Why the Disney acquisition may not be all 'Loom' and gloom for LucasArtson March 28, 2013 at 8:00 am
Brian makes a lot of good points in The LucasArts Lament and though they may be over-impassioned at times – most likely due to his fervent adoration of many “Lucas” properties – they do come from the heart and aren’t illogical.
I’m not going to argue against him, as I mostly agree with what he is saying. Rather, I’m going to remain optimistic and imagine that maybe Disney’s acquisition of all things LucasArts isn’t going to end in colossal failure or a complete bastardization all the things it gave us in our younger years. Because, let’s be honest, it has been ages since LucasArts has given us anything of substantial merit. If it shifted into the focus of braindead social gaming and eighteen more Lego games, then it won’t even blip on my radar as it’s practically dead to me anyways.
As a gamer, LucasArts has given me two major things. The first, and most obvious, being a cornucopia of “Star Wars” related games. Cornucopia might not actually be a strong enough word. Maybe orgy? Cornuorgia? Orgucopia? Sure, an orgucopia of “Star Wars” games.
Some of these games are amazing, some are great, others are good, many are bad, but they typically had a certain amount of imagination and they served to bring you deeper into the Star Wars universe. For the longest time, we only had three “Star Wars” movies – still do, depending on who you ask – and these games helped satiate our desires for more experiences in the universe. It didn’t matter if the game was kind of clunky, it was just more “Star Wars”.
Back in the early to mid nineties, if you owned a PC, then you were loading up that DOS prompt and playing a wealth of “Star Wars” games. “Rebel Assault”, “TIE Fighter”, “Dark Forces”, “X-Wing”; these were all games that blew my young mind… and, at that stage of my life, I’d never seen a single film in the series. I was a fan of “Star Wars” without ever having seen Luke blow up the Death Star.
Then, going over friends’ houses and playing the “Super Star Wars” games on Super Nintendo; man, that was just so great for a Genesis kid. In this instance, Genesis didn’t what Nintendid… or something.
Anyways, LucasArts helped shape my view of “Star Wars” as a youngin’. To this day, I’m not a very big fan of the “Star Wars” films. Episode IV and V are the only ones I care for. However, I’ve been a massive fan of the games and the experiences they’ve given me. Everything from “Episode 1 Racer”, “Rogue Squadron”, “Jedi Knight”, “Shadows of the Empire”, and, of course, the greatest “Star Wars” game ever made, “Knights of the Old Republic”, have all been amazing and varied takes on the franchise. They showed that even while George Lucas was busy ruining people’s childhoods with his films, that LucasArts was busy trying to keep the peace and give fans what they wanted.
The second big thing LucasArts gave gamers was an amazing assortment of adventure games. If you were a PC gamer in the nineties and you weren’t playing these games, then I have to wonder what EXACTLY you were using your computer for (besides dial-up porn). It was these games that proved that LucasArts was more than a machine that stamped “Star Wars” games, but a company fueled by imagination and creativity. These games were far more clever, funny, and interesting than the majority of titles available in the market at that time.
Sure, they may almost all have extremely obtuse and random puzzle design, but it didn’t matter to us then. Actually, it still doesn’t, because the characters, story, and humor are all strong enough that they carry the games. With titles like: “Monkey Island”, “Maniac Mansion”, “Day of the Tentacle”, “Sam & Max”, “Full Throttle”, “The Dig”, “Loom”, and “Grim-fucking-Fandango”, it’s hard to imagine that LucasArts is where it’s at right now. Which is in a place full of blandness, that lacks inspiration, and is largely irrelevant.
Of course, it could be argued that adventure games went out of style, but they are actually IN STYLE once again. “The Walking Dead”, anyone? Also, back then, the “Star Wars” franchise still fairly untainted and pure to most and has been watered down since then, so the games have followed suit. But LucasArts did still have a few other tricks up its sleeve that proved it still used to know gaming.
LucasArts has given us “Herc’s Adventures”, which is an oft overlooked game full of charm. But, they also gave us “Zombies Ate My Neighbors” and that game came out when zombies weren’t even cool. LucasArts was ahead of its time! Dude, put that game on the digital stores with online play and just watch the cash roll in.
So, seeing as how I feel that LucasArts is already in the dumps, I find it hard to believe that Disney can actually make things worse. They might make it a different kind of bad but I’m already in the habit of ignoring the stuff they put out. How many Lego-inspired “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” games do we need? “The Old Republic” was a giant waste of money and should’ve just been a single-player RPG. “The Force Unleashed” is just so… meh. Then we have “Star Wars Kinect”… ugh.
It may not sound like I’m very optimistic, despite what I said earlier, but hear me out. Disney likes money and it likes re-releasing everything multiple times to make as much of it as possible. If they follow that pattern with LucasArts, I think we can at least expect them to do some re-releases of some of these older games so a new generation of gamers can experience them, fall in love with them, and then come to hate LucasArts as much as Brian currently does.
We may not have anything spectacular coming down the pipeline but I think we can see a resurgence of the greats and that would certainly be better than where we’re at right now.