working with that kind of thing."

A Funko Pop recreation of Shaun of the Dead, showing Nick Frost and Simon Pegg's characters (in toy form) pretending to be zombies as they walk down the street.
There's also a Shaun of the Dead world in the game! 10:10 Games

Parsons continued: "John Carpenter's The Thing is the same. That movie has some pretty graphic scenes, and it's like, 'Right, how can we do those and stay authentic, but also not make a game that feels really disparate?'

"So we did a lot of work early doors with, like, 'How do we get the right tone for the game? How do we ensure that it's mature but not too mature?' But then that sits alongside something like a Masters of the Universe or a Voltron, you know, so there's a nice boundary line.

"And that's where we settled, on Teen, and that's why a lot of the gore is done in a way that's more comedic. So that it's tasteful. So a lot of stuff is vinyl, in terms of the plastic sort of nature, and the splats are very... like, they look like they could be a physical piece of plastic that you pick up and put down.

"And I think, yeah, that's the perception, that we've got to make people understand by showing them the game, by letting them see more gameplay. You know, when we released some gameplay last month, that was so that people could see, 'Oh, right. OK. I get it. It's a game that's actually got depth. They've actually thought through the characters. They're not just skins. They are all kind of unique.'"

Moving on to talk about the similarities and differences between Funko Fusion and the LEGO games, Parsons added: "To be fair, a lot of us have worked on the LEGO games previously, when we were at the other studio. We had to make sure we also moved forward.

"So there's always going to be some DNA in there. I've always worked on licensed products in my career, and that teaches you to get the most out of the IP, and to really do your research, and really hone into 'What would a fan of that IP want?' So our DNA is rooted [in the LEGO games] but we have to make sure the game's different.

"So there's a load of stuff in the game that suits different play styles. If you're someone that's 'run and gun' and you just want to barrel roll through stuff, it'll work for you. But at the same time, if you're someone that is a bit more thoughtful and a little bit more planned in your approach, it works that way, you know?

"And then with all the different mechanics and gadgets, there's actually different ways to play the game. So I could run around as my favourite character using the weapons you can unlock and the mechanics and play just with my favourite characters. Or I can do the character swapping."

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He-Man from Funko Fusion holding an electrified sword
By the power of Grayskull! He-Man is also in Funko Fusion. 10:10 Games

Parsons added: "So we've tried to accommodate multiple play styles and then add that hidden depth for, I guess, more mature gamers.

"Because they're gonna want the hidden stuff to find, or some sort of reward for extra hours they put in, the extra grind they put in.

"So I think, yeah, we know that there will be people that will play this that probably played LEGO games when they were younger. I think 2005 was the first one that we made.

"So, say they were six years old [at the time] – [they'll be] mid-twenties upwards now, so they're going to want a different type of game, which is great because I think that's what we're delivering."

Closing up this topic, Parsons said: "But I think the perception could be, 'Where does this game land?' And I think that's why we're trying to do so much work to show the game. You know, we're proud of what we made. We'll show gameplay. We're not going to just do CG trailers. Everything is from the game.

"And I think your point there again, in terms of, they could have maybe made something that wasn't as detailed. We're pushing UE5, you know? We're pushing UE5 hard.

"We're using all the technology that Unreal Engine gives us, whether it's Lumen for the lighting or Nanite for the way that stuff's constructed. We really are pushing the engine hard, and I think people will see that when they play it and go, 'Actually, this is really complex.' You know, when you lift the lid and look under the bonnet, 'These guys know their stuff and they've worked hard.'

"And yeah, for me, I'm always happy to talk candidly about what we make, and I think people will be pleasantly surprised that there's a lot of depth, there's a lot of complexity to the game, and also a lot of fun, you know?

"At the end of the day, games have got to be fun, in my mind, and so we've tried to make the most fun game we can. And we'll see. We'll see what players think about it."

Funko Fusion launches 13th September for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X/S and Nintendo Switch. You can order your copy from retailers including Amazon.


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