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LucasArts Aims for #1

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the keep-climbing dept.

120

The New York Times has an interesting profile of LucasArts, the game development house attached to George Lucas' company. They discuss some challenges with being so closely associated with Star Wars, and detail their role in the Lucasfilm company as a whole. From the article: "[Ward's] most challenging days may be ahead. The videogame industry has been in the doldrums for months; video game sales are lagging as consumers wait to buy the next generation of consoles, including the PlayStation 3. And perhaps most important, Mr. Lucas has no plans to make any more 'Star Wars' movies. That means LucasArts will have to work that much harder to come up with ideas of its own. 'We are not the Star Wars game company,' said Micheline Chau, president of Lucasfilm. 'And Jim knows what he has to do.'"

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120 comments

What About Star Wars Galaxies? (2, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 8 years ago | (#15142913)

Was it just me or did this article expertly side step Star Wars Galaxies [sony.com] ?

I know that Sony Online Entertainment are the developers for SWG but I'm also interested in what the president of the licensing company has to say about that game. Actually, I'd like to see him interviewed in an "Ask Slashdot" much like John Smedley was [slashdot.org] a while back.

Among the questions I'd like to ask him would be:

How would you describe the decision making process that has gone into designing SWG?

Do you think that SWG is drawing nearer and nearer to a "true Star Wars Experience" or moving away from it? How? Give examples.

Do you expect to be a top five video game competitor [wikipedia.org] with no MMORPG out and available? They seem to generate a lot of revenue compared to classic console games. EA has the Sims franchise while Microsoft generates Xbox Live monthly revenue.

What are your favorite and least favorite aspects of working with George Lucas?

--

I'm not sure why this article accents the fact that no more Star Wars movies are coming out. They've made quite a few off IV, V & VI--one would think they could make just as many off of I, II & III along with the coming TV series [bbc.co.uk] . And don't forget the expanded universe that the literature written would provide ... doesn't anyone else want to serve Admiral Thrawn as much as I do?

Re:What About Star Wars Galaxies? (5, Funny)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#15142949)

How would you describe the decision making process that has gone into designing SWG?

I'll take "What is a train wreck?" for $200, Alex

Re:What About Star Wars Galaxies? (1)

fallen1 (230220) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143583)

OMG! I just spewed Sprite out of my nose and all over the keyboard and, of course, the company president walked in to my office to make sure I was ok. You almost got me fired asshole ;-) *lol*

Re:What About Star Wars Galaxies? (1)

the argonaut (676260) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143854)

And yet you still took the time to write a response?

Re:What About Star Wars Galaxies? (1)

fallen1 (230220) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144392)

Yeah, because it WAS funny and deserved a response. Not to mention it was quite hilarious with Sprite all over my desk/keyboard. The boss got a good laugh out of it too :)

Re:What About Star Wars Galaxies? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15143177)

Do you expect to be a top five video game competitor with no MMORPG out and available? They seem to generate a lot of revenue compared to classic console games. EA has the Sims franchise while Microsoft generates Xbox Live monthly revenue. If you look at that list not all the Top 5 have MMORPGs...

'We are not the Star Wars company' (4, Interesting)

Joehonkie (665142) | more than 8 years ago | (#15142922)

But we'll kill a finished Sam & Max game in a second! They would do better to stop just releasing Star Wars games and little else if they want to change that perception. It's too bad most of their adventure gaming people have moved on to places like Telltale.

Re:'We are not the Star Wars company' (1)

davebo357 (730081) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143001)

Why is that too bad? Telltale is great. I was a fan of the Bone comics and although I'm not really interested in the game itself, i do go to their website to read the sam and max comics, and look forward to games in the future. I wish more talented game creators would leave huge companies and start up small ones.

Re:'We are not the Star Wars company' (1)

Joehonkie (665142) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143622)

I meant that it is too bad for them if their goal really is to be more than just "The Star Wars game company."

Re:'We are not the Star Wars company' (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143312)

The question is whether Sam & Max 2 was any good, and nobody outside of Lucas and Telltale knows that. And both of them are throwing out the game.

It is quite possible that S&M2 was so terrible that they canned it in order to retain their reputation in the market, and cited "market" concerns to cover that up. Nobody wants to say "we made a crappy game so we canned it."

Ok, Blizzard said that with Ghost. But we all knew it by then anyway.

The point is that the gaming industry can always use a little judicious pruning of the bad stuff, but nobody wants to admit that a project didn't live up to expectations. In all likelyness S&M wasn't canned because it was an adventure game sequal, but because it didn't come together in a way that Lucasarts was happy with.

Re:'We are not the Star Wars company' (1)

ShawnDoc (572959) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143339)

What are you talking about? TellTale did not "throw out" S&M2. They're working on it right now. They bought the rights to the characters, they did not buy the rights to the work that had already been done. That's why they're not finishing the Lucasarts version (Which was not finished).

Re:'We are not the Star Wars company' (1)

Cadallin (863437) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144719)

Ummm, Apparently you haven't heard, but before Tell Tale Games was formed, LucasArts was working on a Sam&Max sequel, it was apparently 90% finished or so, and then it was canned.

Re:'We are not the Star Wars company' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15143444)

I also scoffed at the "We are not the Star Wars company". Sorry bub, but that's exactly what you are. I don't think they've developed a single non-Star Wars related game since Escape from Monkey Island. The NYT article mentioned Mercenaries, but that was developed by Pandemic.

From the NYT article, their new exec Jim Ward sounds like a total knob with no game experience. Choice quote: ...he is openly critical of Electronic Arts ... for not being able to deliver its Godfather video game to consumers on time. "It is absolutely a sin," he proclaimed.

In other words, market pressure and timing are more important than delivering high quality content. After reading this article I have zero expectations of good games coming from LucasArts. Sure, they'll probably be profitable, but I doubt I'll be playing their games any time soon. Meanwhile, I have high hopes for what Telltale has in store.

Re:'We are not the Star Wars company' (2, Insightful)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143762)

Yes, this is sad, and while one could counter with "but adventure gaming is dead!", the same could basically be said before Baldur's Gate was released about CRPG's. But that game made the genre popular again, with tons of Infinity Engine games and expensions, and Neverwinter Nights became popular enough that we now have a sequel to look forward to. I also doubt Star Wars KOTOR was that much a success just for being Star Wars, but more thanks to a good and refreshing storyline. If Star Wars games were automatically popular, we wouldn't have had nearly as many flops.

