Wednesday, April 3, 2013


There will be no X-Media Wednesday post today, for I am in mourning.  This morning, an old beloved friend of mine was murdered by a rat.  Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013, Disney officially shut down LucasArts.  All current projects have been cancelled, including Star Wars 1313, which many people were greatly anticipating, as well as Star Wars: First Assault, which was meant to be a sort of precursor to Battlefront 3.  

Today is a black day in gaming.

Now, some of you might not remember LucasArts in their prime.  In past years, they've fallen on creative hard times.  The best we've gotten out of them were the Lego Star Wars games, The Force Unleashed games, and Star Wars: The Old Republic.  They've pretty much just been churning out almost nothing but Star Wars games for the past generation.  I was thrilled that we returned to the world of Monkey Island, but that was just licensed out to Telltale.  The Tales Of Monkey Island were...okay.  They felt like fanfiction.  Written with love and attention to detail, but obviously not done by the original creator.

I wish Starkiller would bring one down on Disney World...
That's not the LucasArts I grew up with.  Not the one I remember.  When I grew up, LucasArts was on par with what Valve is today, in terms of quality and creativity.  We got our share of Star Wars games, sure.  But they were not churned out; they were the cream of the crop.  These were not tie-ins to anything, they were official additions to the story canon, like the Dark Forces/Jedi Knight saga of Kyle Katarn, or the Knights Of The Old Republic RPG.  I cannot tell you how many hours I lost, or how many joysticks I broke when I was an Angsty Teen Gamer in high school, playing X-Wing and TIE Fighter.  To this day, I can still name all of the ships in the game because I've fought them.  I was there.  Plus, TIE Fighter introduced my favorite ship in the Star Wars universe: the TIE Defender, the toy of which sits atop my PC tower to this day.
This thing is a goddamn beast.

But in their prime, LucasArts wasn't just a Star Wars game factory.  In the Golden Age of Adventure Games, LucasArts was king.  Sierra may have been vying for the throne with their Space Quest, Kings Quest, and Police Quest games, but nothing could compare to the Secret Of Monkey Island, LOOM, or Full Throttle.  It's been 20 years and I still see people talking about Purple Tentacle, and crying out for a new game in the Maniac Mansion series.  Sam & Max were so popular, they got their own short-lived cartoon series.  Indiana Jones & The Fate Of Atlantis is still cited as the best Indy game ever made, and it was a point-and-click adventure game!  And don't even get me started on the absolute work of genius that was Grim Fandango.

One of the greatest villains in gaming history
Personally, my favorite will always be The Secret Of Monkey Island.  Humorously enough, it was my first foray into piracy in multiple ways, as I copied the original game floppies from a friend when I was 11 years old.  I absolutely loved the world and characters.  Guybrush Threepwood will forever be my favorite gaming protagonist.  The lines of Insult Swordfighting are forever cemented into my brain ("My last fight ended with my hands covered with blood!"   "I hope now you've learned to stop picking your nose!").  Exploring the imagined version of the Caribbean, often on a stolen ship, with Guybrush and his motley crew are some of my best gaming memories of all time. 

I'm selling these fine leather jackets.

Disney has announced that they will still use the name LucasArts when it comes to licensing games, but they've killed the actual studio.  Employees have been laid off. The good news is, Disney will supposedly be contracting out licenses.  So these IPs are not dead.  But let's be honest; they're never going to be what they once were.  I think apart from Star Wars, we can pretty much kiss them all goodbye.  Hopefully, someone will be able to resurrect

Star Wars 1313, because that looked pretty freaking amazing.  I was really looking forward to seeing a darker, seedier side of the Star Wars universe, in the crime-ridden underbelly of Coruscant.  And while I never played the Battlefield series, I know a lot of people really had their hopes up on a third one being made.  You can't go on r/Gaming or 4Chan's /v/ without somebody waxing nostalgic on those games.

And so, we must bid farewell to this great game studio.  LucasArts, you gave me hundreds of hours of entertainment, joy, and memories.  From adventure to action, unforgettable characters to mind-bending puzzles, incredible stories to giant mechanized monkeys, you will forever hold a place in my heart.  And may you find a sweet deal on your burial from Stan's Previously Used Coffins.

Goodbye, old friend.  I will miss you.

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