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LucasArts
Type Subsidiary
Founded May 1982 (as Lucasfilm Games LLC)
Headquarters San Francisco, California, United States
Key people George Lucas (Chairman)
Darrell Rodriguez (President)
Industry Video games
Products Star Wars video games,
Graphic adventure games
Employees 350+[1]
Parent Lucasfilm
Website http://www.lucasarts.com

LucasArts Entertainment Company LLC[2] is an American video game developer and publisher. The company was famous for its innovative line of graphic adventure games, the critical and commercial success of which peaked in the mid 1990s. Today, it mainly publishes games based on the Star Wars franchise.

Contents

Company history

The company was founded in May 1982 as the video game development group of Lucasfilm Limited, the film production company of George Lucas. Lucas had wanted his company to branch out into other areas of entertainment, and so he cooperated with Atari to produce video games.

The first results of this collaboration were unique action games like Ballblazer and Rescue on Fractalus!. Beta versions of both games were leaked to pirate bulletin boards exactly one week after Atari received unprotected copies for a marketing review, and were in wide circulation months before the original release date. In 1984, they were released for the Atari 5200 under the Lucasfilm Games label. Versions for home computers were not released until 1985, by publisher Epyx. Lucasfilm's next two games were Koronis Rift and The Eidolon. Their first games were only developed by Lucasfilm, and a publisher would distribute the games. Atari published their games for Atari systems, Activision and Epyx would do their computer publishing. Maniac Mansion was one of the first games to be published and developed by Lucasfilm Games.

In 1990, in a reorganization of the Lucas companies, the Games Division of Lucasfilm became part of the newly created LucasArts Entertainment Company, together with Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound. Later ILM and Skywalker Sound were consolidated in Lucas Digital Ltd. and LucasArts became the official name of the former Games Division.

The "Gold Guy" LucasArts logo (1991–2005)

The original Lucasfilm Games logo was based upon the existing Lucasfilm movie logo. There were a number of variations on it.

The long-lived LucasArts logo, affectionately known as the "Gold Guy", was introduced in 1991 and consisted of a crude gold-colored figure resembling a petroglyph, standing on a purple letter "L" inscribed with the company name. The figure had its hands up in the air, as if a sun was rising from behind him. It was also said to resemble an eye, with the rays of the sun as eyelashes. The logo was revised in late 2005, losing the letter "L" pedestal and introducing a more rounded version of the gold-colored figure. In the games, the figure sometimes does an action like throw a lightsaber or cast Force Lightning. The logo is possibly a reference to the ending of George Lucas' first film, THX 1138, in which the silhouette of the main character stands with his arms raised during sunset.

The disputed Remedy Entertainment logo

In 1998, LucasArts approached the Finnish game developer Remedy Entertainment, citing that their logo was copied from the top portion of the LucasArts logo and threatening legal action.[3] Remedy was by that time already in the process of redesigning their logo, so they complied by taking the old logo offline from their website and introducing a new logo a little later.

Adventure games

The first adventure game developed by Lucasfilm Games was Labyrinth (1986), based on the Lucasfilm movie of the same name. ICOM's Deja Vu inspired the 1987 title Maniac Mansion which introduced SCUMM, the scripting language behind most of the company's later adventure offerings. The adventures released in the following years, such as Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders (1988), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure (1989), LOOM (1990) and especially the critically-acclaimed The Secret of Monkey Island (1990), helped Lucasfilm Games build a reputation as one of the leading developers in the genre. It was often referred to as one of the two big names in the field, competing with Sierra On-line as a developer of high quality adventures. The first half of the 1990s was the heyday for the company's adventure fame, with classic titles such as Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge (1991), Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (1992) and the Maniac Mansion sequel Day of the Tentacle (1993).

In the latter half of the decade, the popularity of adventure games faded and the costs associated with game development increased as high-resolution art and CD quality audio became standard fare. The PC market wanted titles that would show off expensive new graphics cards to best effect, a change replicated in the home console market as the 3D capabilities of the PlayStation, Sega Saturn and Nintendo 64 dictated the nature of the majority of games produced for those platforms. The adventure genre—two-dimensional, focused on story, script and puzzle solving—was no longer popular with the masses of new gamers.