I have to wonder if this genre isn't just in hibernation like these games were, for companies not daring to put money into developing them. If you haven't played Grim Fandago and are even remotely interested in this genre, I strongly recommend you to do. It gave me many memories like a good book would have done, and like most games won't.

Grim Fandango not the game to start with (1)

Cadallin (863437) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144809)

As much as I like the game, the interface is pretty crap. I'd recommend "Curse of Monkey Island" or "Full Throttle" instead. Or the older, "Day of the Tentacle" or "Secret of Monkey Island 1 or 2," or "Sam and Max Hit the Road"

The trouble with Adventure games is that they don't tend to be Million Sellers, instead, the good titles tend to have reliable sales in the 100,000-300,000 unit range.

In "The Escapist" Warren Spectre has been running a series of articles about problems he perceives in the gaming industry, and one of those is that there's now a huge funding gulf in the industry. You can do low budget titles ($10,000,000) and get funding, but its almost impossible to get mid-range titles funded (those in range of ($1-2million). Those numbers are production budgets BTW. Thus adventure titles fall right in the no-man's-land that's impossible to fund, a top notch adventure costing a couple million to produce, and then reliably netting two to ten times that number.

One of the things I find fascinating is that this problems is among the things Johnny L. Wilson (former editor in chief of CGW magazine) predicted in an editorial published in 1995. He was arguing it was one of the things we had to figure out how to avoid "now that gaming has gone mass market." As I see it, all of the things he warned against have in fact come to pass.

Re:'We are not the Star Wars company' (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144070)

But we'll kill a finished Sam & Max game in a second! They would do better to stop just releasing Star Wars games and little else if they want to change that perception. It's too bad most of their adventure gaming people have moved on to places like Telltale.

I agree. I'm very bitter at them for canceling the sequel to Full Throttle [amazon.com] , one of the most original and badass computer games I've ever played.

Re:'We are not the Star Wars company' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15145771)

Yeah, well the sequel to Full Throttle was canned because it truly did suck.

Re:'We are not the Star Wars company' (1)

Shadarr (11622) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144836)

They can say "We are not the Star Wars company" all they want, but until they have more than one game on their current product list [lucasarts.com] that doesn't have Star Wars in the title, they are the Star Wars company.

aiming for #1 (5, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15142930)

They might be aiming for #1, but lately all they've been producing is #2.

Re:aiming for #1 (1)

kisrael (134664) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143221)

Hmm. Mercenaries was pretty great, IMO, I haven't enjoyed a game that much in a long while...GTA: Wartorn Future North Korea, but with a less developed civillian sandbox, but with a lot more explosives...

Man, remember them going back to Lucasfilm Games...Ballblazer and Fractalus were jawdroppers.

Thank the gods of Kobol! (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 8 years ago | (#15142971)

"Mr. Lucas has no plans to make any more 'Star Wars' movies."

Thank the gods of Kobol!

Re:Thank the gods of Kobol! (1)

Vengeance (46019) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143245)

Oh dear... Are you even now unintentionally planting the seeds of a Battlestar Galactica MMORPG?

Will it have the classic Boomer and Starbuck or the new hotness?

Re:Thank the gods of Kobol! (1)

the argonaut (676260) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143868)

I vote for the new hotness.

So give us adventures! (3, Interesting)

BorgDrone (64343) | more than 8 years ago | (#15142978)

If they want to be #1, give us back the good-old 2D cartoon-style humor filled adventure games.

I never liked any of the star-wars themed games, but the adventures were fantastic.

Re:So give us adventures! (5, Interesting)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143159)

I agree. I would love to see a sequel for Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, or more monkey island games. 3D Action games get boring after a while.

A little off-topic, but I've realized one thing while playing Silent Hill 3: The textures are realistic, and the control is user-friendly. Why not make a detective game (Sherlock Holmes, Hercules Poirot?) with that engine? It would rock if you could interrogate suspects and examine items, etc.

Anyway my point is, we need more story / plot / brain in today's games. The Indy graphic adventures contained all of these elements, and this is why they succeeded.

Re:So give us adventures! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15143256)

...Why not make a detective game (...Hercules Poirot?) with that engine?

If it has Xena and Gabrielle in it, I'd buy it.

What's a Poirot?

Re:So give us adventures! (1)

bk_veggie (807894) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143402)

Call of Cthuhlu: Dark Corners of the Earth

Mixes (light) FPS with lots of detective work and puzzles. For the price, I was quite delighted.

Re:So give us adventures! (1)

Frogbert (589961) | more than 8 years ago | (#15145764)

They don't even need to be 3d. Grim Fandango was amazing.

Re:So give us adventures! (1)

DreadPiratePizz (803402) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144481)

The trouble with this is pure economics. Lucasarts began to run into this problem around when The Dig was released. The game itself was very good, however it did not sell very well. Why? At the time, games like Quake were starting to come out, and adventure games looked pale in comparison. Even if the company was commited to making a kickass 2D adventure game, they may not make up for it in sales.

Also consider the artwork. Back in the day, 320 x 240 16 or 256 colour was all you needed, with 8 frames or so for a walking animation. Now resolutions are much higher, and smoother animation will be demanded. The problem with setting such great standards is that you have to outdo them next time. Curse of Monkey island took a lot of time and money to make. To make another game, with smoother animation, better artwork etc, would actually be a huge burden. Game designers are complaining now about the cost of texture art on the new systems. TEXTURE ART! Try creating hundreds of backgrounds, animations for each object interaction, cutscenes, ad you can see that the art for a 2D game can become costly. Just because it's 2D doesn't mean it's cheap. And when nobody will buy your game, how do you expect to make the money back?

While I certainly mourn the loss of the Lucasarts adventure game, I understand completely.

Re:So give us adventures! (1)

rishistar (662278) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144672)

I've heard lots of good things about the LucasArts adventure games - and if they were revamped (or even slightly touched up!) for the Nintendo DS I'd be one of many who would look forward to that. Apart from Another Code:Two Memories there hasn't been anything that uses that style of gameplay - which is one for which it is ideally suited.

ha (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15142991)

ha ha ha ha

"And Jim knows what he has to do." (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15143063)

No he doesn't. Jim needs to listen to his fan base.

Finish Sam and Max. Full Throttle 2. The next game in the X-Wing series. Tell SOE to go fuck themselves.

