By heatDrive88 4 Comments
Today, Disney officially closed down the development and publishing arms of LucasArts, in the effort of shifting the business model of LucasArts to become more of a "licensing house" for their intellectual properties. Chiefly among those properties, include the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises.
The analyst/realist part of me says this isn't entirely a surprise for LucasArts - not since 2010's Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 have they put their eggs into any kind of basket for a serious large-scale video game release, where public and critical response to that game was tepid at best. Considering the massive vault of intellectual property they sit on top of, it's not like they were short of any kind of franchise material to leverage. Yet somehow, they still managed to creatively bankrupt themselves in the end, with such a narrow focus on only Star Wars products. Their latest notable failure was the publicly-lambasted Kinect Star Wars, which was published by LucasArts, but developed externally by a various number of developers. Regardless of such, their ineptitude to even remotely capture any substantial part of the video games market to remain relevant in the past few years just means that this been a long time coming, with very little to show for it.
It's safe to say that anybody with a shred of humanity is wishing well for the men and women behind the scenes that lost their jobs at LucasArts, and a sad feeling of nostalgia is high because of the exceptional games released in the 90's that LucasArts has come to be known and popularized for. The Secret of Monkey Island series, Sam & Max, and Psychonauts are just a small, but powerful sampling of games that have defined LucasArts to their once-large fanbase. But assuming Disney can even remotely do a good job at licensing out the intellectual properties that they still hold (which Disney probably won't given their spotty track record in producing successful video games), most can probably realize that those franchises are best put into the hands of others for development, should any of them be realized yet again.
Ultimately, LucasArts was the figurehead for those classic LucasArts games that we romanticized and hold close to our hearts, but it is important to recognize that the true figureheads of that company were the people that stood behind it in it's period of high popularity and success. Those people include Tim Schafer, Ron Gilbert, and Steve Purcell - all who are flourishing on their own outside the old banner of LucasArts - flying their own unique flags, and most importantly, on their own terms, for brand new video game experiences.