|I won’t lie. I still don’t know what he’s holding.|
On April 3rd, I woke up to disturbing news.
One of my all-time favorite publishers, LucasArts, had closed its doors as a development studio.
Since George Lucas sold his company and all those under LucasFilm to Disney, I had been wary about Mickey Mouse doing some house-cleaning.
Sure enough, LucasArts was hit and is now only we can only look forward to games about Star Wars and Indiana Jones coming from companies that bid high enough to be able to handle a game that Disney decides they want to produce.
While it is true that LucasArts has not produced a decent game since “Battlefront” or “Battlefront 2”, it is unfortunate to know that two very promising and much anticipated games are now canned, or at least put in indefinite suspension until Disney decides that it is time to bring them back to the public eye.
Why is this upsetting to me? Well, for one, I wanted to work at LucasArts. From my very first journey into the Star Wars universe outside outside of a VHS or the movie theater, I have been captivated by the work the company did.
Not only did they produce top-notch flight sims like “TIE Fighter” and “Rogue Squadron,” but the cheeky point-and-click adventures for the computer provided hours of family entertainment and intellectually stimulating fun.
What has Disney produced? I hesitate to say a load of sub-par games as the “Epic Mickey” franchise is both fun and unique, but honestly, when was the last time you played a Disney Interactive game? From cart racing to movie tie-in games, Disney has released nothing but games that many people just acknowledge and don’t really take seriously.
This is not to say that LucasArts has done anything of note recently that would shatter the cosmos. Some might debate that the “Force Unleashed” series was actually okay if you ignore the second game, but the last game that I remember Disney producing that wasn’t a racing game based off of Cars was the Tron game and I still want my money back from that.
I’m worried. While Bioware and other companies have stepped up to the plate and made games like “Knights of the Old Republic“, there’s just not enough in Disney’s powerhouse to make me feel like they’ll do good with Star Wars brand when it comes to video games.
In a similar vein, THQ recently shut its doors and sold off all of their franchises to those willing to buy. I’m not sure if it’s something in the air or if there really is trouble in Paradise, but there have been some closures and big layoffs in the gaming industry.
If you’re looking to get into the industry, and you want a job, research the companies you’re applying for. Look at the titles they have and titles they’re working on. Know if the company is doing poorly or really well. Don’t get caught in a bad situation and then get laid-off after one successful title because the company gets sold or goes bankrupt. Put the time in.
For companies dedicated to making games that people enjoy and love, they’re sure on some hard times.