So, LucasArts is dead…
We’ve already told you that the incredible looking Star Wars 1313 has been canned, but the more important bit of that news is that LucasArts, as a game development studio, no longer exists. We’ve reported on a number development studio closures this generations, but I don’t think any of them have hit me right in the childhood quite like this.
I have fond recollections of booting up games and being greeted with that little golden guy, so ubiquitous in the 90’s. So many of my very favourite games, still so firmly rooted in memory, came courtesy of the teams at Lucasarts; the finest purveyors of point-and-click adventure games to have ever existed. Here are the ones that meant most to me.
It all started, for me at least, with this in 1987, Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick’s hilarious adventure game tribute to B-grade horror flicks, Maniac Mansion.
The game that really made me fall in love with LucasArts as an adventure game developer though was 1990’s SCUMMY tale of a pirate inept, the delightful Guybrush Threepwood in The Secret of Monkey Island and, of course, its follow-up, LeChuck’s revenge the next year.
Obviously an adventure game factory, LucasArts gave us the licenced title, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis the very next year – which is still a better Indy experience than that shark-jumping, fridge-nuking Crystal Skull nonsense.
Maniac Mansion of course, gave rise to a sequel, Day of the Tentacle, this time under Tim Shafer and Dave Grossman, which in 1993 was one of the very first boxed video game products I’d ever bought – and still stands as one of the funniest, smartest games of its ilk.
That same year also gave us LucasArts take on comic-book anti-hero Dog and psychotic rabbit duo Sam and Max, in Hit the Road. I will never forget that giant ball of twine.
I don’t think much needs to be said about Tim Shafer’s Full Throttle, released in 1995; which I’m sure is a favourite of yours too. Bikers, Hard Rock and Point and click shenanigans? That we never got to see more, despite numerous announced (but ultimately cancelled) sequels is one of gaming’s biggest travesties. “Help me Ben, You’re my only hope!
This is but a small sample of the company’s many adventure games, with other titles like 1995’s The Dig and the last real adventure game they produced, Grim Fandango as some of the last testaments of a genre that was, until revived by Telltale Games, essentially dead.
“Even though part of me felt this was coming, I’m still, somehow, shocked,” former LucasArts genius Tim Shafer told Kotaku. “I never thought that Lucas would actually shut down. I feel badly for all the talented people there. LucasArts was my first job in the industry. And sad to see all that history go away. And all that concept art. I’m going to be dumpster diving behind their offices for a while to see if I can find any old Full Throttle concept art.”
And of course, there are the many, many Star Wars games; to numerous to even list, but including those old space combat gems like X-Wing and Tie Fighter and more modern ones like the N64’s excellent Rogue Squadron – to shooters like Dark Forces and its Jedi Knight sequels and more multiplayer shooters like Battlefront.
Though it could be reasonably argued that LucasArts hasn’t really produced much of worth in the last decade, it’s still a dark day for gaming, and the gaming industry as a whole. More unfortunate is that the last two games released bearing the LucasArts name were Angry Birds: Star Wars, and the frankly terrible Kinect Stars Wars.
What a way to end a legacy.
Tell us, what’s your favourite LucasArts Memory?