LucasArts still managed to release commercially moderately successful titles: The Curse of Monkey Island (1997) was the last LucasArts adventure game to retain traditional two-dimensional graphics and point-and-click interface. Grim Fandango (1998) was LucasArts' first attempt to convert 2D adventure to a 3D environment. The game interface suffered most from this conversion, with control of the protagonist becoming unwieldy and less intuitive than with the traditional mouse interface. However, the highly stylised visuals, superb voice acting and sophisticated writing more than made up for this flaw, earning Grim Fandango many plaudits, including GameSpot's Game of the Year award.[4]

Escape from Monkey Island (2000), the fourth installment to the Monkey Island series, featured the same control scheme as Grim Fandango and was generally well received. It is to date the last adventure game the company has released. A sequel to Full Throttle and a new Sam & Max game were in development but these projects were cancelled, in 2003 and 2004 respectively, before the games were finished. When the rights to the Sam and Max franchise expired in 2005, the creator of Sam and Max, Steve Purcell, took ownership. He then licensed Sam and Max to Telltale Games to be developed into an episodic game. Telltale Games is made up primarily of former LucasArts employees who had worked on the Sam and Max sequel and were let go after the project was canceled.[5]

LucasArts halted adventure game development for the next five years, focusing instead on their Star Wars games. They remained silent and did not re-release their old games on digital distribution platforms, as other studios were doing at the time. It was not until 2009 that LucasArts returned to the genre. On June 1, 2009, they announced both The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition, a remake of the original game with updated graphics, music and voice work, and Tales of Monkey Island, a new episodic installment in the Monkey Island series developed by Telltale Games

Then, on July 6, they announced that they would be re-releasing a number of their classic games, including Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis and LOOM, on Steam. The re-releases were, for the first time, native versions built for Microsoft Windows. This was the first time in many years that the studio had offered any support for its classic adventure titles.

The release of the unofficial SCUMM virtual machine, ScummVM, has led to something of a resurgence for LucasArts adventure games among present-day gamers. Using ScummVM, legacy adventure titles can easily be run on modern computers and even more unusual platforms such as video game consoles, mobile phones and PDAs.

Military simulations

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Lucasfilm Games developed a series of military vehicle simulation games, the first of which were the naval simulations PHM Pegasus in 1986 and Strike Fleet in 1987.[6] These two titles were published by Electronic Arts for a variety of computer platforms, including PC, Commodore 64 and Apple II.

In 1988, Battlehawks 1942 launched a trilogy of World War II air combat simulations, giving the player a chance to fly as an American or Japanese pilot in the Pacific Theater. Battlehawks 1942 was followed by Their Finest Hour: The Battle of Britain (1989), recreating the battle between the Luftwaffe and RAF for Britain's air supremacy. The trilogy ended with Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe in 1991, in which the player could choose to fly on either the American or German side. The trilogy was lauded for its historical accuracy and detailed supplementary material—Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe, for instance, was accompanied by a 224-page historical manual.

The World War II trilogy was created by a team led by Lawrence Holland, a game designer who later founded Totally Games. Totally Games would continue to develop games almost exclusively to LucasArts, the most noted outcome of the symbiosis being the X-Wing series. They were also responsible for LucasArts' 2003 return to the aerial battles of World War II with Secret Weapons Over Normandy, a title released on PlayStation 2, Xbox and PC.

First Star Wars games

Even though LucasArts had created games based on other Lucasfilm properties before (Labyrinth, Indiana Jones), they did not use the most promising Lucasfilm license until the early 1990s: Star Wars action games began appearing on the Nintendo consoles, but were developed by other companies for LucasArts. The first in-house development was the space combat simulator X-Wing, developed by Larry Holland's team, which went on to spawn a successful series.

The CD-ROM-only Star Wars game Rebel Assault became one of the biggest successes of the company and was considered a killer app for CD-ROM drives in the early 1990s.

From 2005 to 2007, LucasArts published the three games in the Lego Star Wars series.

