Game development studios, like any other company, are subject to the whims of their corporate masters. So when Disney bought LucasFilms and LucasArts last year I thought there were two potential outcomes – either rebirth or death. I just didn’t see them letting the studio continue to languish. And while it is a sad day, the reality is that LucasArts has been largely a publishing and licensing house for a number of years. But they remain the source of many of my favorite games, so as Disney kills off LucasArts, here are their five best games!
For more specific details, LucasArts is moving to a, saying: “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.”
To choose five games wasn’t easy, since there have been articles listening the Top 10 games from LucasArts – just in the adventure genre! Some of those games were amazing, such as the Indiana Jones games that were better than a couple of the movies! Also, I had to make a choice, so I only included ‘in house’ games, meaning ones that were developed by LucasArts, not just published. This was particularly hard since two of my all-time favorite games, Jedi Knight II and Knights of the Old Republic, published by LucasArts but developed by Raven Software and Bioware respectively, had to be left off the list.
Nonetheless, I managed. Here in no order, are my Top Five LucasArts games:
Grim Fandango, a 1998 noir made by Tim Schafer before he left the studio. Full of humor and pathos and intrigue, this is perhaps the best adventure game the studio produced … and really needs to be updated and re-released.[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hV1NBHL9Fa4]
Sam and Max Hit the Road, the 1993 Steve Purcell adventure game that stands as an all-time classic and whose reimagining gave TellTale Games their start.[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtaCwN6wOAw]
The Secret of Monkey Island Released in 1990, this pirate-y adventure was loaded with humor and really got things rolling for the studio. Also a huge boon for TellTale games when they brought back and released episodic adventures based on it.[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZDNreKrr24]
Star Wars: TIE Fighter Not the first Star Wars game, nor the first space combat sim from LucasArts, this 1994 classic is regularly regarded as one of the best PC games ever made. Great story, amazing action, stunning (for 1994) graphics and feeling of ‘you are there’ make it unforgettable.[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I69GKdVDc9I]
Star Wars Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight Released in 1997, this wasn’t the first Star Wars FPS (Dark Forces came out two years earlier), but with live action cutscenes, an epic story and 25 hours of gameplay, and of course Force powers and a lightsaber … this remains one of the all-time best FPS games. Of all the games on the list this is most readily available, as you can grab it on Steam for the PC.[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqipGrdf_KI]
UPDATE: Since I wrote this, Raven software – creator of one of my ‘Top 5 All Time’ games, Jedi Knight II – has issued a statement expressing their sadness over the closing of LucasArts and “as a gift to the persistently loyal fanbase for our Jedi games and in memory of LucasArts, we are releasing the source code for both games for people to enjoy and play with.” So … they released the source code for and the follow-up , grab the source at those links!
What are YOUR favorite LucasArts games?