One of the best-loved game companies of the 1990s may be about to return
Lucasfilm Games was a game development and publishing company set up as a division of the Lucasfilm film group by George Lucas in May of 1982.
Their first game was 1984’s Ballblazer, a futuristic sports title that was initially released on the 8-bit family of Atari home computers.
But what Lucasfilm Games was famous for is their point and click adventure games. Almost every one of these games was a huge hit and contained beautiful visuals (for the time), great soundtracks and devious puzzles to solve in order to progress the story within the game.
The most famous of these adventures is undoubtedly The Secret of Monkey Island which spawned several sequels over the years.
Other notable titles included Grim Fandango, The Day of the Tentacle, The Dig and Sam And Max Hit the Road.
As Lucasfilm Games was a division of Lucasfilm, they were able to produce games based on their films such as Star Wars and the Indiana Jones series.
There are far too many games to list here, but many of them I played during my teenage years and look back upon them fondly.
Lucasfilm Games was rebranded to Lucasarts during a company restructuring in 1990 and the great games kept on coming.
In 2012, Disney bought Lucasfilm and the following year shut down Lucasarts. Several games in mid-development were cancelled. I remember it well, as I was looking forward to Star Wars: 1313 which looked amazing.
Only a few staff remained to keep Lucasarts alive as a licensor. The Star Wars license was given exclusively to Electronic Arts and what have they given us in the last six years? Star Wars: Battlefront 1 & 2.
Battlefront 2‘s sales were severely impacted when it was revealed how the company had implemented loot crates and microtransactions. This made the process of acquiring the more powerful hero characters a much longer and harder process.
Earlier this year, it was reported Electronic Arts had several Star Wars games in development that have all been cancelled. This included an open world game and a story-driven adventure from Uncharted‘s creative director, Amy Hennig.
Has Disney been upset by Electronic Art’s handling of the lucrative Star Wars licence? Apparently not, but that hasn’t stopped several jobs appear on the Disney Careers website for several high ranking positions at Lucasfilm Games. Has the old company been resurrected?
According to the job listing of producer, Lucasfilm Games will create:
interactive products that incorporate Lucasfilm IP, such as Star Wars film and television properties, across all digital platforms, including but not limited to: Mobile (iOS, Android, Windows), Console (Sony PlayStation, Microsoft Xbox, Nintendo Switch), PC/Mac, and AR/VR platforms.
With Electronic Arts only publishing two major Star Wars games in six years (although hopefully by the end of this year we’ll see EA release Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, a high profile game of which little is known), is this Disney picking up the slack and fast-tracking more Star Wars titles?
We’ll have to wait and see, although I remain very hopeful.
Welcome back Lucasfilm Games.
EDIT: Just as this was about to publish, new details have been revealed. It transpires that Lucasfilm Games has existed for several years now to offer support to third parties developing Star Wars titles.
The job listings simply show that this small group is expanding, alas there are no plans to develop games in-house. Disney is still happy to license their intellectual property out to third parties to make games.
Sorry to get your hopes up. Thanks to Den of Geek for the update.