First-person shooters

After the unprecedented success of id Software's Doom the PC gaming market shifted towards production of three-dimensional first person shooters. LucasArts contributed to this trend with the 1995 release of Star Wars: Dark Forces, a first person shooter that successfully transplanted the Doom formula to a Star Wars setting. The Dark Forces Strategy guide claims that development was well underway before Doom was released and that the game was pushed back once Doom hit shelves so that it could be polished. The game was well received and spawned a new franchise: the Jedi Knight games. This began with the sequel to Dark Forces, Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II released in 1997; this game reflected the changing face of PC gaming, being one of the first games to appreciably benefit when used in conjunction with a dedicated 3D graphics card like 3dfx's Voodoo range. The game received an expansion pack, Mysteries of the Sith, in 1998 and a full sequel in 2002 with Star Wars: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast. 2003's Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy can be seen as a spin-off from the series, but was less well received by reviewers, who complained that the franchise was becoming formulaic.

Apart from Star Wars-themed 3D shooters, LucasArts also created the western-themed game Outlaws in 1997 and Armed and Dangerous (in collaboration with Planet Moon Studios) in 2003.

In the New Millennium

As the quantity of Star Wars games increased, many critics felt the quality began to drop; this was especially noted with the titles released since the cinematic release of The Phantom Menace.

In 2002, LucasArts recognized that the over-reliance on Star Wars was reducing the quality of its output, and announced that future releases would be at least 50% non-Star Wars-related. However, many of the original titles were either unsuccessful or even cancelled before release and currently LucasArts has again mainly Star Wars titles in production.

2003 saw the fruitful collaboration of LucasArts and BioWare on the exceptionally well reviewed role-playing game, Knights of the Old Republic. Combining a three-dimensional environment with the type of storytelling and writing that made LucasArts' early adventure games so memorable, this game was seen as breathing new life into the Star Wars franchise. Its 2004 sequel Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords continued in the same vein, attempting to adopt a similar template as the original, uniting voice acting with an unfolding story which picked up where the last game left off. However, LucasArts was criticized for forcing the developer Obsidian Entertainment to release the sequel too early, resulting in a significant amount of unfinished content being cut from the game and what many consider to be a disappointing and convoluted storyline with an incomplete ending. Also the rush release of this game to the PC platform caused many bugs and crashes. This still has not been fixed by patches.

In 2003 LucasArts and the Star Wars franchise also branched out in a new direction—the world of the MMORPG, with the creation of Star Wars Galaxies. After a successful launch, the first expansion, Jump to Lightspeed, was released in 2004. The new expansion featured the addition of real-time space combat. This was continued in Rage of the Wookies, an additional expansion which added an additional planet for users to explore. Also, a new expansion, Trials of Obi-Wan was released on November 1, 2005 consisting of several new missions focusing on the Episode 3 planet, Mustafar. While Star Wars Galaxies still retains a devoted following, it has also alienated many players. Although it is currently the most popular class in the game, Star Wars Galaxies has chosen to ignore the timeline established in the original films, during which the game is set, and has allowed players to play as Jedi characters. The game has also undergone several major redesigns, which have been received with decidedly mixed reactions by players. Perhaps in one of the most telling examples of problems with the game, smugglers are actually still unable to smuggle, over three years after the game launched. Improvements into the game are still undergoing with the publish plan giving all the combat and non-combat professions diversity in skill tree boxes similar to the well-known MMO World of Warcraft.

Restructuring under Jim Ward

In April 2004, Jim Ward, VP of marketing, online and global distributions at Lucasfilm, was appointed president of LucasArts.[7] Ward performed a top-to-bottom audit of LucasArts infrastructure, describing the company's state as "quite a mess."[8] In 2003, LucasArts had reportedly grossed just over $100 million according to NPD, primarily from its Star Wars titles – significantly less than the grosses from the year's top single titles such as Halo.[7] Ward produced a five-year investment plan to refit the company. Previous Star Wars games had been produced by external developers such as Raven Software, Bioware and Obsidian; Ward now prioritized making LucasArts' internal game development work effectively and adapt to the evolving games industry. Star Wars: Battlefront, Star Wars: Republic Commando, and Star Wars: Episode III survived cuts that closed down other in-development games and reduced staff from about 450 to 190 employees.[8]

In 2004, LucasArts released Star Wars: Battlefront, based on the same formula as the popular Battlefield series of games. It ended up becoming the best-selling Star Wars game of all time to that point, aided by a marketing tie-in with the original trilogy DVD release.[9] Its sequel, Star Wars: Battlefront II, was released November 1, 2005 and features new locales such as Episode III planets Mustafar, Mygeeto, etc., in addition to space combat, playable Jedi, and new special units like Bothan spies and Imperial officers.

