Disney hasn’t done much with Lucasfilm and its assets after purchasing them from ol’ George. Sure, the announcement for new movies was more than expected, and perhaps Disney can be the driving force that manages to make Star Wars into the action space opera it was before the Prequels came in. Disney sure has the money and skill, and with ILM nothing’s impossible. It has been hard to say whether or not they have done any good decisions when there has been very few of them made. Thus far none of them have been negative, just clear and rational decisions.
The first unseen decision Disney has done was the closing of LucasArts, the section that did all those games from Star Wars to the Secret of Monkey Island. It has divided the hardcore in two; those who admit that it was good decision, and those who dislike this decision.
LucasArts hasn’t done anything good in a decade. When they became Star Wars The Game Company around the release of Phantom Menace, LucasArts was pretty much in a downwards spiral that just kept diving harder and harder. While I do see Rogue Squadron II as a good GameCube game, I’d argue that it still belongs to the era when LucasArts was a mere shadow of its former self. Even then Rogue Squadron was Factor 5 developed game. Quitting a company that has produced nothing of worth for a long time was nothing short of logical.
We all know that LucasArts was good with computer adventure games early on, and that they produced one of the best games in the genre. Then there’s the Star Wars flying simulator games that were nothing short of pretty damn awesome. I have good memories on X-Wing Alliance myself, even thou I usually got my ass handed to me. But those games are in the past and very few of them are available on modern machines. XWA doesn’t even properly play on modern computers. At the moment most of those games of no consequence, which is sad because LucasArts could’ve used the same drive to make their last games successful.
There is no games of value from LucasArts from Sixth Generation onwards. Only repetition and… pure schlock. While I do not play games for the story, who the hell thought it was a good idea to shoehorn the awfully written and stupid story that is Force Unleashed. Not that the games were good to begin with. Disney hasn’t really touched on how Marvel Comics does their business, and I most likely they had the same intention regarding LucasArts. Nevertheless, business is business and the part of the company that didn’t meet with the ends needed soon saw a quick and painless death. All projects LucasArts had going on have been cancelled, which is only a good thing.
In the future Lucasfilm games, ie. Star Wars will most likely be mitigated to third party companies. I’m sure Disney will do some games by themselves. Both of these are good things and should be welcomed with open arms. Change is always a good thing, especially when the air is still and reeks of failure.
The question remains; who will get the first third party Star Wars game from Disney? There still exists bunch of companies that should be able to produce a proper game not just for Star Wars, but for any Lucasfilm property. Big companies would not be the best of choices out there, but I would almost bet that company like EA would try to get their hands on the license. Then again, at least EA produces games, unlike Valve. Some have theorised that Disney intents to put up their own proxy for LucasArts, but this is highly unlikely.
Star Wars 1313 is one of the projects that got cancelled. The hardcore crowd seems to hate that this happened, but what we’ve seen thus far didn’t really convince anyone else. Nobody cared about all these side stories we never heard from in the movies. While expanding a series is good thing to do in general (if the series itself allows it), expanding a movie universe through games is inherently a questionable idea. How well will gameplay expand story? Going back to 1313, and in video game trailers in general, why aren’t we allowed to see the gameplay anymore? Is the industry so stuck up with the idea of story that they dismiss the game itself? No wonder they’re not making profit! Even from gameplay standpoint the game itself looked nothing special, just your normal duck-n-run gameplay that Gears of War made popular and ever so persistent. Lately homogenous has become one of my favoured words, but it really describes how current gaming, or during the past decade and then some. No wonder Disney wanted to get rid of LucasArts.
Then again, one has to ask why is Ducktales Remastered getting a release? The answer would be that it is everything that the current gaming isn’t and is a throwback to the era when games still were making some impact on the overall culture. LucasArts’ old games were part of this revolution that expanded the market. This is what they didn’t do, for whatever reason. Even now the companies are making their customerbase smaller by targeting people with less money rather than hitting everybody they can.
It’s interesting to see that companies are trying to stick with the Red Ocean even after seeing how the Wii managed to broaden the horizon. Even Nintendo abandoned their quest for more users simply because it was too much work. I need to make a separate post about that at some point.
I won’t mourn LucasArts, and the news was more a delight to hear than anything else. If LucasArts had been at the same level they used to be, it would have left some impact on the industry, but seeing how there has been no negative impact after the story broke, there won’t be any in the future. I’m sure all the people who got the boot will find a decent job…wait, what am I talking about? These are people who make video games, and video game companies have been steadily letting people go as it is. Well, we always need people at lower level jobs. The system won’t work without these people.