It was a sad day when Disney, the new caretakers of the Lucas empire, shut down Lucasarts. Aside from being responsible for many star wars titles, Lucasarts also were known for clever and entertaining adventure games such as Monkey Island and Grimfandango.
Many game news sources are taking a moment to remember this studio and the games that mattered to them and I felt compelled to put my two cents in as well.
I have long been a fan of Star wars and have played many, if not all of the available star wars games that have been released but a few of the games really stand out in my memory and make up a significant chunk of my personal gaming history.
I was once a supporter of the playstation consoles owning both the first and second iterations, around the time of the PS2 and the new Xbox, Microsoft seemed to get the rights for most of the new Star Wars games and when I had earned enough money from my part-time job after school I purchased an Xbox bundle that came with Tetris and an Episode 1 based title on one disk. At the same time I purchased Jedi Knight Jedi Academy. This was a time when I knew little to nothing about upcoming game titles and had to purchase things on brand recognition alone.
Jedi Knight Jedi Academy put players into the role of a young Jedi hopeful attending the newly created Jedi Academy by Luke Skywalker. Throughout the game, the player gains new force abilities some leaning more towards the darkside and some towards the lightside of the force. In addition, players could also use various weapons from the Star Wars universe. The game allowed me to visit iconic locations in the Star Wars universe and for the first time let me create my own character within that world and I loved it.
While the game mechanics today would feel clunky and fairly basic, at the time I had a blast trying out the various abilities and fighting with a lightsaber I had created (I chose the color and body from a menu, but it still felt like mine.) This was also the point when my love of all things Boba Fett cemented itself into my being. The game featured multiplayer which allowed players to choose a character model (one of them being mandalorian) and wage war on enemy players in iconic settings.
The other game that I have loved since it came out is Star Wars: Battlefront. Battlefront and its subsequent sequels never failed to entertain. The concept of being just another soldier on the battlefield was fairly new at the point the first game came out and it was amazing. To my knowledge this was the first time a shooter allowed you to seamlessly fight as infantry and then climb into vehicles to wreak havoc on your enemies, with later additions giving players the ability to fight in space and fight ship to ship battles.
Both of these games were strongly influential in creating my gaming identity and my heart goes out to those at Lucasarts who lost their jobs. The silver lining to this announcement is that Disney doesn’t often sit on its licenses and they have not ruled out the possibility of having third parties develop future Star Wars games, so we just may get our Battlefront 3 or another Jedi Knight game. Time will only tell, rest in peace Lucasarts you will be missed.