In May 2005, LucasArts released Revenge of the Sith, a third person action game based on the film. Also in 2005, LucasArts released Star Wars: Republic Commando, and one of their few non-Star Wars games, Mercenaries, developed by Pandemic Studios.

On February 16, 2006, LucasArts released Star Wars: Empire at War, a real-time strategy game developed by Petroglyph. September 12, 2006 saw the release of Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy, the sequel to the popular Lego Star Wars: The Video Game. Lego Star Wars II follows the same basic format as the first game, but, as the name indicates, covers the original Star Wars trilogy. On September 16, 2008, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed was released to mixed reviews, though quickly became the best-selling Star Wars game of all time.

Jim Ward left the company early February 2008, for personal reasons. He was replaced by Howard Roffman as interim president, with Darrell Rodriguez taking Roffman's place in April 2008.[10][11]

Future

In a 2006 GameSpot interview, Monkey Island co-creator Ron Gilbert claimed that the true secret of Monkey Island has yet to be revealed, and that he wished to make a fifth Monkey Island game to conclude the series.[12] During television network G4's coverage of the 2006 E3 Convention, a LucasArts executive was asked about the return of popular franchises such as Monkey Island. The executive responded that the company was currently focusing on new franchises, and that LucasArts may return to the "classic franchises" in 2015, though it was unclear as to whether the date was put forwards as an actual projection, or hyperbole.[13]

On June 1, 2009, LucasArts announced a re-imagining of the Secret of Monkey Island titled The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition. This release includes updates graphics, sound and music, and full voice acting. In addition, LucasArts also announced a new episodic game in the Monkey Island franchise titled "Tales of Monkey Island".

The successor to Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II The Sith Lords has been announced in the form of the MMORPG Star Wars: The Old Republic, currently under development by BioWare.[14]

In May 2007, LucasArts announced Fracture and stated that "new intellectual properties serve a vital role to the growth of LucasArts". Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction was labelled the number one new IP in 2005 and Thrillville the number one new children's IP in 2006.[15] Free Radical Design announced that they lost the rights to develop Star Wars: Battlefront III in October, prior to them going into administration. It had been in development for two years.[16] They will also publish Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Republic Heroes for all current systems.[17]

Other releases

From 1995 to 1998, LucasArts released an annual compilation of games, the LucasArts Archives series, each containing three to six games plus a selection of demos of recent and upcoming games. The second and fourth volumes of LucasArts Archives were Star Wars-themed. Later games published under the LucasArts Archives brand were budget-priced reissues of individual games.

In 1996, LucasArts released Afterlife, a sim game in which the player builds their own Heaven and Hell, with several jokes and puns (such as a prison in Hell called San Quentin Tarantino). In 2002, LucasArts released a compilation CD filled with music from their past games. The album is titled The Best of LucasArts Original Soundtracks and features music from The Monkey Island Series, Grim Fandango, Outlaws, and The Dig.

