With LucasArts’ X-Wing now 21 years old, it’s exciting to see this franchise come back around as these space simulator games were top notch back then, and probably still hold up well today. Most of my freshman year of college was enjoyed with this game, and sophomore year eaten up with TIE Fighter. Could this mean that the later space sims in the series, X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter and X-Wing Alliance, be up for release as well?
As for Knights of the Old Republic, calling this a classic makes me feel old – but it has been 11 years since the game first came out, and it remains one of the best stories set in the galaxy far, far away.
Open calls. UPDATE: “On Nov. 21, The Collegian reported false information in an article about a student cast in “Star Wars: Episode VII.” As far as The Collegian’s editors and reporters know, the part has not yet been cast. We apologize for this error. ”
Gaming.Kotaku has a lengthy write-up/expose on the last days – and games – of LucasArts. There’s plenty on the evolution of the game that was announced as 1313, and what was going on behind-the-scenes after the Disney sale. Interesting stuff – even for a non-gamer.
Star Wars Reads. A number of locations have been added to the StarWars.com list of venues participating on October 5. Ashley Eckstein, Timothy Zahn, Aaron Allston, Martha Wells, John Jackson Miller and many other EU luminaries will be attending events around the country. (Anyone else considering the Ann Arbor stop?)
Lists. John Williams’ theme for Star Wars tops a BBC poll of voter’s favorite soundtracks.
With the official word that Lucasfilm’s video game division, LucasArts, was being effectively shut down this week, there’s been a lot of reminiscing of the great titles that LucasArts had developed and some investigation for why the closing happened, and the search for a silver lining.
With the company’s re-alignment to solely focus on licensing Lucasfilm’s intellectual property to outside game developers, in-house game development has been shut down, finally cancelling Star Wars: 1313 and First Assault games. (See our guest column from Paul Ens suggesting that Dark Horse could turn these game projects into graphic novels.) I’ve rounded up some of the views on the closure, with a look at LucasArts’ recent history, and some tributes to the game company that started in 1982 and the people who worked there, as well as my own nostalgic look at some of the games that were part of my life.
Wednesday, it was announced that Disney is closing down LucasArts, the video game division of Lucasfilm. This news did not come as a surprise to me, nor likely to many who follow the storied company closely. In the process, an estimated 150 employees have been laid off, including friends and former colleagues of mine. To they who worked very hard everyday to bring interactive Star Wars entertainment to the fans, we wish the best of luck.
Like every aspect of Star Wars fandom, the pros and cons of this move will be hotly discussed and contested among fans, and perhaps I will join you when the wound has healed somewhat.
Meanwhile, for those who lament that they will never see cancelled LucasArts projects Star Wars: 1313 and Star Wars: First Assault, might I suggest that you may one day have a rescuer in Dark Horse Comics?
Kotaku reported and GameInformer confirmed with Lucasfilm that the company is in the process of shutting down LucasArts. Kotaku says that 150 have been laid off and both Star Wars: First Assault and Star Wars 1313 have been canceled. Variety is reporting that the layoffs are spilling over to Industrial Light & Magic as well.
Here’s part of the official statement:
“After evaluating our position in the games market, we’ve decided to shift LucasArts from an internal development to a licensing model, minimizing the company’s risk while achieving a broader portfolio of quality Star Wars games. As a result of this change, we’ve had layoffs across the organization. We are incredibly appreciative and proud of the talented teams who have been developing our new titles.”
This has expected for a while, and there was plenty of speculation that LucasArts was headed for the bin even before Disney was in the picture.
Unlike the ending of Clone Wars, reports of a possible LucasArts shutdown in the works are anything but surprising. While Kotaku’s report on the future of 1313 was mostly based on sources, the absence of the game – perhaps LucasArt’s hottest upcoming property – from any recent industry events is rather telling.
This week, another report from GamesIndustry International has been making the rounds. LucasArts told them that the speculation of a shutdown is “one hundred percent not true” and that “everything is moving ahead.”
Ex-employees are less optimistic, echoing much of what you’ll hear from gamers themselves these days:
The studio’s performance in recent years has not impressed former LucasArts employees. One ex-LucasArts employee had this to say: “The ‘business’ has been on life-support since the Star Wars license and subsequent development for their best title went to Bioware/EA. I’m frankly amazed that they’ve stayed in business this long. No stomach for truly original product, and slender means to produce their previous cash cows – Indy and Star Wars.”
Given Disney’s history with their gaming divisions, along with some other hints, you can’t blame anyone for worrying about the future of LucasArts these days.
Every time I see someone use the term ‘Jedis,’ I sigh.
Maybe it’s petty, but few things drive me battier than glaring Star Wars typos, particularly when they come from professional and semi-professional news outlets. Here are a few Star Wars terms and spellings every fan (and entertainment journalist) ought to know and use correctly in the years ahead.
I called David Fox right away and scribbled all the notes you see while I was talking to him. I told him how much I wanted to work at Lucasfilm, not because of Star Wars, but because I loved, “Ball Blaster.”
“Ball Blaster, eh?” he said.
“Yeah! I love Ball Blaster!” I said. It was true. I had broken a joystick playing that game on my Atari 800.
“Well, the name of the game is Ball Blazer.” Mr. Fox said, curtly. “It was only called Ball Blaster in the pirated version.”