If you can't do it in-house, keep getting an outside development house to kick them out for you. No shame in that, as long as it's not SOE.

Re:"And Jim knows what he has to do." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15143131)

Let's not forget the next fuckin' Monkey Island!

Bring Back X-Wing/Tie Fighter (4, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143104)

There have been MANY Star Wars games in the last 10 years. Some good, some bad. Lego Star Wars was very cute (I know there is a sequel in the works). But please, PLEASE, do what everyone who has played the games wants.

Update X-Wing and Tie Fighter.

Better graphics, online play, new missions.

Please, please, please!

Re:Bring Back X-Wing/Tie Fighter (4, Insightful)

LordPhantom (763327) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143149)

Now there's a MMORPG I'd play - fleet combat/trade themed Star Wars (think Eve Online). Not that it'd be XvT, but damn that would be slick.

Re:Bring Back X-Wing/Tie Fighter (1)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143663)

No kidding. What I'd really love is a game similar to the Galactic Conquest mod for BF:1942....except much more massive. I want HUNDREDS of people manning all of the turrets on a full size Star Destroyer. I want large squadrons of TIE fighters that I can swat down like gnats. I want capital ships that ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING! And how do you stop fuckwads from ruining the experience? Implement a rank system similar to Planetside. Yeah, you might get some fuckwads who occasionally abuse their power that they've EARNED.....but most of the time the capital ship commands will actually have a clue as to what they're doing and if you're just a TKer the only think you'll be able to do is turret duty.

Re:Bring Back X-Wing/Tie Fighter - Hmmmmmmm (1)

fallen1 (230220) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143795)

Well, it might not be what the above poster has mentioned but let's put all the cards on the table:

1) We have rumours being bandied about that SOE is going to lose the SWG license.
2) We have a massive shakeup [kotaku.com] in the Sony Online world - including Raph Koster leaving to head up a _new game studio_.
3) And, at the same time, we have BioWare [bioware.com] announcing that they have opened a new division in Austion to produce what? A brand new MMORPG.

BioWare is now, as the above press release shows, hiring for all positions and already has one previous Sony Online Entertainment executive producer on the payroll. BioWare also mentions their highly successful games with SW: KOTOR being the first one mentioned in the list.

Now, let us take #1+#2+#3 and mix in all the other miscellaneous tidbits of information and supposition, stir well with the spoon of "what if" and ... VOILA! You have the makings of a brand new Star Wars MMORPG on your hands. IS this what BioWare is keeping under wraps? *shrug* Who knows?

I, for one, would love to see some of the best parts of the original SWG (intricate crafting, non-combat roles being valued - dancer, etc., MULTIPLE professions being possible and varied, and several other parts) being implemented in a much more Star Wars style universe than what the CU and *gag* NGE did to Sony's bastardization of Star Wars.

Re:Bring Back X-Wing/Tie Fighter - Hmmmmmmm (1)

fallen1 (230220) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143810)

Damn, I previewed the page twice and still missed the tags on this:

1) We have rumours [gamespot.com] being bandied about that SOE is going to lose the SWG license.

Re:Bring Back X-Wing/Tie Fighter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15143260)

I would even take reissue of the orginal since I can't find mine, I have the case but no CD. =(

Tie Fighter was and is still one of my top ten games of all time.

Re:Bring Back X-Wing/Tie Fighter (1)

Chi Hsuan Men (767453) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143261)

Amen.

I have very fond memories of playing X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter (XvT) with my brother and my best friend over an IPX-SPX network at my house. I'm pretty XvT also functioned over Microsoft's Gaming Zone "Network"; however, as it was in the age of modems, it was near impossible to find a decent host where you wouldn't have players dropping while the mission was loading.

There simply isn't a replacement for the frenetic experience of XvT. I can only imagine what it would be like to play a game like XvT against multiple human opponents over broadband.

Re:Bring Back X-Wing/Tie Fighter (1)

bckrispi (725257) | more than 8 years ago | (#15146907)

X-Wing Alliance is still fun on multiplayer...

Re:Bring Back X-Wing/Tie Fighter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15143298)

I think they took it towards the Rogue Squadron games. X-Wing, X-Wing vs Tie Fighter, X-Wing Alliance, then the Rogue Squadron series. I'm not enough of a fan to follow the series completely and thus don't know the major differences.

I figure if Rogue Squadron went online, it'd be something very cool. Then again, the Battlefront series has included space combat...and that can go online (though laggy from what I've heard, and I'd imagine the plane-hogging after spawn would be horrendous).

You're right, though. Simple X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter battles. Online play. No need to complicate it with ground battles, etc. Hell, if it's not too big of an issue, do what the Wolfenstein people did and release it free (as in beer)like Enemy Territory. Maybe even GPL the old code (and some of the artwork/sounds) so a community can improve it?

Re:Bring Back X-Wing/Tie Fighter (1)

Cutriss (262920) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143439)

I would find it hard to believe myself if any fans of the original X-Wing and TIE Fighter games liked the Rogue Squadron and similar Factor 5 games. I hated them myself - they were just boring shmups with unclear goals and bad mechanics - Battle For Naboo was the worst of the lot.

The X-Wing and TIE Fighter games involved tactics and strategy and widely-varied starships with more involvement than just a "life meter".

Re:Bring Back X-Wing/Tie Fighter (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 8 years ago | (#15146217)

I've played most of the rogue squadron games because they are the closest to X-Wing that there is.

The battles on the planets aren't great, but when you are out in space it's a major blast, just like the old days.

That said, the fact that you have to do other things (like those amazingly terrible third-person shooter missions) keeps me from buying the games, and often renting them or getting to the end of them.

Re:Bring Back X-Wing/Tie Fighter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15143407)

They already did update and re-release X-Wing and Tie Fighter once, using the XvT engine.

See: http://www.gamespot.com/pc/sim/xwingcollectorsseri es/review.html [gamespot.com]

And X-Wing Alliance wasn't too shabby either. But gamers nowadays don't want space sims. They want the shallower console space shooters, like Rogue Squadron, or Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter.

Original games? (4, Interesting)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143234)

How many original games has LucasArts had in the last three years? The only one I can think of was the one mentioned in the article, Mercenaries.

Everything else has been Star Wars or Indiana Jones.