A video game titled Traxion was announced. Traxion was a rhythm game which was under development for the PlayStation Portable by British developer Kuju Entertainment, scheduled to be released in Q4 2006 by LucasArts, but was instead cancelled in January 2007. The game was to feature a number of minigames, and would support imported songs from the player's own mp3 library as well as the game's bundled collection.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ "Key facts". LucasArts. Archived from the original on January 4, 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20070104151519/http://www.lucasarts.com/press/keyfacts.htm. Retrieved 2009-08-30.  
  2. ^ LucasArts (June 20, 2000). "LucasArts Entertainment Company Names New Director Of Business Affairs". Press release. http://www.lucasarts.com/company/release/news20000620.html. Retrieved 2009-08-30.  
  3. ^ Siegler, Joe (July 17, 1998). "Remedy Entertainment & Lucasarts". 3D Realms. http://www.3drealms.com/news/1998/07/remedy_entertai.html. Retrieved 2009-08-30.  
  4. ^ "Game of the Year". GameSpot. 1998. http://www.gamespot.com/features/awards1998/gameofyear2.html. Retrieved 2009-08-30.  
  5. ^ Morganti, Emily (September 15, 2005). "Telltale Games secures rights to Sam & Max". Adventure Games. http://www.adventuregamers.com/newsitem.php?id=1061. Retrieved 2009-08-30.  
  6. ^ "Game History". LucasArts. http://www.lucasarts.com/company/about/page4.html. Retrieved 2009-08-30.  
  7. ^ a b Cohen, David S. (2005-02-13). "Is the force still with him? As 'Wars' end, Lucas empire is at a crossroads". Daily Variety (Reed Business Information).  
  8. ^ a b Smith, Rogue Leaders, 176.
  9. ^ Smith, Rogue Leaders, 177-179.
  10. ^ LucasArts (April 2, 2008). "Darrell Rodriguez Named President of LucasArts". Press release. http://www.lucasarts.com/company/release/news20080402.html. Retrieved 2009-08-30.  
  11. ^ Ling, Frank (April 2, 2008). "LucasArts president, Jim Ward, quits". Gamernode. http://gamernode.com/news/5823-lucasarts-president-jim-ward-quits/index.html. Retrieved 2009-08-30.  
  12. ^ Kasavin, Greg (June 30, 2006). "Designer Threads feat. Ron Gilbert". GameSpot. http://uk.gamespot.com/features/6153188/p-2.html. Retrieved 2009-08-30.  
  13. ^ "LucasArts Jim Ward talks Indiana Jones and Empire". G4Tv. May 11, 2006. http://www.g4tv.com/pile_player.aspx?video_key=11326. Retrieved 2007-05-28.  
  14. ^ Klepek, Patrick (October 21, 2008). "LucasArts, BioWare Confirm MMO 'Star Wars: The Old Republic'". MTV Multiplayer. http://multiplayerblog.mtv.com/2008/10/21/lucasarts-bioware-confirm-mmo-star-wars-the-old-republic/. Retrieved 2009-08-30.  
  15. ^ "LucasArts and Day 1 Studios Reshape Next-Generation Entertainment With Fracture™". LucasArts. May 2, 2007. http://www.lucasarts.com/company/release/news20070502.html. Retrieved 2009-08-30.  
  16. ^ Graft, Kris (December 18, 2008). "Source: Free Radical Locked Up". Edge. http://www.edge-online.com/features/source-free-radical-locked-up. Retrieved 2009-08-30.  
  17. ^ LucasArts (May 11, 2009). "Star Wars The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes Comes to the Rescue This September". Press release. http://www.lucasarts.com/company/release/news20090511.html. Retrieved 2009-05-16.  

References

External links


Strategy wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010
(Redirected to Category:LucasArts article)

From StrategyWiki, the free strategy guide and walkthrough wiki

LucasArts
LucasArts's company logo.
Founded May, 1982
Located San Fransisco, CA, USA
Website http://www.lucasarts.com/

LucasArts is an American video game developer and publisher. The company was famous for its line of graphic adventure games, although today it mainly publishes games based on the Star Wars franchise.

The company was founded in May 1982 as the video game development group of Lucasfilm Ltd., the film production company of George Lucas. Lucas had wanted his company to branch out into other areas of entertainment, and so he cooperated with Atari to produce video games.

The first results of this collaboration were unique action games like Ballblazer and Rescue on Fractalus!. Beta versions of both games were leaked to pirate bulletin boards exactly one week after Atari received unprotected copies for a marketing review, and were in wide circulation months before the original release date. In 1984, they were released for the Atari 5200 under the Lucasfilm Games label. Versions for home computers were not released until 1985, by publisher Epyx. Lucasfilm's next two games were Koronis Rift and The Eidolon.

In 1990, in a reorganization of the Lucas companies, the Games Division of Lucasfilm became part of the newly created LucasArts Entertainment Company, together with Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound. Later ILM and Skywalker Sound were consolidated in Lucas Digital Ltd. and LucasArts became the official name of the former Games Division.

Subcategories

This category has the following 3 subcategories, out of 3 total.

L

S

Pages in category "LucasArts"

The following 42 pages are in this category, out of 42 total.

