LucasArts On Star Wars And PC Development

By John Walker on May 12th, 2008 at 11:23 am.

Why did LucasArts appear to abandon original development in favour of churning out Star Wars games sausage factory-style? Because they got “a little excited.” And why no Force Unleased on PC? Because console-equivalent PCs cost £2000, apparently.

LucasArts

While interviewing the producer responsible for the current-gen consoles, VideoGamer.com learned the Star Wars obsession was all down to misplaced enthusiasm, something they’ve learned from since. Cameron Suey explains after the jump.

“Star Wars is one of the greatest licenses for a video game you could have and in the past we got a little excited about that and we put out games that probably weren’t up to the quality bar that we would have liked. That’s definitely something we’ve recognised and we understand. The more Star Wars games you put out and the more you love that environment the more it becomes mediocre and anodyne.”

(Unfortunately grammar then takes a blow at the claims, when Suey states, “You’re might see less and better. Make it right and do it right.” Fewer! “Less” would be where you’ve been going wrong for a while now.)

So why no Force Unleashed on PC, when it’s coming out on just about everything else, ever? Follow this:

“[The] PC being the gaming platform that it is, someone with a $4,000 high-end system would definitely be able to play the Euphoria, the DMM and really technical elements of the game. But someone with a low-end PC would have a watered down experience, they would have to turn all the settings down and it wouldn’t be the same game. On the other hand if we made that game for as many people as possible, because we are trying to make mass market games, something that everybody can enjoy, well then it’s not taking advantage of what those $4,000 systems can do. So one way or the other depending on how you build that lead PC SKU, it’s not going to be for the same amount of people, it’s going to be not as good or only for a select few people.”

Flubble. How exactly does that explain a PSP, PS2, DS, Wii and… N-Gage version? What a very peculiar answer. But the PC isn’t forgotten, Suey claims.

“That said we’re definitely not out of the PC market. It’s just with our choice for this game, with the known quantity for the consoles, and every console is the same with the same processing power, it made sense for us to develop for those consoles.”

That doesn’t sound too optimistic. So come on then LucasArts – money and mouths. Let’s see some completely new titles that have nothing to do with Star Wars. (And no, replacing them all with Indiana Jones doesn’t count). And put some of them on PC.

You can read the rest of the interview here. Thanks VideoGamer for all the nicked quotes.

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78 Comments »

  1. cliffski says:

    they do what makes the most money, and they probably do fear that pc piracy would cut into console sales, in cases where potential buyers had both systems.
    But fuck em, console ports normally suck anyway. what we need are pc games, designed by pc game designers, for pc gamers. Not cast-offs from some low spec DVD player.

  2. Briosafreak says:

    I had high hopes that they were announcing the end of all PC releases, not just one game.

    I’m disappointed. It’s just LucasArts stopped being an interesting house on interactive media a decade ago or so.

    I really wouldn’t miss their coming games on my favorite platform. Bah.

  3. Lunaran says:

    > Load of crap, blame lazy developer syndrome.

    Considering just how common knowledge the persistent and terrible crunch-mode in the games industry is, it astounds me that people can still say this with a straight face.

  4. fell says:

    Is it really so hard to port the 360 version and the PS2 version? They have all the assets at both levels of quality, and they’re already set up for multiplatform development. Yeah, it’ll cost a bit more, but both pathways are so well established at this point that it should be routine.

    But, besides that, it’s sad they’re talking (in a veiled way) about anything outside the 360/PS3 versions being weak and not optimal. This game belongs on Wii – isn’t that where everyone’s going to buy it?

  5. Ginger Yellow says:

    My understanding is that the PS2, Wii and 360/PS3 versions are very different games, because of the physics/procedural animation system. The level design and gameplay mechanics are going to be very different. You could share some of the assets (textures etc), but that only gets you so far. If a low end PC can’t handle the physics, you can’t have physics based game design. You could do a lowest common denominator (ie port the PS2 version and include high res textures) but that would be a bit crap.

    “This game belongs on Wii – isn’t that where everyone’s going to buy it?”

    Assuming it’s good, I might be getting the Wii and the 360 version. You can’t resist the lightsaber-on-Wii aspect, sure, but the gameplay looks much more interesting on the more powerful consoles.

