Disney announced the closure of LucasArts as a game development studio and publisher. It will now be operating as a licensing house of Lucas properties for video games.
First a quotable quote from me in case anyone wants the soundbite:
LucasArts in the 80′s and 90′s helped shape me into the interactive media artist I am today. My time at Telltale Games was as close to working in that environment, and I hope shaped positively the careers of future men and women of interactive media. – John “Seg” Seggerson
I am the product of the adventure gaming genre of the 90′s and squarely in the SCUMM engine camp. Besides Myst, Sam & Max and Monkey Island titles are the most influential titles in my life. They shaped how I created my career and thus my life itself. The news of the closure wasn’t unexpected, so I have already made peace with the fate that occurred. But this is a time to reflect on the importance LucasArts has made in my life.
My love for video games is rooted in an interactive narrative. I’m not one for shooting at things a lot. I’d rather be a part of the storytelling process than a hired gun. Growing up with the SCUMM engine games, I had a lifelong goal of working at a place like LucasArts with the likes of Dave Grossman, Tim Schafer, and Ron Gilbert. When the Star War prequels came out, the slow burn to the end of LucasArts began. The shutting of the successor of Sam & Max titles was a solid push in that direction.
However, I was able to find a home at Telltale Games, which in my opinion was a place for LucasArts ex-patriots like me to come to. Only Double Fine (and for a brief time Hothead) shared in that distinction. While working at Telltale, some of my coworkers who previously worked at Lucas would refer to it as “the other place,” mentioning stories of the slow and eventual demise to the very heart of LucasArts which fans and developers aspired to.
I guess it is poetic that my layoff at Telltale occurred within a year of LucasArts closure; a bookend of a chapter of my career as an artist in the wings of the people who came before me. Now I can state my own ground with my own endeavors. Still, there’s a large part of me that mourns the downfall of the company that inspired me so many years ago.
My hope now is that the rest of the back catalogue be re-released. Especially Grim Fandango. I don’t want our history to fade.