LUCASAAAAAAAARTS WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY. I know, I know, the once brilliant adventure factory stumbled and fell into an infinite, severed-hand-filled Death Star abyss years ago, but I still can't help but mourn the legendary studio's loss. For its part, Raven Software's in a similar boat, but unlike me, it's been jealously clutching the source code to two major Star Wars videogames for years. (I, meanwhile, have only been jealously clutching the source code to my special ice cream soup recipe, my most valuable possession.) So, in the process of pouring one out for the Disney dismantled titan, it's released the full source code to one classic, Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, and one, er, whatever Jedi Academy was. You're now free to tinker to your heart's content with the entrails of either, or just jam a hypothermia-ridden Luke Skywalker in there, if that's your thing.
Raven explained the surprising, much-appreciated gesture in a statement to Kotaku:
“Raven is sad to hear about the closing of LucasArts today, we respected them and enjoyed working with them over the years. We wish the best for all the talented people who were let go and hope they find good work in studios in the industry.
“We loved and appreciated the experience of getting to make Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast and Jedi Academy for LucasArts. As a gift to the persistently loyal fanbase for our Jedi games and in memory of LucasArts, we are releasing the source code for both games for people to enjoy and play with."
It is, however, worth keeping in mind that Raven hasn't developed any additional, more fan-friendly tools, so expect a bit of a learning curve. Also, both games' retail versions aren't made to interface directly with modified source code, so modders will probably have to solve that puzzle if they want everything to nicely click into place.
Still though, source code is source code, and this is a pretty exciting development. I'd love to see it happen to beloved, non-id-Software classics more often - preferably, you know, without us having to sacrifice an entity that molded our childhoods first. But, er, I suppose beggars can't be choosers.