  6. theleif says:

    Until they give LucasArts and all their assets to Tim Schafer and make a sequel to Grim Fandango they are like dead to me.

    And, they have to promise not to make any more Star Wars games for a decade.

    And fire Cameron Suey and replace him with someone that can tell more colourful lies. Or can he really be that ignorant of the PC game market? Well, any way he has to go. It’s him or me. Yep, now they’re really scared.

    That’s all.

  7. Mr. Grizzly says:

    Do they not realize PC gamers know better? Are you trying to tell me that the XBOX 360′s 2 year processor, ATI video and 512MB memory is better than my new Intel quad core, 4 gb memory, and 768MB 8800 GTX Ultra? (All in a PC that was less than $2K).

    REALLY? You really gonna try that and expect PC gamers to buy that? You are going to turn your back on people who are the kind who are willing to spend more money on gaming than your average console owner? (I’m not knocking console owners).

    Funny, the Crysis guys just made the argument that the consoles can’t handle their game as they don’t have enough power.

    It’s clear that it’s easier to make a game for one or two fixed hardware platforms (consoles). That is what is really driving this decision. It would take longer and cost more to do a PC version, so why bother we’ll make a killing on the consoles. We can always bilk that market with a crappy port later.

    So once again, a developer that got its name off of PC Gamers buying their products is now given the middle finger.

  8. Briosafreak says:

    Until they give LucasArts and all their assets to Tim Schafer and make a sequel to Grim Fandango they are like dead to me

    Yep, I’m with you on this.

  9. Jahkaivah says:

    Talking about Tim Schafer, anyone know why Brutal Legends isn’t for the PC?

    As for this argument: someone should take Lucasarts up to take with this, I wasn’t even that fussed until I heard this shoddy excuse.

  10. Shawn says:

    what a bunch of azzholes Lucasarts is. A 4000 dollar PC? That’s insane. My 8800GT/Q6600 rig cost me 1000USD and it will wipe the floor with my 360/PS3. What a bunch of BS. I love how they claim the PS2 and Wii are ok to develop for even though they are no different than a low end PC.

    Lucasarts didn’t say it but they don’t want to release on PC because they don’t want people to have free, easy, and convenient access to the game. If it were on PC, you would have a percentage of people that would download it instead of buying it. As minuscule as that number is, in this world of counting every penny and pleasing every shareholder, they probably bought into the idea of “PC is open therefore it’s bad”. There’s no other logical reason I can think of.

  11. sigma83 says:

    Talk about forgetting your roots. That’s just sick.

  12. Myros says:

    Been hearing these types of nonsense comments since I started building my own computers with the old 286. Never thought I’d be hearing them from someone inside the industry though, he should know better. Maybe just trying to rationalize bad choices or maybe he’s just an idiot ;p

    Oh, and “Force Unleased” … seeing as your working on correcting others :)

  13. mrrobsa says:

    @Homunculus:

    Just wanted to say man that’s an incredible video you linked to. It was like a cross between the intro to GTA4 and the parade sequence from Ghibli film Pom Poko.
    So its generated by an executable file 180kb, what else is required? Surely an engine and textures aren’t part of that 180kb?

  14. redrain85 says:

    That’s the most transparent excuse about not doing a PC version of a game, that I’ve EVER heard. I’d expect that garbage to come from a PR or marketing monkey . . . but the game’s producer?

    How quickly these companies forget their roots, and the customers that helped get them where they are. The Jedi Knight series started on the PC, and were some of the greatest titles ever released on the platform. Now we’re callously shoved aside.

  15. Wurzel says:

    Though that excuse is nothing like good enough, I can see where they’re coming from, and that is that they are really developing two seperate games; one with physics-y goodness (which is a HUGE selling point for his game) for the 360 and the PS3, and one without for the PS2 and Wii. I’d imagine there’s very little in common between the two, other than textures and sounds.

    Thus in order to port to PC they’d effectively have to port two different engines, while also selling it as a single game, communicating with the user about which to install, having to be very careful with their advertising, etc etc. I can see why Lucasarts would decide not to bother, especially as most of the big names in game development are claiming (however falsely) that piracy stops you from making any kind of profit on the PC anyway.

