The LucasArts Lamenton March 26, 2013 at 8:00 am
LucasArts holds a special place in many gamers’ hearts, including my own. Their contributions to gaming are legion, running the gamut from unique IPs to “Star Wars” adaptations and spin-offs.
All in all, LucasArts had a good run. A great run. Hell, their games were 90% of my childhood gaming. To be clear, LucasArts has not been disbanded… yet. But the writing’s been on the wall for years.
“The Force Unleashed” wasn’t exactly a flop, but it was baffling to gamers and “Star Wars” fans alike. How could such an expensive endeavor yield such a mediocre game? Unfortunately, all the fancy cutscenes and physics engines in the galaxy can’t save bland, often frustrating gameplay.
And we’ve all seen the massive pile of poodoo that is “Star Wars Kinect”. The only universal praise I’ve come across was the Rancor Rampage section. Remember the Dance Central Ripoff sequences? In case you have, here’s a taste.
It’s easy to blame it all on Disney’s acquisition of everything Lucas-based for killing off any glimmers of hope… “Battlefront III” and “1313”. But let’s not kid ourselves. They haven’t put out anything decent in years, internally developed or published. That kind of hiatus damages public opinion, and removes any momentum and enthusiasm. Disney is just the nail in the coffin.
LucasArts have been hemorrhaging management and talent for years. The “Star Wars” prequels are long done, so the tie-ins have dried up. Unique, non-”Star Wars” IPs? Haven’t had any since the 90s. And if you think the upcoming “Star Wars” spinoffs and sequels will pull a Lazarus on LucasArts, here’s what Wired reported last fall:
Disney has said little about games — but it hasn’t said nothing. On a conference call with investors on Tuesday, CEO Bob Iger said that the company’s plans for Star Wars gaming were likely to “focus more on social and mobile than we are on console.”
“We’ll look opportunistically at console, most likely in licensing rather than publishing,” Iger said, but qualified this by adding that in Disney’s view, Star Wars characters lend themselves better to “the other platforms.”
You hear that, kids? Jar Jar Binks Farmville is what you’ll get under Disney. Forget the other crap, it’s too expensive. Not that Lucasfilm didn’t milk “Star Wars” for huge profit, but how exactly is an equally (if not more) avaricious corporation going to be a better steward? It seems naïve to think that different = better when it comes to stewardship of a beloved IP.
And that’s really all Disney wanted: “Star Wars”. THX, Skywalker Sound, ILM, LucasArts, et al… they’re just a bonus. Useful if they can help pump out more “Star Wars”, expendable if not. It doesn’t matter how badly you want new “Battlefront”, kids bath soaps based on Episode VII characters will net more profit.
I think it’s about time we write LucasArts off entirely. Let’s stop pining for “Battlefront III” ; if we keep holding our breaths, we’re going to asphyxiate… unless you’re into that, for erotic purposes.
I’ve been watching “The Clone Wars” religiously since it debuted. Not because it’s particularly good; it has its moments, but there’s so much embarrassing shit it makes “Attack of the Clones” shine. Mostly because it’s such a great microcosm of George Lucas’ stranglehold on the franchise.
For all the fresh talent and ideas, it all boiled down to whether Papa George was cool with it. If he told them to do an episode about an LGBT Hutt getting offed by his girlfriend (who happens to be one of the backup singers in Jabba’s palace from “Return of the Jedi”), they damn well did it! I actually covered this back on my old blog.
Uh, anyway, “The Clone Wars”. It’s been cancelled by Lucasfilm Animation. Which they explain away by saying “this was the plan all along! Disney had nothing to do with it!” Bullshit. Just say that the show had run its course, and Disney wasn’t interested in putting up with it. But no, can’t have Disney look like a bad guy!
It just kills me that we have to live under this pretense of corporations wanting to make you happy. What they really want is to put forth the least amount of effort for the most money. Your satisfaction only matters as long you’re part of the majority. Even if you had thousands of people petitioning for more hardcore “Star Wars” games, they make bajillions off of mobile and online crap.
What you want is not profitable enough for them… at least, they don’t THINK it will be. So quit whining and waiting and devote your time and money to people and companies that are at least trying to make you happy. Sure, their Kickstarter may fall through and fuck you over. But at least there’s only a chance of it… with Disney, it’s near certainty.