LucasArts used to be known for its Adventure games, but under Mr. Ward's leadership, they flushed that down the toilet in favor of more Star Wars. They got such bad press from the Sam and Max 2 cancellation that they removed the Press Release [lucasarts.com] from their site. LucasArts can claim that the genre is dead, but when companies like The Adventure Company [theadventu...ygames.com] continue to make money off of them, it would appear that LucasArts is wrong.

The question is, will LucasArts put its money where its mouth is, or simply continue to be the Star Wars company?

Re:Original games? (1)

angrymilkman (957626) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144108)

WOW they even have an adventure based on one of my favourite french comics: thorgal. (that story is 10times cooler then LOTR / STARWARS)

Re:Original games? (1)

ClamIAm (926466) | more than 8 years ago | (#15147035)

My guess is that mediocre Star Wars games are easier to sell to management, who don't want to take any chances.

Is it just me or . . . . (1)

denverradiosucks (653647) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143255)

Am I the only one who has wasted the last 15 years of my life for a sequel to Maniac Mansion and The Secret of Monkey Island?

Re:Is it just me or . . . . (1)

Novus (182265) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143569)

Am I the only one who has wasted the last 15 years of my life for a sequel to Maniac Mansion and The Secret of Monkey Island?

Have I misunderstood something, or have you missed Day of the Tentacle, Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, the Curse of Monkey Island and Escape from Monkey Island? See, for example, Wikipedia's article on LucasArts adventure games [wikipedia.org] .

Only have three words to say... (4, Insightful)

Gogo Dodo (129808) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143272)

Monkey Island 5

Bring back Guybrush Threepwood! (1)

John the Kiwi (653757) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143347)

I loved all the Monkey Island adventure games.

Re:Bring back Guybrush Threepwood! (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 8 years ago | (#15145935)

How about a true sequel to Monkey Island 2 instead? Monkey3 wasn't bad, but as a sequel to 2 it was a huge disappointment.

Re:Bring back Guybrush Threepwood! (1)

MrNiceguy_KS (800771) | more than 8 years ago | (#15146703)

I actually thought Monkey Island 3 was the best of the series. Just yesterday I finished playing through it again. Great voice acting, great animation, great Monkey Island humor.

I mean, where else are you going to find vegetarian cannibals worshiping a lactose-intolerant volcano god?

I was very disappointed that they went 3D with MI4. I thought it worked well with Grim Fandango, but for Monkey Island they should have stuck with the 'Saturday morning cartoon' style.

Re:Bring back Guybrush Threepwood! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15146890)

Agreed on Monkey Island 4; the graphics were worse than 3's, the controls were shoddy, and the puzzles were annoying and arbitrary. It's a shame that there's no budget for good old adventure games anymore.

MI2 was amazing for its time. The atmosphere was perfect; even its titlescreen has that great retro feel. MI2 was wacky, but pretty nice and open. A little too gritty for my liking, but then again, 3 was a little too clean-cut. Oh well. All three are pretty darn good.

Re:Bring back Guybrush Threepwood! (1)

Jarlsberg (643324) | more than 8 years ago | (#15146950)

Well, good adventures are rare these days, but they are there to be found. Broken Sword Sleeping Dragon, Indigo Prophecy and that new Agatha Christie game (And then there were none) are some of the new and good ones.

Monkey Island 3 was good - 4 sucked (1)

Hyperhaplo (575219) | more than 8 years ago | (#15147028)

I'd like to disagree.
MI3 was a most worthy game. I've played it through a few times now. I was hoping MI4 would be more of the same.
Monkey Island 4 was a dissapointment. The game did not need to be redone in 3D. There are other issues with the game, but the inability to easily navigate around the game soon got to me and I never really got into it. I'd still like to see a 2D version of MI4... and I hope they go 2D in MI5.

LucasArts wants original games now? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15143393)

I find it ironic that a year or two after they shut down work on the much-anticipated sequel to Sam & Max, they are now acknowledging they need original (read: "not Star Wars") titles. They laid off their staff, reorganized their business structure, and have been outsourcing games to other development houses for years. They wanted to only focus on the "lucrative" Star Wars market. Not the risky adventure games market that gave LucasArts their name in the early 90s.

Most of the original ideas in LucasArts (and before that Lucasfilm Games) came from a group of very talented adventure and action game designers. Lucasfilm Games was one of the first game companies to acknowledge that a game that doesn't try to kill your character at any turn -- or at all! -- can be much more enjoyable than when your character is in mortal danger at every step. The difference in enjoyment between Kings Quest and Monkey Island is immeasurable.. and not just because of this! The dialog was fresh. The puzzles were fun. The characters were fleshed out!

But those original ideas have long since gone as those designers have chosen to work on projects that have a hope of shipping.

You want original games again, LucasArts? Beg.. no.. plead for Tim Schafer (Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle), Ron Gilbert (Monkey Island), and Steve Purcell (Sam & Max) to work for you again. Reconstitute the teams you used to have but neglected. Put these people in charge of the company. In no time you'd be pumping out original, funny, and interesting games that spoke to the heart of your frustrated fan base.

What if you can't come up with any more original ideas? Well, if you've got game material rights already, and they aren't Star Wars, or they haven't been milked to death as that already, do they count?:

* Bring back the X-Wing and TIE Fighter series, which was the best flight sim series I ever played. It was also the only Star Wars game I ever enjoyed. Update it for new graphics hardware and don't tie it to a Microsoft gaming service (anyone remember MS Zone? exactly.).

* Resuscitate all of your old titles so they can be played on new handheld hardware like the Nintendo DS. Use the DS's multiplayer to stage X-Wing battles on WFC or just over the local multiplayer features.

* Dust off Sam & Max 2, finish it, and ship it.

* Do a Monkey Island movie -- wait! Disney's already doing it. It's called Pirates of the Caribbean 2. MI fans: take one look at the voodoo scene from the PotC 2 and tell me it doesn't look like the outside of the International House of Mojo in MI2. (Oh, and Johnny Depp would've made a great Guybrush Threepwood.)

* Above all, don't let faithful sequels to these games die by stringently holding onto the rights and keeping other interested companies in moving the stories forward.

Re:LucasArts wants original games now? (1)

bwindle2 (519558) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143581)

"* Bring back the X-Wing and TIE Fighter series, which was the best flight sim series I ever played. It was also the only Star Wars game I ever enjoyed. Update it for new graphics hardware and don't tie it to a Microsoft gaming service (anyone remember MS Zone? exactly.)."

I second this. I loved that series, and simply want a similar game with updated graphics.

