LucasArts News

LucasArts president grilled, sauteed

28 Jan, 2010, 20:02 | Posted by: Jason | Comments: 4
It probably hasn't escaped your notice that ever since Darrell Rodriguez took over LucasArts as its president, the company has been making great strides in a direction the Mojo-minded have a keen appreciation for.

Through Steam, the Virtual Console, and a Staff of Kings unlockable, the company has been making an effort to re-release its back catalog, something that they were notoriously bad at doing over the past decade and which we made no bones about our disdain for. With The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition and Tales of Monkey Island, they've shown that they're willing to not only acknowledge their old IP again, but rejuvenate it. And with Lucidity and whatever the hell Handsome Halibut is, they've assembled a small team specifically committed to making brand new IP. And perhaps most importantly and exciting, all of the above are meant to be taken as a sign of things to come:
You guys licensed out Monkey Island to Telltale. Is that a process that you think is going to be something you'll continue to do, license out things like Monkey Island for other people to work on if you're not interested in continuing that IP?

DR: Well, we also do the Special Edition ourselves.

That's true.

DR: We did the Special Edition on XBLA and on iPhone, and it did tremendously well. And on PC, it's on Steam. It did tremendously well. We did that internally. We had a great partnership with Telltale, and we hope to do something in the future with them. They're phenomenal partners. They get it. Will we do stuff like that in the future? Yeah, I mean, I'll look at all opportunities.

I'm a huge fan of the adventure genre, adventure games and also the classic LucasArts titles, and whatever way we can get out there for our rabid fanbase.

Do you ever the possibility of bringing back any of the older IP or is it all moving forward for you?

DR: That's what we did with Monkey Island, right? We brought it back and we reimagined Monkey Island with the Special Edition. We're working with Telltale on the Tales Of series. So, we kind of are bringing it back a little bit.

Sure, but in general, but do you see your IP as an opportunity for you? How do you make those decisions?

DR: Absolutely. If you look on Steam, we're doing a number of interesting bundles on Steam, and we'll continue to do that sort of thing because the fans want it. If you look at the blogs as well as all the emails and all the letters that we get, we're going to do what they want.
The Gamasutra interview the above snippet was taken from is mandatory reading, with other key points being the studio's promised commitment to growing internal development, as well as to the Indiana Jones franchise. But like I said, you'll already be reading about that.
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LucasArts News

Grab yer Ghoulies, prepare to Wii

25 Jan, 2010, 15:47 | Posted by: jp-30 | Comments: 14
Ghoul Patrol, the sort-of sequel to Zombies ate my Neighbors is apparently out on the Wii's Virtual Console service.
Ghoul Patrol
Original platform: Super NES
Publisher: LucasArts
Players: 1-2
ESRB Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10 and Older) – Mild Fantasy Violence
Price: 800 Wii Points
Description: The main attractions at the library's Goblin exhibit have come to life! As the Ghoul Patrol, you'll go back in time and de-spook an encyclopedia of zombified historic dudes. Vaporize garbage-can ghosts and ninja spirits, rescue bug-eyed librarians and wigged-out pirates, dodge flying books and adolescent-eating plants, and ultimately put the beastly spirit back in the history books.
Read the Mojo database entry here.

No idea when it will be hitting the PAL regions - they're still waiting for the Indiana Jones game.

Update by Jason: Don't look now, but we published a review!
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LucasArts News

Grim fan: 'dang good'

