According to this story at Times Online, ex-LucasArts president Simon Jeffery has got himself a new job as marketing director at hobbyist/model company Hornby, after a year or so "spending time with family."
While president of LucasArts Simon, as many of you know, tried to breathe life back into many of LucasArts' old franchises like Full Throttle, Sam & Max, and the Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe series, but sadly was rarely successful, causing him to leave the company around a year ago. We wish him good luck etc at his new gig, and expect n
It's been a long time coming. Post-Episode 1 brain-drain, post-Simon Jeffery-era-crumbling, and post-Sam & Max 2-axing, the topic is always raised: "I bet next, LucasArts is going to shut down all their internal development and just become a Star Wars publisher." Well maybe they haven't done that yet entierly, and maybe that's not really their long term plan, but based on the statement released today, for now, they are pretty damn close.
LucasArts confirmed today a major restructuring of its development studio. It marks the first change within the company since Jim Ward took over as president in May. ?Since joining LucasArts in early May, I?ve taken a hard, critical look at our business. I?ve come to the conclusion that to make LucasArts thrive and to position ourselves for the long-term future, we need to make some fundamental changes.? [...] As a result of the restructuring, 31 people from the development studio were laid off as the company will be concentrating on fewer titles.The 31 layoffs are almost entirely from internal teams working on unannounced games. The internal Republic Commando is still on schedule. Gamespot has a little more on the story.
We'd like to wish the best of luck to everyone let go by Lucasarts in the past couple days (and months). Hopefully we'll be hearing from (and writing about) you all very soon.
"There is currently no plan to reduce staff."
Ron Gilbert's updated his blog today with a very short update titled "Major Layoffs at LucasArts?" We have no clue, but honestly would anyone be surprised? After the previous big layoff, the "No bonuses!! >:(" announcement, and other rumors that have been flying around, we're left wondering if there's anyone left in the building.
More on this if it develops.
Update: Ron Gilbert has come up with more info, which he may be making up off the top of his head, but probably isn't. "All internal projects canceled except one ( don't remember the name, probably something to do with Star Wars ). 50 people let go. Or, maybe I'm just making all this up because I'm bored..."
Update: Gamespot now has the story as well.
Over at the World of Monkey Island, you can view page 36 of Paco Vink's comic adaptation of The Secret of Monkey Island. Tomorrow also marks the three year anniversary of the comic. That's a long time.
World of MI webmaster Dalixam pointed out that, even though Paco's average for the past 3 years has been basically "a page a month," he may be showing signs of speeding up, so hopefully Guybrush will get off Melee Island? before 2005 is over. Take a look over at World of MI.
Okay let's be honest here, how many of you noticed it was gone in the first place? For shame.
Anyway, the excellent Grim Fandango Network is back online with a new design care of Thrik, and you should all go check it out. Hopefully it will get you in the mood to go and replay the excellent Grim Fandango again. That's a good game.
This hasn't happened for a while, but its also the closest thing to a Mojo news update that you are gonna get.
In the Red corner, weighing in at 1 million pounds, the dragon-esqe comedy adversary of Mario - BOWSER!!!
And in the blue corner, weighing in at a puny amount of pounds, the wannabe-pirate governor-in-law of M?l?e Island GUYBRUSH THREEPWOOD!!!!
Who is the best game character? Who would win in a fight to the death? Why isn't Guybrush in Smash Bros. M?l?e (island)? For God's sake go and vote for Guybrush and defend your honour. (because he is losing...)
As the headline says, over at Gamespot there's a new interview with Tim Schafer about Psychonauts and their new publishing deal with Majesco. You can check it out here.
GS: What does it take to sell a crafted, adventure game in today's all-Doom, all the time environment?Check the whole story out over at Gamespot.
TS: Well, I'm not in sales, but I did learn one thing from Full Throttle. PUT A BIG EXPLOSION ON THE BOX. Psychonauts is going to have two explosions on the cover, so it will probably sell twice as much as Throttle. As far as people wanting Doom games only--I think we get a skewed perspective in this industry. A lot of the people we know are in the industry or hardcore gamers, and they do want Doom all the time. But there are vast oceans of people out there for whom Doom is not their thing. We just have to get the word out there. And if that doesn't work, we'll ship out a sticker with an extra explosion on it for retailers to slap on the boxes.