Re:LucasArts wants original games now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15143596)

I hope they do ask Tim, Ron and especially Steve back.. so they can tell Lucasarts to fuck off and crawl back in the hole.

Fuck this company. Let them die. There have been FOUR MI games, its enough. Sam and Max is already being worked on.

The programmers need to "cast off the shackles" of these mega-corporations and use their namesakes to build new titles with a small, focused team.

Re:LucasArts wants original games now? (1)

Lewisham (239493) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143597)

It's great how the article makes it appear LucasArts doesn't own any IP past Star Wars, and glosses over LucasArts's history of making games on new IP after new IP.

They have a huge non-Star Wars catalogue.

The fact is, they don't care. The suits came in, the creativity went out, and that was the end of LucasArts. They stopped caring about the games they created and the customers they insulted.

It won't recover.

Re:LucasArts wants original games now? (1)

TheJediGeek (903350) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143842)

As most of us know, LucasArts USED TO make good, non Star Wars games.
In the days of X-Wing, Tie Fighter, Dark Forces, and Rebel Assault; Star Wars games were about half of the games LA made. Back then, LA had a slogan that had something to do with not making a lot of games, just making good games.
A new SW game would come out every once in awhile, not that many.

Then, the big marketing giant hit. Suddenly, LA started pumping out SW games like they were going out of style. As a result, we ended up with a lot of mediocre SW games. As we know, they began focusing on strictly SW games. They made themselves into the "Star Wars game company." They became like every other big game company that pushes out the next crappy game as fast as possible.

Now, we have Star Wars Galaxies. It's not clear exactly how much direct control LA has over that, but they have enough to stop the train wreck that's going off the cliff if they want to. The longer they continue to let that disaster continue, the more it shows their true colors. SWG is the most glaring example of going to milk the cash as much as possible and forget the customer base. They're essentially pissing on the Star Wars fans that have been fans since the original theatrical releases. These people should be their bread and butter. Instead, they're trying (badly) to appeal to the younger "too much reading; kill, loot treasure, repeat" crowd that LA VP Nancy MacIntyre referred to as their target audience.

LucasArts will NOT be able to get close to number one unless they start making quality games. They can't do that by focusing on deadlines. Release a game when it's ready. Make it something we WANT to play, not something your marketing morons like Nancy MacIntyre THINK we want to play.

Re:LucasArts wants original games now? (1)

Kelson (129150) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144717)

Then, the big marketing giant hit. Suddenly, LA started pumping out SW games like they were going out of style. As a result, we ended up with a lot of mediocre SW games.

Now admittedly I'd gotten out of playing these games by then, but wasn't this around 1999 -- in other words, about the time the Star Wars prequels started coming out?

Re:LucasArts wants original games now? (1)

TheJediGeek (903350) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144973)

"Now admittedly I'd gotten out of playing these games by then, but wasn't this around 1999 -- in other words, about the time the Star Wars prequels started coming out?"

As I recall, yes. Two Words: Pod Racer.
Most of the Episode 1 centered games around that time were utter crap. As I recall, that's when it really started.

Re:LucasArts wants original games now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15145918)

Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace -- crap
Star Wars: Episode I: Racer -- ok
Star Wars: Episode I: Insider's Guide -- Not exactly a game, but alright
Indiana Jones & the Infernal Machine -- (or as we called it at LEC, the Eternal Infernal Machine)
Star Wars: Force Commander -- utter crap
Star Wars Demolition -- more crap
Star Wars: Jedi Power Battles -- crap

Re:LucasArts wants original games now? (1)

despisethesun (880261) | more than 8 years ago | (#15145950)

Pod Racing? You want to really hit the bottom of that barrel, try "Super Bombad Racing". WTF?

The first KOTOR game was brilliant, though. I'm betting that's got more to do with Bioware than LucasArts, though. The second one was not as good but I'd heard that LA started leaning on Obsidian to get the game going in certain directions and some of the Obsidian people never want to work with LA again because of it. I still want to see a third KOTOR game, though.

Re:LucasArts wants original games now? (1)

despisethesun (880261) | more than 8 years ago | (#15145957)

Fuck, I say "though" a lot.

Re:LucasArts wants original games now? (1)

Kelson (129150) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144433)

The difference in enjoyment between Kings Quest and Monkey Island is immeasurable..

Of course, it's been said that half the fun of the King's Quest series was finding the different ways your character could die...

lucasarts and unique/quality ideas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15143490)

I haven't bought a lucasarts game in a long time. The last was the last Monkey Island game. Yes, it is true I enjoy adventure games, but I'm not a person who is stuck in the era of adventure gaming. I buy games with entertaining stories and compelling gameplay...things like Half-Life 2, Psychonauts, and even FEAR. But lucasarts has been shoveling games that lack the creativity that their earlier games had. Adventure games are somewhat unpopular now when compared to action games, however I expected LucasArts to lead the industry in finding the balance of good storytelling, deep puzzle solving that requires real thought, and the feeling of having wide open options, even if its an illusion. I had hoped LucasArts would take adventure gaming to the next level. Sadly, they abandoned the challenge as being nonprofitable and moved on. Its better to mimic others and make money than make unique games and lose money because you have trouble with marketing.

I think there is a space for someone to revitalize adventure gaming. Many have tried, and have really only created 3D interfaces to the classic sierra-style adventure game, and mixed in elements of Myst. There have been some japanese games that successfully mixed classic adventure gaming style with cutting edge 3D graphics, but not LucasArts.

Jim doesn't know what we want (1)

stmr (853326) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143530)

Tie-fighter versus X-Wing. All out outerspace war. Online. 32 versus 32 player team deathmatch servers.

Put a medical frigate on one side and a star destroyer on the other side. User select aircrafts (X-Wing, Tie-Defender, etc...) And then FIGHT.

Still more Star Wars to flog.. (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143645)

And perhaps most important, Mr. Lucas has no plans to make any more 'Star Wars' movies.

So nobody's told LucasArts about the upcoming TV series? [slashdot.org] I'm sure something based on that will be thrown at us when the time comes.

Good to here it (2, Interesting)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143646)

That they are not a "Star Wars" game company. God knows that nobody is interested in Star Wars anymore.

Lucas Arts has made some pretty interesting and innovative games in the past, like Grim Fandango and Full Throttle. I wish they would bring back some of the talent behind those games, and ACTUALLY produce a non Star Wars game, then at least that statement wouldn't be moronic.