20 Jan, 2010, 01:51 | Posted by: jp-30 | Comments: 9
North By Northwest has a new feature highlighting old games you've never heard of. Well not "you've" but more "others've" in this case. Because their debut column is all about good ol' Grim Fandango.
After the extremely successful adventure titles Myst and Monkey Island, the adventure game genre seemed to be growing. Grim Fandango expanded on (and perhaps even perfected) certain elements of this genre while delivering the complexity and difficulty that fans of the genre demanded. Grim Fandango is one of the first examples of gaming as art. It had an impressively literary storyline (complete with social commentary on corruption and government), and showed a heavy film influence. But the game just didn’t sell well. And nobody knows why. Today, gaming aficionados still refer to the Grim Fandango Effect: games that fail despite being awesome.
Nice to be reminded that we Mojoers are not the only fans out there.
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During an annoucement by EA that it was lowering its 2010 fiscal projections, CEO John Riccitiello seems to have indirectly referenced Star Wars: The Old Republic's release window:
Riccitiello also said that the company is planning to launch "our major new MMO"--presumably BioWare Austin's Star Wars: The Old Republic--in "spring 2011." It was unclear if he meant calendar year 2011, or EA's 2011 fiscal year, which ends on March 31, 2011.
Granted, it is indeed a presumption that he is referring to The Old Republic at all, since there are other possible EA-related MMO candidates. Still, given the lack of recent news on the project, I don't think many honestly expected to see The Old Republic before 2011 at this point.

Tingler Confirms: Kotaku confirms that Bioware confirms. So it's confirmed.
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LucasArts News

Inside LucasArts

05 Jan, 2010, 03:06 | Posted by: jp-30 | Source: Develop | Comments: 0
Develop Online has a new article on recent Star Wars related happenings inside LucasArts.
“Ultimately, if you have a really good story you’ll have a really good episode and as result you’ll have a truly great game. I always say to the games people ‘Look, with that idea this is how I would do it. If that makes sense for you or not in your game, I don’t know, but a Jedi would definately do that in our show,’ for example.”
Quite.
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Okay, the Escape from Monkey Island Secret History article has fallen way behind. But all that means is that you've had all kinds of extra time to submit a reader opinion on the game. Yet you still haven't! So, really, it's you that dropped the ball here.

But we're giving you one last chance. The EMI article is in its final few years of production, which means that we need all second opinions received by the end of this week in order to lock them into the article before we hand it off to ImageMovers to commence all that CGI work. So send them in, ye swabs!

Also, as my way of saying thank you for not keelhauling me over the article's slight postponement, enjoy this trailer Jake probably put together back in The Day:

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LucasArts News

We're probably all about Fan Art

04 Jan, 2010, 20:30 | Posted by: Jason | Comments: 0
What was that I was saying not too long ago about Maniac Mansion fans?

A reader by the name of Fedez sent me two pieces of fan art earlier today, a drawing of Razor with a skull earring, and another of the big happy Edison family gazing upon the evil purple meteor. The only time that hamster wore a more terrified expression was when Syd pressed the "reheat" button on the microwave.





Don't you think it would be great if, I don't know, some hypothetical hosted site that used to flourish but now no longer gets updated returned in a glorious comeback in order to archive fan art like this? Just thinking out loud here.
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Ever heard of the Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom arcade game? It was converted to various home systems in various crappy forms, but the arcade was always the best to look at and play. Want a look?

And in other incredibly old-school Indy gaming news, ever wanted to play the very first Raiders of the Lost Ark game but were put off by the dawn-of-gaming graphics? Well, try this remake then!
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In some sort of odd PR move, the Russian Space agency is planning on detonating explosives to divert an asteroid that has a 45,000 to 1 chance of hitting Earth in 2029.



Pass me the Pig.
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LucasArts News

Steam Holiday Sale Now On

23 Dec, 2009, 10:11 | Posted by: The Tingler | Source: Steam | Comments: 14
As the title says, Steam's brilliant Christmas sale is now on, and some frankly bonkers-brilliant sales are in there.

How about the LucasArts Adventure pack for £1.74? That's Indy Fate of Atlantis, Last Crusade, Loom and The Dig for probably the cheapest price they've ever been individually anywhere else, let alone all together! Even if you've got one of them, I think it's worth it.

Or how about the Jedi Knight/Dark Forces collection for £7.49? Secret of Monkey Island SE , Lucidity, Republic Commando or Knights of the Old Republic for £3.49?

No? How about Tales of Monkey Island for £17.74? Check out the LucasArts page for more, and I expect some present-giving you tight buggers!

Update by Kroms: You can pick up every game that Telltale has both made and self-published for $49.99. That's Tales of Monkey Island, Sam and Max Season One (Sam and Max Save the World), Sam and Max Season Two (Sam and Max Beyond Time and Space), Strong Bad's Cool Game For Attractive People, Wallace and Gromit's Grand Adventures, Bone: Out of Boneville, Bone: The Great Cow Race and Telltale Texas Hold 'Em.

