3. April 2013

This is not completely unsurprising, but nevertheless very sad news: Disney, who bought the whole Lucasfilm empire last year from its founder George Lucas, announced that it will close down LucasArts. The games division of Lucasfilm had been in trouble for a number of years and the original company, which almost single-handedly had invented the point-and-click adventure game in the late 1980s with Maniac Mansion, has long ceased to exist. Their last true adventure game, Escape from Monkey Island, was published thirteen years ago in 2000 and from then on the almost exklusively focused on Star Wars action games. Sequels to Full Throttle and Sam & Max were even cancelled as late as 2004.

There had been a glimmer of hope in 2009, when LucasArts had allowed Telltale Games, who had already been doing a series of Sam & Max adventures, to rejuvenate the Monkey Island franchise with Tales of Monkey Island, a story told in five game episodes. In parallel, LucasArts themselves released new versions of the first two Monkey Island games with new artwork and full voice acting. While it seemed that LucasArts at least cared a little for their legacy games, nothing more had been forthcoming since then apart from some rereleases of a couple of other adventures with Windows engines.

So this is not actually the end of an era, and judging from the press releases the name LucasArts is not actually going to disappear – Disney is just going to outsource the game development to other companies. But that means people have been laid off at LucasArts – and in the current economical climate, that’s the actual sad news. But LucasArts is not alone – none of the great adventure game developers of the 1980s and 1990 exist anymore today.

I’ve actually been working on a kind of tribute site for the LucasArts adventures for a long time now and the project has been somewhat made redundant by the emergence of Wikipedia – which is not necessarily a bad thing. But I might just give it another shot and rebuild the never-finished games section of this website not only for LucasArts, but for other all adventure games. Maybe!

Kategorie: Games
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