C

D

E

F

G

I

L

  • Labyrinth
  • Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures
  • Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy
  • Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga
  • Lego Star Wars: The Video Game

M

  • Maniac Mansion: Day of the Tentacle
  • Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge

S

S cont.

  • Secret Weapons Over Normandy
  • The Secret of Monkey Island
  • Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron
  • Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
  • Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II
  • Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy
  • Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
  • Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader
  • Star Wars Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike
  • Star Wars The Clone Wars: Lightsaber Duels
  • Star Wars Trilogy Arcade
  • Star Wars: Battlefront
  • Star Wars: Battlefront II
  • Star Wars: Dark Forces
  • Star Wars: Empire at War

S cont.

  • Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption
  • Star Wars: Episode I Racer
  • Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds
  • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
  • Star Wars: Republic Commando
  • Star Wars: Rogue Squadron
  • Star Wars: TIE Fighter
  • Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic
  • Star Wars: X-Wing

T

  • Tales of Monkey Island: Launch of the Screaming Narwhal
  • Thrillville

Z


Gaming

Up to date as of January 31, 2010

From Wikia Gaming, your source for walkthroughs, games, guides, and more!

LucasArts
Official LucasArts logo
Type Private
Founded May, 1982
Headquarters San Francisco, CA, USA
Products
Parent Company N/A
Website http://www.lucasarts.com/


LucasArts Entertainment Company (sometimes shortened to LEC), is a video game developer and publisher. The company was famous for its line of point-and-click adventure games and today mainly produces games based on the Star Wars franchise.

Contents

Origins

The Lucasflim Games logo

The company had its beginnings in May 1982 in the Games Group of Lucasfilm Ltd., the film production company of George Lucas. Lucas had wanted his company to branch out into other areas of entertainment, and so he cooperated with Atari to produce video games. The first results of this collaboration were unique action games like Ballblazer and Rescue on Fractalus. However, they were not released at first because pirated copies were in circulation months before the original release date. In 1984, they were released for the Atari 5200 under the Lucasfilm Games label. Versions for home computers were not released until 1985, when publisher Epyx showed interest in the games.

The Adventure games

Lucasfilm Games released its first adventure game in 1986: Labyrinth, based on the Lucasfilm movie of the same name.

In 1987, the adventure game Maniac Mansion was released, which effectively spawned the subgenre of point-and-click adventure games. It was followed by more adventures of high quality and in the following years Lucasfilm built a reputation for producing the best games of the genre. Amongst the early LucasArts classics was the much-loved Monkey Island (later followed by three sequels), an adventure game notable for the quality of its comedic script, the absurd solutions to many of its puzzles and the invulnerability of its protagonist, which was quite an innovation in a genre where choosing the wrong thing to say could often result in instant death.

Simulations

The company also started producing military simulation games, the first of which were the naval simulations PHM Pegasus and Strike Fleet. In 1988, Battlehawks 1942 was released, later followed by Their Finest Hour and Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe. The WW2 Air Combat Trilogy, as it was later called, was created by Lawrence Holland's team, who later founded their own company in Totally Games.

The early 1990s

In 1990, in a reorganization of the Lucas companies, the Games Division of Lucasfilm became part of the newly created LucasArts Entertainment Company, together with Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound. Later ILM and Skywalker Sound were consolidated in Lucas Digital Ltd. and LucasArts became the official name of the former Games Division.

Even though LucasArts had created games based on other Lucasfilm properties before (Labyrinth, Indiana Jones), they didn't use the most promising Lucasfilm license until the early 1990s: Star Wars action games began appearing on the Nintendo consoles, but were developed by other companies for LucasArts. The first in-house development was the space combat simulator X-Wing, developed by Larry Holland's team, which went on to spawn a successful series.

The CD-ROM-only Star Wars game Rebel Assault became one of the biggest successes of the company and was considered a killer app for CD-ROM drives in the early 1990s. Another game that utilised the new technology of the CD-ROM drive was 1993's Day of the Tentacle, the first LucasArts adventure game to have a full spoken soundtrack available on the game's release rather than relying on text.