The Tingler Updates: While it's not part of the Steam sale (not yet anyway!), Psychonauts is $7.49 at GOG with their own sale.
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While the game's meager 7 million + customer base awaits with anticipation the recently announced sequel, LEC has released that totally impossible PC version of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed: Ultimate Sith Edition on Steam and Direct2Drive this past Tuesday in an effort to reach out to the seven remaining gamers in its audience who've yet to discover it. (For the unaware, this "Ultimate Sith Edition" is a recent re-release with additional content.)

Packing a $39.99 price point and some steep minimum requirements, this is no download for the faint of heart. But if you've never played STFU, want to, and remain unfazed by the PC port's terrible reviews (though presumably this an improved, post-patch version), doing so has never been more convenient.

In other LucasArts news, IGN has awarded the special edition of Monkey Island "Adventure Game of the Year." Seems a bit off, given the competition, but hey, we'll take it.
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I've always been hopelessly obsessed with all things Maniac Mansion since being a kid, and when you weigh in the nostalgic factor, it doesn't taste a lie to call it my favorite game of all time. It would appear that I am not the only person the franchise has had this effect on, as the fan scene surrounding the game has always been pretty remarkable. You're probably familiar with Maniac Mansion Deluxe, the 256 color remake from 2004. Lesser known projects include the likes of an ongoing series of micro spinoff games powered by AGS, a project dubbed Maniac Mansion Mania. A million years ago I even remember an inventive fan creating a playable, fully 3D environment of just the exterior of the mansion.

The latest example of impressively excessive fan devotion to the father of SCUMM is this, a new remake of the game observed in one of our forum threads. What makes this remake of the classic original Maniac Mansion worthwhile when an acclaimed one already exists?



That's right: it's being re-imagined in the style of Day of the Tentacle. You can see some sprites and animation tests here, as well as an open call for help. It's unclear how far along the effort is at the moment, the status being that "the backgrounds are almost done." Still, whether or not this remake will end up being completed, or end up being like 99% of all fan projects, the work seen so far is pretty impressive.
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LucasArts News

How come we don't do interviews?

13 Dec, 2009, 02:48 | Posted by: Jason | Comments: 10
The TMI Blog's unstoppable jubilee of Monkey Island voice actor interviews continues with a probe of the immensely talented Jared Emerson-Johnson, who you no doubt know as a composer, sound designer, and voice director whose resume includes games made by all of the studios Mojo covers.

In addition to sound design and voice direction, Emerson-Johnson's contributions to TMI include the voice of deranged French culturally variant scientist DeSinge, whose obsession with collecting Guybrush's pox-ridden hand caused our hero a number of inconveniences. The factoids he shares in the interview are not to be missed by those who aren't keen on missing something not worth missing out on.
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Some UK-based site called Alternative Magazine Online has been publishing interviews with Dominic Armato wherein he reflects on the latest episode of Tales of Monkey Island. Naturally, this means we get to read his opinions and production stories for Rise of the Pirate God, as well as memories from his past, which seem to have been blissfully expunged of the stalking he incurred from Mojo readers:
When I did Curse and Escape, I chatted on IRC and did a couple of brief interviews with a couple of the hardcore Monkey Island fansites like The SCUMM Bar. A few months ago, I went to PAX, met a horde of people and had something like 20 interviews, some with pretty major gaming publications. No sneaking under the radar anymore!
While we may have reported on one or two of the previous interviews at the time, you really should read all five of them, and if you haven't, permit me to supply a hint book to your game of catch-up:
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LucasArts News

STFU2

12 Dec, 2009, 21:48 | Posted by: jp-30 | Source: Spike TV | Comments: 17
Star Wars: The Force Unleased 2 was announced today at the Spike Videogames awards.