Anything to do with Lucas-X these days is so wrapped up in Star Wars, George needs some therapy because he can't let it go. A Star Wars television series? Endless tie in games and merchandising products?

When does someones obsession and love of something turn into a reason to go to the loony bin, I think George has long since passed that point.

Lucasarts will have to pull some gems out of their asses if they hope to ride out the current downturn in video games. We are nearing another video game drought, like back in the 80's with the Atari. Game are just not inventive and innovative anymore. Video gaming bottomed out in the 80's because Atari kept pumping out the same old tired titles. Stick figures bouncing around on a static screen with two bit sound effects. People got tired of essentially playing the same game back in the 80's.

People are getting tired of essentially playing the same game, now, in 2006. Quake 4, Doom 3, HL2, Star Wars: Whatever. MMORPGs that go no where. I actually think ALL next gen game consoles will bomb and the Xbox360 is off to a good start (for bombing that is).

Game companies have grown too complacent and used to the idea that by spinning off another game based on a successful franchise, your going to make millions in profit. Every MAJOR game developer currently is working on a SEQUEL. Smaller game developers are simply cloning big game franchise and offering some moderate twists and variations of a theme.

People are getting tired of the same old.

So, hopefully Lucasarts will find some new novel and innovative theme to focus on (not obsess over) and come out with some NEW gaming franchises. Until that happens, it is laughable to think that LucasArts ISN'T a Star Wars crap factory.

Re:Good to here it (1)

danpsmith (922127) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144219)

Game companies have grown too complacent and used to the idea that by spinning off another game based on a successful franchise, your going to make millions in profit. Every MAJOR game developer currently is working on a SEQUEL. Smaller game developers are simply cloning big game franchise and offering some moderate twists and variations of a theme.

Not everyone is in this, see Will Wright and spore....

Re:Good to here it (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 8 years ago | (#15146858)

See Will Wright and...
  1. Sim City 4
  2. The Sims 2

Re:Good to here it (2, Informative)

claytongulick (725397) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144454)

MMORPGs that go no where.

Please check out Auto Assault before making a sweeping statement like that.

In fact, the "next gen" of MMO games are a radical improvement over the EQ/EQ2/WoW/DAoC type "Kill a rat, so you can level, so you can kill a bigger rat, so you can get a Shiny Sword Of Beatdown, so you can kill a bigger rat..."

I just bought Auto Assault a couple days ago, and I'm totally and completely blown away.

Re:Good to here it (1)

mrobin604 (70201) | more than 8 years ago | (#15146638)

I hope they've improved their lag compensation on the game... the vehicle physics would get super flaky with bad latency.

Also, mini loads every time you move between zones SUCK. What the hell, it's a PC game! There's no excuse for that.

Manny Calavera! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15143772)

Bring this skeleton back!

The sequel we're really looking forward to... (1)

mypalmike (454265) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143805)

Rescue on Fractalus II.

No, seriously.

Stop with the FUD (2, Insightful)

zerocool^ (112121) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143827)


"[Ward's] most challenging days may be ahead. The videogame industry has been in the doldrums for months; video game sales are lagging as consumers wait to buy the next generation of consoles, including the PlayStation 3.

This statement has made the rounds from CNN to MaximumPC to Slashdot to probably Fox News.

Video game sales have decreased in retail markets. This is not an industry crisis; it is a paradigm shift. What hasn't been decreasing are revenues in areas which here-to-fore did not exist. Steam is not making less money than it did in 2000. People are willing to buy games online and download them. Even if CS:S turns your brain to mush and is addictive as sweet, sweet heroin. But, guess who didn't get a sale. Best Buy.

Another factor in Video Game sales is persistant subscription sales models. It is completely inexplicable that these people don't mention MMO profits. At 5 million subscriptions times $15/month each, and this warrants italics, Blizzard will make $900,000,000 [NINE HUNDRED MILLION] gross this year on WoW. That a nine, with 8 zeros behind it. That's a license to print money. And that's not counting EQ2, AO, DAoC, Eve, and others.

Yes, there is a slump in video game purchases right now. There aren't any must have games; everyone is waiting for X, Y, or Z. But THAT'S HOW IT'S ALWAYS BEEN. It's not the automobile industry; there's not a new model released every year. NES = 1985, SNES = 1992. Ish. What happened in the interum? A falloff of game sales. It goes in cycles. IT'S NORMAL. You know what happens when a Must Have Game comes out? [rpgamer.com] People buy it [rpgamer.com] .*

When you couple that with the fact that ONE IN 45 AMERICANS PLAYS WOW, you start to see what people are doing with their time. And most of the infants and nursing home patrons aren't playing. It's the coveted 18-34 demographic.

So, STFU & GBTW.

~W

*"Dragon Quest VIII was released in Japan in November 27, 2004 and sold more then three million units in its opening weekend. Shipments in North America have topped 430,000 since its release on November 17, 2005. European gamers can look forward to the game arriving in April." (Jan 30 2006). I have this game. It's great.

Re:Stop with the FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15144591)

> When you couple that with the fact that ONE IN 45 AMERICANS PLAYS WOW, you start to see what people are doing with their time. And most of the infants and nursing home patrons aren't playing. It's the coveted 18-34 demographic.

Not to detract from the parent's well made point, but surely nobody here believes that if 1/45 of the population is doing it then that explains what "everyone" is doing with their time? Would anyone here care to wager whether more Americans 18-34 smoke pot or play WoW? My money is on the pot smokers, and I wouldn't consider them to be mainstream either. In fact, ... no nevermind, I'll let the reader make his/her own analogies and/or correlation predictions. :-)

In all seriousness: I bet there are at least twice as many 18-34's that spend an 4 hours/week in the bar as there are that spend 14 hours/week on WoW. Care to guess how much it costs to spend 3 hours/week in the bar? Hint: Substantially more than a WoW subscription.

Re:Stop with the FUD (1)

Orrin Bloquy (898571) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144886)

In all seriousness: I bet there are at least twice as many 18-34's that spend an 4 hours/week in the bar as there are that spend 14 hours/week on WoW. Care to guess how much it costs to spend 3 hours/week in the bar? Hint: Substantially more than a WoW subscription.

Yes, but the ROI on my peener getting to be moistened by something other than vaseline at the end of the night speaks for itself.

