A Lego Princess Leia sitting on top of a large pile of gold, coins, and jewels.

Screenshot: Lucasfilm / Disney / Kotaku

WB Games announced today that Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga had a massive launch, selling through over 3 million copies worldwide, and has set new records for Lego games across all platforms around the world. To put it another way: This latest Lego Star Wars game is one of the biggest releases of the year, and one of the most successful Star Wars games of the decade.

If you’re surprised by this news, you might be wondering why this family-friendly game about toys and Star Wars is suddenly one of the biggest things of 2022. Well, the reality is that this is a long time coming, as Lego Star Wars games have quietly become a cultural phenomenon over the last two decades, complete with memes, nostalgic fans, and a large community of players who have been waiting for this game for a long, long time.

The first Lego Star Wars game was released in 2005 on PS2, Xbox, GameCube, and PC. It took the three prequel Star Wars films and recreated them in Lego form, complete with a large roster of playable characters, a bunch of secrets to find, and silly cutscenes that had fun with Star Wars and its universe. Eventually it became one of the best-selling PS2 games of all time and developed a fanbase that wasn’t just contained to Lego lovers or kids. It appealed to anyone who liked silly video games, Star Wars, or if you just needed a fun, easy game to play with a younger sibling.

Over the next few years, as TT Games released a sequel, a remastered collection, and a Clone Wars follow-up, Lego Star Wars became more than just a popular game. It turned into a cultural phenomenon. Players created memes out of everything in-game, including the franchise’s hidden minikits, the character UI profile images, and even Lego Yoda’s distinctive death scream. In fact, all of the game’s death noises became memes in their own way, with players creating compilations of them online. And as social media became a thing, it was common to see folks rocking Lego Star Wars avatars on Twitter or elsewhere.

This is such a well-known part of the community that TT Games itself has been releasing official, high-quality profile images on its Twitter account since Skywalker Saga launched earlier this month.

So as the nostalgic love for Lego Star Wars grew, so too did the demand for a big new entry in the franchise. For years fans had wanted a remake of the original games using modern tech and the newer designs found in real Lego Star Wars kits. And while we did get a Force Awakens Lego game in 2016, it wasn’t quite what people wanted. It wasn’t a bad game, sure, but it was based mainly on one film with a few fun character packs from other eras of Star Wars released as DLC. Good, but not good enough.

Fans lost it in 2019, when TT Games announced Skywalker Saga, a Lego game collecting all nine Star Wars films into a giant, open-world package. For years, as the game suffered delays and the folks making it endured grueling amounts of crunch, fans speculated endlessly. You can still find these videos on YouTube. Every screenshot and teaser was combed through by thousands of players and discussed across Reddit and Discord.

Read More: Codes To Unlock Secret Characters And Ships In Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga

So when the game finally landed earlier this month—and turned out to be one of the best Star Wars games ever made—I wasn’t surprised to see the game explode across YouTube, TikTok, Reddit, and Twitch. It even cracked the top 10 most-played games on Steam, and still ranks in the top 50 as of today. Folks had been waiting years for this. Hell, some people had grown up with the franchise and spent most of their adult lives dreaming of a massive, new Lego Star Wars game containing hundreds of characters and missions across all of the films. So needless to say, when that dream game finally materialized, people were a little excited.

While its launch has been huge, I expect Skywalker Saga to continue to sell well and likely end up one of the best-selling games of 2022, and possibly the best-selling Lego game ever released. People love Lego. People love Star Wars. People love big games. Combine them together and add a bunch of silly memes and nostalgic PS2 memories and you get one of 2022’s biggest and (for some) most surprising video game success stories.

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