  16. Ghiest says:

    He wanted a mass market game but doing an ngage version?

    Seriously can you get any more bold face lies?

  17. RichPowers says:

    What’s with the sense of entitlement? Why does LucasArts owe us a PC port?

    Claiming gaming rigs cost $4000 is FUD; he should spare us from the bull and flat-out say “we only want to develop for closed platform” or “a PC port would not be profitable for us.”

    And I agree with cliffski: more studios should treat the PC as its own platform and not as a recepticle for shoddy ports of months-old console games. Maybe that’s why they’re not releasing a PC version: it would be incompatible with the console design?

  18. Xaero says:

    One of the worst game dev excuses EVER.

  19. alphaxion says:

    something that I have been noticing for quite a while now is the prevalence amongst people at about the age of 13 to 18 is that in order to be called a hardcore PC gamer you need to have a £2000 or above PC.

    Yes, gone are the days when hardcore gamers used to talk about their ingame achievements and how they took such a low spec’d machine, overclocked the tits off of it and got it to run the latest games.

    The “new” hardcore gaming scene is entirely consumer driven rather than skill and knowledge based.

    weep for the future na’toth… Oops, wrong theme ;)

  20. Kanakotka says:

    Awww… no one picked up the fun Alienware flame there with me. It’s the only PC i know without professional quality 3D card that costs more than $2000. And the only PC where the case costs more than components. (it can’t all be air, right? RIGHT?!)

  21. alphaxion says:

    I mentally filter alienware out, mate.
    they were crap waaaaaay before dell bought them out.

  22. trunk3h says:

    This is what they are really saying imo

    “where not launching to PC right away / at all because we are concerned that we will lose sales from other platforms due the the avaliability of pirated PC copy”

    This has nothing to do with the varation in pc systems capability. Its PR, as once you’ve made a sale on a title it doesnt matter how well it actually plays after that.

  23. Cibbuano says:

    Ging says:

    I’ll forgive them if they do a version of Tie Fighter with new graphics…

    And I’ll forgive them if they do a Anakin-Padme Love Simulator (press ‘Q’ to say ‘I love you’, W to say ‘That’s because I’m so in love with you.’ and E to say ‘No, that’s because I’m so in love with you)

  24. Lavitz says:

    I was really hoping someone would interview LucasArts about this and find out why there is no pc version and i was hoping they would have a good reason. Well they gave us there reason, i don’t know what to make of it. No point in saying WTF are you retarded so ill just let it be and hopefully i run into a LucasArts employee so i can give him a piece of mind in RL.

  25. Anach says:

    That logic doesnt make sense. They are essentially saying that the lesser console players are used to their games performing up to a certain standard. So are lesser PC players generally.

    $2000 gets most people a fairly good upgrade to their PC, unless they are buying a complete off the shelf package each time.

  26. fryer says:

    someone said here that they are basically saying that the ds is more powerful than the pc. lmao. They shud just be honest and say it wudnt be cost efficient to produce the game for pc. Anyway why wud games like world of warcraft and warhammer be produced if there was no great market there? and the fact the people can play those games, yet cant play this game oh but the ds can? some retard at lucas arts needs the sack.

  27. Cliff says:

    Right on Grizzly, you hit the nail on the head! We’re the ones that put Lucas Arts on the map in the first place and then they abandon us. They’re now coming out with some crappy port over and the way I see it, is that they can shove it where the sun doesn’t shine. I have bought EVERY Star Wars game since the release of X-wing and I am sick of being shoved in the back of the line. I know that you did not want to knock Console gamers, but back in the day the console was known as the “poor man’s PC”. Yes things are different now, but it’s the PC gamer that is decicating thousand of dollars everytime we upgrade to a new system. So who is th real enthusist here? Someone that buys a console because they can’t afford to purchase the best hardware, or the PC gamer that tricks out his/her system for the very best graphics and smoothest possible framerate? A lot of people (like myself), take personal pride and dedicated not just the money, but the time it took to learn how to properly build their own systems from scratch. We are the ones that made these companies like Lucas Arts the Powerhouses they are today, not console gamers.

  28. Macq says:

    The review scores did him justice for lying about everything. There is still karma.