Re:Stop with the FUD (1)

despisethesun (880261) | more than 8 years ago | (#15145976)

Care to guess how much it costs to spend 3 hours/week in the bar? Hint: Substantially more than a WoW subscription.

Not if your friends are buying the beer. :D

Re:Stop with the FUD (1)

JWhiton (215050) | more than 8 years ago | (#15145053)

You make some interesting points, but some of your statistics seem a tad misleading.

I pay the WoW fee myself and I think it's closer to $13 a month, and it gets cheaper if you pay for longer periods of time. I believe they just announced they hit the 6 million subscriber mark.

The 1/45 Americans play WoW claim is probably far too optimistic. Going by your numbers, 5 million * 45 = 225 million Americans. The CIA World Factbook lists the US population as 298 million. Also, that 6 million subscriber mark refers to subscribers worldwide, not only in the United States. Blizzard has a large presence in Korea and China, and the pay system for the Chinese version of WoW is different from the subscriber model in the US. I've heard that you pay by the hour to play it in China, and so there's probably many accounts made by people who played for short periods of time or play only intermittently (but they still probably count it towards their subscriber count). Furthermore, most Chinese don't have US $13-15 a month to spend on games, so the price is lower.

It's still a phenomenally successful game, but you'd need a more advanced model to see what their revenue is. It also costs a lot of upkeep to run a game like WoW - server hardware, people to maintain all that hardware and the game software, and content developers so people don't get bored and quit. Blizzard plays their cards pretty close to their chests so I don't think us schmos can easily find out how much profit it makes them.

They were number 1 (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 8 years ago | (#15143845)

Once, in a galaxy far far away. Eh better stop before I get sued.

Nonetheless at one time they were a top game company producing quality titles that people fondly remember. Indiana and the Fate of Atlantis. X-wing. Monkey Island. Battle of Britain and Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe (not the crappy sequel).

Adventurs with a hint of flightsim seemed to be Lucasarts strong point.

Then things went a bit amiss. We got some weird strategy titles, "afterlife". A crappy FMV star wars game.

They also handycapped existing games. Was it Monkey Island 3 or 4 that had that weird 3d control system that made it pain just to walk around all because Lucasarts thought point&click was death? Point&Click didn't die. Mr Lucas killed it.

The x-wing series in my eyes went down hill as well after tie-fighter by turning it more and more into a missle sim instead of a dogfighting sim. They even add chaff for crying out loud.

Games like Jedi Knight were okay but again they seemed determined to destroy their own success. The first time it was a star wars skin for doom BUT it was Doom + Star Wars so that was okay. The second time they gave us an engine capable of creating the giantness that is Star Wars. Then the third time (not counting the expansion) they put is in a Quake engine. Yuck. Gone were the GIGANTIC enviroments.

To me lucasarts went from a A list company to another has been. Following Sierra but not entirely disappearing like MicroProse.

If this guy wants to be number 1 he needs to realise that once the company had that position, then find what made them loose it and reverse it.

Pity it would probably involve sacking himself.

For myself I pinpoint Lucasarts true declice the moment you started one of their games and got some third party game company logo during the intro. I believe it was in X-wing vs Tie-Fighter that this happened for the first time.

The current Empires at wars made me nostalgic for a x-wing upgrade. Gigantic space battles please. No missles. I want to duck and weave and blast ties and weave between star destroyers with artoo-detoo bleeping in my ear.

Will this happen? Offcourse not.

Re:They were number 1 (1)

EmperorKagato (689705) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144055)

"The x-wing series in my eyes went down hill as well after tie-fighter by turning it more and more into a missle sim instead of a dogfighting sim. They even add chaff for crying out loud."

I see someone didn't accel in their Tie Fighter, Tie Interceptor or X-wing training.

Flares are a more effective countermeasure(since there is a glitch to turn them into aft missles)

Also you can target missles.

If you were in a X-Wing you can drop laser maintenance and shield maintenance to speed up(if you had a beam t's even better), fire a flare, avoid the missle, and trick the bogey's sensors into a missle warning.(If they are up close)

If you were in a Tie Fighter or Tie Intercepter with a beam you can acheive speeds up to 150 (? units /s) and beyond and be able to dodge everything!

You can get a lot of practice in on failed missions when your entire fleet has left you behind.

If i had my mission, co-op mission and skirmish stats still available you would see that most kills came from laser fire. It is difficult to get a successful missle hit against Tie Fighters. It's even more difficult to take out Xwings, Tie Intercepters and Tie Alphas with missles alone.

Re:They were number 1 (1)

Qetu (732155) | more than 8 years ago | (#15145731)

I enjoyed playing TIE Fighter the most. I haven't played XvT yet. Was there chaff in TIE Fighter? Can't remember using it.

Anyway TIE = Maneuverability, XWing = Shields.
Of course, TIE Advanced upped the ante (And the TIE Defender was bollocks!)

It's not hard to target a missile trying to blow you up, accelerate, turn around, approach it from the side and blow it up with concentrated laser fire. More than one, though ...

I think the real fun was in managing your energy to address every situation. I'll try to rescue my Order of the Emperor tattoos. :)

Re:They were number 1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15146528)

Anyway TIE = Maneuverability, XWing = Shields.
Of course, TIE Advanced upped the ante (And the TIE Defender was bollocks!)


The Tie Defender was utter bollocks indeed. The TIE Advanced was okay.

My personal favorite was the A-wing. Small, fast, maneuverable. I hated flying the Y-wing. I remember taking out Star Destroyers alone, with only an A-wing. That sucked a little. The Star Destroyer should've been better at defending itself. :)

Gods how I wish for a new game such as X-Wing. Unfortunately it'll probably be windows-only, which means I won't buy it. :~-(

Re:They were number 1 (1)

MrNiceguy_KS (800771) | more than 8 years ago | (#15146788)

I think TIE Fighter was unfortunately the high point in the series. XvT added the chaff/flares, but the real problem was that it was geared way too heavily toward multiplayer back in modem days. Not to mention the MSN Gaming zone. (Seriously, nobody mention it, please. Too many painful memories.)

XWing Alliance seemed promising with an actual single-player story, until you realize that half of the single-player campaign involves you sitting in the turret of your cargo ship playing "Shooting gallery" with a few dozen incoming missiles. I got mid-way through Alliance till I got stuck on a mission where you have to protect a satelite and an idiot in a space suit. At that point, I realized it just wasn't fun. I enjoyed the missions I was flying as an Alliance fighter pilot. But the "Family cargo business" missions just got worse and worse.

