Red rants about the loss of Lucasarts.
“You can’t go home Celso, you’re dead! But you’re not alone! Everybody here is just as dead as you! That’s why we call it the Land of the Dead. Are you ready for your big journey?”
Last time I wrote on Potaku, I talked about companies trading on nostalgia to build goodwill. Today, I’m going to be sentimental and nostalgic. I’m aware of the contradiction.
Yesterday I woke up like many of you to the news that Lucasarts was being shuttered, and I’ll admit that I felt a pang of sadness. Not necessarily for its current projects- 1313 did look pretty cool- but for what Lucasarts for a long time represented.
I was a massive Star Wars fan as a kid, and in many ways I still am. I read, and still own, a large number of Star Wars expanded universe novels, and I eagerly awaited the prequel trilogy, which I more or less enjoyed despite their flaws. To a teenager who was at least at the start of his schooling a little bit of a social outsider, Star Wars represented an escape into a world where the good guys were on the side of light, where sardonic rogues had a heart of gold, and where villains could be predictably villainous. Along with all of the books and merchandise came the Star Wars videogames.
The first one I reckon I got was Jedi Power Battles, an episode 1 tie-in that probably wasn’t their best. I loved it. You could do cool light saber combos, you could time deflections of blaster bolts, and if you played as my favourite Jedi you could even shoot lightning. You could even co-op, which was great, except when your brother didn’t keep up with the platforming and wasted all of your lives. Nevertheless, we played it a lot.
I kept touch with Star Wars games all throughout high school and uni, with the Battlefront games being a particular highlight as I got older. During my uni years, I got to experience Lucasarts older games, including the Monkey Island series and Dark Forces, as well as more recent ones such as Knights of the Old Republic (even though, of course, that one was developed externally). These games, as well as being a link to my childhood, usually had a standard of quality and consistency that were the sign of a great developer.
At Uni I met friends who had similar interests, who I could discuss minutiae of Rubber Chickens with Pulleys inn the middle, or who could tell me what colour Corran Horn’s light saber was (silver). Star Wars and Lucasarts was a great shared interest, to the point where when I went in for surgery in my third year my friends gave me one of the adventure games I hadn’t played yet as a get well present- what would become my favourite Lucasarts game, Grim Fandango. I still feel that Manny Calavera is one of the all-time great protagonists, and his four year journey through the underworld one of the most touching adventures I’ve ever played.
In the years since I’ve lost touch a bit with Star Wars, and its games. The Force Unleashed was cool, I guess, but I didn’t have a pressing need for it. Clone Wars I accepted as not for me, the adult Star Wars fan, and I’ve been disinterested in the various Lucasarts or book releases over the last few years, having moved on to bigger and other things. I know that the Lucasarts of 2013 is not the one that made Monkey Island, or Jedi Power Battles, but I still felt like I’d lost something. I’m sure Disney will bring out new Star Wars games, and we’ll see something new from Monkey Island at some point. Hell, if we’re lucky we’ll get a HD Full Throttle or Grim Fandango rerelease. It’s still the loss of a developer that made some great games, once upon a time.
Vale, Lucasarts. Thanks for the games, and may you qualify for a trip on the Number Nine.