Here we go again. Majesco has put put five new screenshots from the newly reborn and still excellent game Psychonauts, depicting some new areas and some we've seen a million times before. You can view them here. For the picky, here are some thumbnails:
The in-development game Star Wars: Battlefront will be available in 48 days. You can follow the countdown till launch on the new official website. 48 days from now is the 21:st of September. Battlefront is for PC, PS2, and Xbox. I must say the box cover art, which is featured on the sitedesign is very slick and classy. The site also features a 9 track soundtrack of 30 seconds each. Though I find the Mixnmojo Games Database much more informative, the official site is worth checking out too. You get a gift if you pre-order the game now at the LucasArts Company Store.
The official word is out: Psychonauts is back on with new publisher Majesco Games, along with the bonus news that Psychonauts will be coming to the PC as well as XBox. So, that's awesome. You can read the whole press release here, but here are a few snips anyway:
Tim Schafer, founder of Double Fine, added: ?I'm really excited to be working with Majesco because I can tell they understand what Psychonauts is all about, and that they believe in giving developers the creative freedom they need to fully realize their ideas. Together we are going to make what could conservatively be called the greatest game of all time ever, and I think that's awesome."The news was rumored to be coming for a while, but it's really reassuring to have it actually on paper (or, online) instead of just sort of a "maybe" that floats around forums and news sites. According to the press release, Psychonauts "will be available next year," hopefully that means "early next year." We'll be waiting. Congrats to Double Fine for getting their game back on track!
...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.
Source: Fudco / Habitat Chronicles
Gamespot has put up a follow up report on yesterday's rumor about Psychonauts finding a publisher. The new report is a little more certain sounding:
Well-placed industry sources tell GameSpot that Majesco has agreed to publish the eccentric platformer, a fact which was backed up by a [Psychonauts] video trailer recently screened at the G-phoria awards which sported the Majesco logo.Hopefully this is really really true, because if they're already airing trailers with a publisher's logo an official announcement can't be that far off... Hopefully.
In Gamespot's coverage of the recent G-Phoria game awards show, they report on a little piece of gossip circulating around the ceremony concerning Psychonauts.
There were surprisingly few executives from the major game publishers in attendance, but news about a major publishing deal did break during the show when sources let on that Majesco had picked up Tim Schafer's Psychonauts and will publish the game in early 2005.Is Psychonauts back on? Will we finally get to play Tim Schafer's next game? Is humanity saved? We'll have to wait for an official press release or something of course to know for sure, but that sounds super promising. Winnar.
... Unleashed. A couple days ago LucasArts announced that they would, to the surprise of nobody, be making a Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith game. Hopefully this game will be awesome, AKA the opposite of the Star Wars: The Phantom Menace game. Wooee!<:MORENEWS:>
The game sounds like combat based 3rd person action/adventure fare. The usual. The press release says: "Players will control all the Jedi abilities of both Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi, including devastating Force powers and advanced lightsaber techniques involving robust combo attacks and defensive maneuvers. As Anakin, players will unleash the power of the dark side in ruthless lightsaber and Force attacks. As Obi-Wan, players will struggle to save the galaxy from darkness by focusing the power of the light side into swift and precise lightsaber attacks and using the Force to control enemy actions."
There's some more in there about how people who worked on the fighting and combat moves in the films will be overseeing the fighting in the game, so that might be cool. If you're interested, take a look at the press release.
Here's hoping they don't screw this up. I want LucasArts to actually get a couple recent successes under their belt, no matter how cheesy and franchisey -- at least then they might consider growing some balls.
Over at the Quick & Easy site, Benny has finished up his maniacal week of utility releases. Among the tools released include new launcher utilities for Curse of Monkey Island, Escape from Monkey Island, and Grim Fandango, which ajust your DirectX settings, let you run the games in different video modes, and automatically patch them for you.
Benny also released new and updated versions of crazier stuff for people who really like to tinker and dig down into the resource files of the old SCUMM games. The complete list of utilities (html lifted from the Scumm Bar) are:
Day 1: EMI Launcher 1.0
Day 2: EMI Background Viewer 1.1
Day 3: Resource File Creator/Dumper 1.1
Day 4: Grim Fandango Launcher 1.0
Day 5: Index File Reader 1.2
Day 6: CMI Launcher 2.0
Day 7: ScummVM Q&E 1.3.6
Benny promises a larger update to ScummVM Quick & Easy is in the works and will be released... sometime. For now, visit the Quick & Easy utilities site for more information about the new programs. They're all really handy so don't do something rash and lazy like not checking them out.