I remember the thrill of TIE Fighter. I remember dodging laser fire from a capital ship so I could get in close, skimming along the surface, heading for the shield protectors and taking potshots at laser batteries on the way. I remember the time I took down a Victory-class Star Destroyer using a TIE Interceptor. Heck, I remember doing the Death-Star trench run in the original X-Wing. Supposedly the last level of Alliance let you fly the Millenium Falcon to take down the second Death Star, but I never saw that level. It just wasn't worth it.

Re:They were number 1 (1)

Impotent_Emperor (681409) | more than 8 years ago | (#15146940)

There were some cool Rebel missions in the later half. One involves the freighter Suprosa (from the expanded universe). Another, you are jumping between groups of rebel ships trying to escort them to a rendevous.

Of course, the Family missions screw you in the end by not giving you a definite closure on the story.

By the way, I believe X-wing Alliance does allow you to skip missions. (You may have to fail the mission first, though.) Or perhaps they don't allow you to skip family missions, now that I think about it...

Don't forget about LOOM (1)

NewmanBlur (923584) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144107)

These guys [apeirongames.de.vu] are working on a fan-made follow-up to LOOM, which was one of the most interesting games of it's (or any) time. They haven't released anything on this, so who knows if it'll be any good, but I like the idea.

If Lucasarts wants to be a top developer, they should probably be taking the hint from these guys, and building up it's portfolio of francises. It's kind of weird that they didn't, because as many here have pointed out, they had several excellent games, and most of the Star Wars games have been crap, especially the old ones.

Not due to waiting for next gen... (2, Insightful)

rAiNsT0rm (877553) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144155)

I cringe every time I see this phrase uttered in the media. It appears on Slashdot in every single story of this nature, and it is completely FALSE.

Game sales have been down for the whole of 2005 and 2004 was a declining year too. The decline is not tied in any way shape or form to the next gen systems. Take a look at the actuale sales numbers for 04 and 05, and 06 even. The solid titles have sold as they should and at the same rate as most other games of their type from years before. The problem is how few 1 million+ selling games have been made in recent time.

This statement that sales are down due to gamer anticipation has been proven false a number of times by a number of analysts. Let's stop clinging to this falsehood. Call a spade a spade, game sales are down because most everything made is derivative and shallow as well as so similar to the next game that demand is not there. The innovative titles are doing fine.

Nintendogs, Brain Trainer, Oblivion, Guitar Hero, etc. Marc Ecko's "Getting Up" is not... because it sucks ass... not because people are waiting to play Marc Ecko's "Getting Up, Again" in HD on Blu-Ray in their PS3.

Afterlife (1)

Entropy248 (588290) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144187)

Bring back Afterlife! That was the most amazing SimCity type game I've ever played! I still play it today, a decade later. It's no longer slow as hell to load on my dual Pentiums! In Afterlife, you play as the Demiurge of heaven and hell. You build an afterlife in the SimCity style, with 7 zones (1 for each deadly sin or blessed virtue). There's even a way to affect the planet; you can greatly influence the beliefs, virtues, and vices of an entire world. Imagine playing 2 games of connected SimCity simultaneously while laughing at the building descriptions, animated helper characters, and the terrific sense of humor of the game's designers (Love is never having to say 74% complete... LOADING). The PC version of this game is the 1 true canon here; the console versions were garbage in comparison. The mouse is a truly important element in controlling in any simulation type game.

Sales are down because innovation is down... (1)

danpsmith (922127) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144417)

It's pretty sad when you leave a complete genre in the dirt in order to pursue a more generalized and clunky system for controlling characters. Adventure games weren't supposed to be platformers, or 3d fighting games, or any of the stuff that these companies tried to turn them into just before pulling the plug entirely, and then they wondered why all their legacy titles "new updated versions" didn't sell well.

Anyone that says that "point-and-click is dead" obviously never played the Sims...Which just happens to be a great selling title for EA and uses ALL point-and-click.

The fact remains that point-and-click, for 3rd person adventure games still remains probably the best method of control for a PC. Adventure games aren't supposed to be about navigating the environment in the same way as other games. The death of the quest for glory, kings quest, and indiana jones series were definitely when they stepped out of the genre of point and click, fun, light, mind adventures, into the world of 3rd person, poorly designed navigation. I actually still kind of liked the charm of QFG5's story despite the absolutely horrible controls and very cumbersome fight interface. They could've easily slapped on 3d engines to this relatively simple point-and-click model, but instead these companies tried to fit a stereotype and lost. The death of point and click adventures is something that is seriously tragic for PC gaming. And I believe it killed the reputations of both Sierra and Lucasarts.

Re:Sales are down because innovation is down... (1)

Jarlsberg (643324) | more than 8 years ago | (#15146995)

Sierra died due to a corporate buyout. They released quality games until the end... Man, I miss the Quest games...

The game we're all waiting for (1)

darthservo (942083) | more than 8 years ago | (#15145230)

Oh, come on people! What's all this clamor for a new XvT or MI? We all know we're really looking for a new PipeDream [chello.at] title.

you know what id like to see... (1)

panic911 (224370) | more than 8 years ago | (#15145985)

another indiana jones game with the same quality (but maybe more "2006") as fate of atlantis. that was one of the best games of all time imo... and that was a lucasarts game.

What no... (1)

smaffei (565629) | more than 8 years ago | (#15146443)

1. Grand Theft X-Wing
2. The Sims : Jedi Edition
3. Super Vader Kart

Re:What no... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15146795)

Sadly, there already was a Super Vader Kart [gamespot.com] .

Yeah Right. Not with those Quality Standards (1)

Sarusa (104047) | more than 8 years ago | (#15146498)

These are the guys who right after (before?) Jim gave his interview with Game Informer about how Lucas Arts was now rededicated to bringing out Quality Games forced Obsidian to kick Knights of the Old Republic 2 out the door with the entire ending chopped off (much of it still buried away in the distribution!) and a severely disappointing half-assed ending tacked on.

And then of course there's Star Wars Galaxies but everyone's mentioned that. Lucas Arts is hardly the brown coffee stain of quality. They make crappy games that they hope the mass market will buy because of the Star Wars name. And occasionally a game that doesn't completely suck like Empires at War makes it out anyhow. Presumably because at least some of the developers have some pride and that didn't clash with the budget numbers.
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