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LucasArts forbidden from making Star Wars games 03 Aug, 2004, 18:21 / 4 comments

...well, LucasFilm Games, really. And we're talking 20-25 years ago. A post on slashdot has revealed some articles by Chip Morningstar about the early LucasFilm Games' MMORPG predecessor 'Habitat' and better yet, this detailed report about the establishment of, and mindset within LucasFilm Games.

Crazy stuff awaits you...<:MORENEWS:>
...Because of the phenomenal success of the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises, Lucasfilm existed in a weird kind of bubble that made it very different from other companies, especially companies in the computer games industry. Most of this weirdness had to do with money, or expectations about money. The basic attitude can be summed up as, "we are Lucasfilm, people will pay us."....

...This frame of mind colored everything. It lead to a couple of fundamental constraints that rather tightly restricted what we could do. The first rule was that we were not to do anything that required spending the company's own money. We could do pretty much whatever we wanted, but we had to get somebody else to pay for it, arguments about ROI not withstanding. The second constraint was that although we had a fairly high level of creative freedom, we were absolutely forbidden from doing anything that made use of the company's film properties, especially Star Wars. That was viewed as just like spending money, since these properties were, in effect, money in the bank. If somebody else wanted to make a Star Wars game, they had to pay a hefty license fee, and so we made money no matter how well or how poorly their game did, whereas if we made such a game ourselves we would be taking all the risk if it bombed (and never mind that we'd also get 100% of the upside if the game was a hit).

You'll be wanting to read the articles in full.

Comments

  • Bobo Donkey? on 05 Aug, 2004, 11:06…
    .................er..................
  • JBRAA on 04 Aug, 2004, 10:48…
    *throws up*
  • ThunderPeel2001 on 03 Aug, 2004, 20:12…
    I'm reading George Lucas's biography right now.... *Nothing* surprises me!! :)
  • jp-30 on 03 Aug, 2004, 18:35…
    Thanks for the chop in there, boss. I'll have to learn that trick. :-P

    But on the articles. I am astounded by the company's founding philosophies. Flabbergasted even. I can't believe it actually worked.

    So, LucasArts, why not try it again (but perhaps sharing the risk)? All your best Star Wars games of the last 5 years have been made by 3rd party developers anyway, and that'll free you up to develop your own (or resuse your existing) IP again...