If for some reason that bunch of meaningless pre-rendered bluster leaves you wanting to know more, there's a website here. But bad luck, it doesn't actually have any info on it.
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LucasArts News

Star Wars Announcement Announced

09 Dec, 2009, 03:36 | Posted by: jp-30 | Source: Spike TV | Comments: 5
As is LucasArts MO these days, there has been an announcement that there will be a new Star Wars Game (well, I assume it's a game, it's not explicitely stated) announced at the 2009 Video Game Awards. The Spike TV event is on December 12th.

Here's the Announcement Announcement Teaser video:



If you're already doing YouTube stuff, you could do worse than have a peek at this video (it's not Mojo related, it's just EPIC WINness) if you're not already one of the 2 million+ who have watched it in the last day or so.

Update: Thanks for the tipoff black_sheep. This is probably the game, Star Wars Legends.
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LucasArts News

Glottis Kart coming your way soon?

02 Dec, 2009, 16:07 | Posted by: jp-30 | Source: ACG | Comments: 53
In this fascinating interview at Adventure Classic Gaming LucasArts' Craig Derrick reveals a few interesting plans.
...we're also very interested in taking characters out of the adventure game genre and creating all new games and experiences with them. Nintendo has done a fantastic job of this with their characters over the years and I would hope that we'll get an opportunity to do the same.
And this...
I feel part of the reason we're still talking about Monkey Island 20 years after its initial release is due to the "secret" not being revealed. Leaving it mysterious and ambiguous I feel is part of the charm. However, I also think we owe the fans a bit of closure around the "secret" and hope that we have the opportunity to reveal it in a perhaps unexpected way soon.
What the...!?
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LucasArts News

Battlefront developer ceases to be

19 Nov, 2009, 18:31 | Posted by: Jason | Comments: 6
Pandemic Studios, who developed Battlefront, Battlefront II, Mercenaries and Clone Wars (2002) for LEC before being absorbed along with Bioware by EA has been shut down:
Electronic Arts has confirmed rumours regarding the closure of Mercenaries and Saboteur developer Pandemic Studios.

The majority of the Los Angeles-based studio’s 200 staff have been let go, including founders Josh Resnick, Andrew Goldman and Greg Borrud, who served as president, CEO and vice president of product development respectively, the publisher told Joystiq.
This makes for a sucky situation for all those developers, and a fuzzy situation as far as who is developing the elusive Battlefront III. In 2006, the game's development was associated with UK studio Free Radical Design before it too closed its doors.

Following that, the game was said to be transferred to the hands of Rebellion, developer of the two handheld entries in the series, Renegade Squadron and, earlier this month, Elite Squadron. It was later suggested though that the company was only working on a PS2 port of the game, and that the franchise's original developer Pandemic was back at the wheel. That Pandemic would have been developing for LEC despite being owned by EA isn't out of the question given that LEC is partnering with Bioware for The Old Republic.

Of course, that's all moot now. I wonder who's next on the list?
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While we regrettably didn't commit to following the voluminous and quality coverage of this game as comprehensively as it deserved, today is the shipping date for Lego Indiana Jones II: The Adventure Continues, as you may know from some of the charming commercials for it that I at least have been seeing on TV.

In addition to containing levels from Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the game also sports new levels from the original trilogy distinct from those of the first game. Most attractively, the game features a full fledged level builder and a rather promising co-op mode that looks to be a substantial improvement over the already fun The Original Adventures.

Developed by Traveller's Tales and published by LucasArts, the game is available for PC, Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo DS, and PSP. Grab it while it's hot or risk betraying Shiva.
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As reported by Nintendo Life, the Wii's Virtual Console service now boasts Super Nintendo's "Indiana Jones' Greatest Adventures" a side scrolling action game, not unlike the previously added Super Star Wars series.
[LucasArts] gave Factor 5, most well-known for their Turrican games on SNES and Mega Drive exclusive rights to develop a game based on all three movies in the Indiana Jones trilogy. We don't know what led them to this choice, but it was definitely the right one, as Indy's Greatest Adventures still live up to its name as one of his best action-based games.

Check Nintendo Life for their review of the game.

Also, as a side note, Wiiware in Europe / Australasia now has demos for some games, with US no doubt following close behind, so hopefully we'll see some Mojo-friendly titles being demoed on Wiiware in the future.
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