Don’t Take the Disney Bait!The Dark Herald
“The Star Wars gaming galaxy is about to experience its own Big Bang.
“We’ve got a lot of stuff we’re ready to start sharing with fans,” Lucasfilm Games VP Douglas Reilly tells StarWars.com, “because we’ve been working quietly behind the scenes for a while now, waiting for this moment.”
And by “this moment,” Reilly is referring to a new direction and era for Star Wars and Lucasfilm gaming overall, as Lucasfilm Games is now opening the doors to developers that want to come play in the galaxy far, far away. ‘We’re looking to work with best-in-class teams that can make great games across all of our IP. We’ve got a team of professionals here at Lucasfilm Games who can work with the developers, shape the stories, shape the creative, shape the games, to make them really resonate with fans and deliver across a breadth of platforms, genres, and experiences so that all of our fans can enjoy the IPs that they know and love,’ he says.”
What makes this so sad is that Lucasfilm used to have one of the best gaming companies in the business as a subdivision.
LucasArts was damn near magical. It wasn’t just Star Wars although, games like Dark Forces, X-Wing, TIE Fighter and The Force Awakens were ground breakers. But there were daring and innovative titles that like Full Throttle, and the now legendary Grim Fandango.
There was it’s WWII flight simulators. It’s Monkey Island series and even adventure-puzzle games like Fate of Atlantis.
A new game from LucasArts was something everyone looked forward to… Or at least you had to pay attention when one of them was announced.
Sure, it had its failures all gaming companies do but there was something special about LucasArts.
Its biggest problem was, I’m afraid, its owner. George Lucas. Lucas would lose interest and wander off for months at a time and then suddenly re-engage. Take Star Wars 1313 for example.
This was going to be a game about bounty hunters working the lower levels of Coruscant. An intriguing subject. It was on my to-buy list. Then one dark morning George wanders into the LucasArts offices to look things over. He praises this game, which by this point was in very late development and announces that he wants the protagonist changed to Boba Fett.
1313 was going to be a third-person shooter. An FPS wouldn’t have been quite so devastating because you don’t see the character all that much just his gun and maybe his armored glove. But in a TPS game you see the back of the guy all the time and he is constantly interacting with the environment which affects shading, lighting and everything else. Also, all of the cut scenes were now useless. Because Lucas got a bug up his ass, Star Wars 1313 had to go back into development.
And sadly, it would never emerge.
Because of the Dark Times.
Because of the Empire.
Mickey the Great Terrible doesn’t really trust himself when it comes to computer games. He’s been burned repeatedly by his own incompetence. There have been several attempts by Disney to set up a gaming subdivision and then they would fail, largely due to the incompetent demands of executives who got their start in movies and television and didn’t know the first thing about gaming. And invariably the new gaming company would be shutdown.
When handed the keys to LucasArts, Bob Iger promptly drove it off a cliff to save time.
A company that was a legend in the gaming business was shut down for no better reason than the CEO didn’t want to be bothered by it.
This week however, a new subdivision called LucasFilm Gaming has sprung into existence. Praising to the rafter the various partners that going to be brought on board to make this new brand a monster of a success.
BUT, they were already onboard, weren’t they? EA and the others who already had development contracts with Disney to produce Star Wars games already had deals right?
So why make such a big announcement about a new nameplate?
If I was a “gaming partner” I would be very worried about this development. Bob Iger is almost out the door and there are now a number of Generation-X executives at Disney who aren’t freaked out because of the past mistakes of the “Okay, Boomer” set.
What happens to all your hard work, if Disney decides they can now handle this in house…?