The first person shooter

After the unprecedented success of id Software's Doom the PC gaming market shifted towards production of three dimensional first person shooters. LucasArts contributed to this trend with the 1995 release of Star Wars: Dark Forces, a first person shooter that successfully transplanted the Doom formula to a Star Wars setting. The game was well received and spawned a new franchise: the Jedi Knight games. This began with the sequel to Dark Forces, Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II released in 1997; this game reflected the changing face of PC gaming, being one of the first games to appreciably benefit when used in conjunction with a dedicated 3d graphics card like 3dfx's Voodoo range. The game received an expansion pack, Mysteries of the Sith, in 1998 and a full sequel in 2002 with Star Wars: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast. 2003's Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy can be seen as a spin-off from the series, but was less well received by reviewers, who complained that the franchise was becoming formulaic.

Apart from Starwars-themed 3D shooters, LucasArts also created the western-themed game Outlaws in 1997.

In 2004, Lucasarts released Star Wars: Battlefront, based on the same formula as the popular Battlefield 1942 games. It has ended up being the best-selling Star Wars game of all time.

In 2005, Republic Commando was released, dubbed: "The Least Star Warsey Star Wars Game"

The last wave of LucasArts Adventure games 1997-2000

LucasArts' focus on three dimensional action games was detrimental to their line of adventures. The PC game market, traditionally the home of the adventure game, was being driven by technological change. The market wanted titles that would show off expensive new graphics cards to best effect, a change replicated in the home console market as the 3d capabilities of the Sony PlayStation and its competitors the Sega Saturn and Nintendo's N64 dictated the nature of the majority of games produced for those platforms. The adventure genre, two dimensional, focused on story, script and puzzle solving was seen as no longer popular with gamers.

However, there was a brief resurgence in the genre between 1997 and 2000. The Curse of Monkey Island was the last LucasArts adventure game to retain traditional two dimensional graphics and the tried-and-tested point and click interface. It was followed by Grim Fandango, arguably LucasArts' finest adventure game, and the first attempt to convert 2d adventure to the gimmick of 3d games. The game interface suffered most from this conversion, with control of the protagonist becoming unweildy and less intuitive than the traditional mouse interface. However, the highly stylised graphics, superb voice acting and sophisticated writing more than made up for this flaw. Escape from Monkey Island replicated Grim Fandango's graphical engine and control system, and was well reviewed. However, since then LucasArts have continued to prioritise action games over traditional adventure games, a consistent position that led to a sequel to Sam'n'Max Hit The Road being aborted in 2004 despite rumours that it was 85% complete. This, combined with the 2003 cancellation of a sequel to Full Throttle has led fans of adventure gaming to surmise that the traditional LucasArts adventure game is dead.

2000-Present

As the quantity of Star Wars games increased, many critics felt the quality began to drop; this was especially noted with the titles released since the cinematic release of The Phantom Menace.

In 2002, LucasArts recognized that the over-reliance on Star Wars was reducing the quality of its output, and announced that future releases would be at least 50% non-Star Wars-related. However, many of the original titles were either unsuccessful or even cancelled before release and currently LucasArts has again mainly Star Wars titles in production.

2003 saw the fruitful collaboration of LucasArts and BioWare on the exceptionally well reviewed role-playing game, Knights of the Old Republic. Combining a three dimensional environment with the type of storytelling and writing that made LucasArts' early adventure games so memorable, this game has been seen as breathing new life into the Star Wars franchise. Its 2005 sequel Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords continued in the same vein, uniting top notch voice acting with an absorbing unfolding story.

In 2003 LucasArts and the Star Wars franchise also branched out in a new direction—the world of the MMORPG, with the creation of Star Wars Galaxies. After a successful launch, the first expansion, Jump to Lightspeed, was released in 2004. The new expansion featured the addition of real time space combat.

In May 2005, LucasArts released Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, a third person action game based on the film. More Star Wars games are planned for later in the year, including Star Wars: Empire at War, a real-time strategy game developed by Petroglyph Games.

External links

  • Official LucasArts website
  • A fanpage dedicated to this company (with a strong accent on adventure gaming)
  • A fanpage dedicated to the Jedi Knight series
  • The Lucasfilm Computer Division Games Project is born by Peter Langston
Smallwikipedialogo.png This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at LucasArts. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Wikia Gaming, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 (unported) license. The content might also be available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

This article uses material from the "LucasArts" article on the Gaming wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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