Posts Tagged ‘Disney’

Vader “Noooo”, Etc: Disney Closing LucasArts


Oh dear. Disney have told Game Informer that LucasArts studios are shutting down, although the name will remain to hold the licenses. They explained: “we’ve decided to shift LucasArts from an internal development to a licensing model.” This means Star Wars 1313 is a goner.

There’s clearly quite the story to be told here, but for such a once-mighty studio to have fallen unto complete abandonment must be one of the most catastrophic failures of management in gaming history. That or some kind of Lovecraftian curse. Yeah, maybe that’s it. Our thoughts are with those developers who are now out of work.

[Alternative headline: “LucasAren’ts”? Yeah? Big bucks, right here.]

New Republic: Obsidian Actively Pitching More Star Wars

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II was utterly masterful. Sure, it had more rough edges than a Sarlacc Pit who’s also a door-to-door woodchipper salesman, but the underlying tale mixed oppressive darkness, moral grays, and an eye for exactly what makes Star Wars tick to stirring effect. Personally, I think it far outstripped KOTOR 1, but to each their own. Naturally, though, I nearly grinned my face in half when Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart told me his Black-Isle-based collective is lobbying heavily to develop a new Star Wars RPG. “I would say it’s within the top three pitches we’ve ever come up with,” he told RPS during a recent interview. But wait, what about the EA-shaped Death Star hovering over The Old Republic? Well, Obsidian’s new tale is set in a very, very different time period.

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Warren Spector’s Junction Point Closes

the parting of the ways

Sad news travels fast and although it’s taken a while for Disney to confirm, we’d already heard convincing rumours suggesting that Epic Mickey developers Junction Point had closed earlier today. Polygon have now received a statement from the House of Mouse, which reads in part: “These changes are part of our ongoing effort to address the fast-evolving gaming platforms and marketplace and to align resources against our key priorities.” No mention of the poor sales and reception of Epic Mickey 2, which was initially due on PC, then delayed, and now perhaps cancelled. The staff numbered 160 early last year and hopefully those who find themselves without work today will find new projects and/or studios soon.

Edit: Eurogamer have confirmation that Spector will not be staying with Disney.

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Of Monsters And Meatbags: SWTOR’s HK-51 Update

Don't worry, ma'am. We're only here to help.

Disney owns Star Wars now, so what better way to celebrate than with the most un-Disney character in the entire Star Wars universe? In fairness, Hk-51 isn’t HK-47 (who has already appeared elsewhere in Star Wars: The Old Republic), but they’re quite obviously cut from the same organic-life-loathing cloth. They probably also both loathe cloth, for that matter. Point is, don’t go into a frothy mouthed state of paralytic shock if your new companion combines the words “meat” and “bag” to form a phrase of a far more sinister nature. But the galaxy-spanning quest to secure an adorable HK-51 of your very own is only a small part of SWTOR’s upcoming update 1.5. The rest appears in a hyper-advanced eyeball stimulating holocron after the break.

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The Rabbit Alliance: Epic Mickey 2

There short videos have been attempting to promote Epic Mickey 2 since we last looked at the game and here they are gathered in one place. I can’t believe Warren Spector has managed to incorporate quite so many Star Wars characters and settings into the game in such a short time since the acquisition. The AT-AT boss fight looks absolutely stunning. That’s all in my head, of course, but crossovers are surely inevitable. Kingdom Hearts is the obvious bet, but will Spector develop a Star Wars game? Alec says ‘Tatooine Underworld’. I’ll go with Deus X-Wing.

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Disney Acquires All Of Lucasfilm – Including LucasArts

Star Wars: Episode VII - in which it turns out the first two Death Stars were only distractions to hide a THIRD DEATH STAR. Starring Harrison Ford as a reluctantly out-of-retirement Han Solo and Shia Labeouf as everyone else.

Star Wars‘ universe is ruled by an all-powerful elderly man who’s known for controlling the masses with unspeakable technological horrors and shooting lightning out of his fingertips. I’m talking, of course, about George Lucas. However, in the most exciting twist the franchise has seen since “I am your father,” he’s now mostly out of the picture. Disney has officially purchased Lucasfilm – all technologies, IPs, and rights to every property – for $4.05 billion. We now live in a world where Pixar or Joss Whedon heading up a new Star Wars film is a very real possibility. But what does this mean for videogames? Could we finally get that Ewok tractor-driving simulator everyone’s been clamoring for? Or Grim Fandango 2 developed by the team that made Disney Princess: My Fairytale Adventure? We can only hope. So far, though, here’s what we know for sure.

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No Consolation Needed: Epic Mickey PC-Bound Nov 18

Green robo-dragon needs sustenance! Also, will soon be blue robo-dragon.

Sure, Epic Mickey 2 may be part of a diabolical scheme in which we play as one kind of rodent (mouse) while being another type of rodent (guinea pig) for Warren Spector’s goal of turning every videogame ever into a musical, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be great. I’m curious, at least, given all the fightin’ words Spector’s been throwing around about his game’s maturity and the industry’s lack thereof. Fortunately, we won’t have to wait too terribly long to find out whether or not the cyberbrain behind Deus Ex has finally short-circuited, because Joystiq brings word from Comic-Con that Epic Mickey 2’s PC version is launching day-and-date alongside consoles on November 18. Also, Disney released the sing-along sequel’s opening cinematic today, so you can even do a little judging right this very second.

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Take Note: Epic Mickey 2 Cast Will Break Into Song

He's not really a mouse.
Speaking to Gametrailers, in a chunk of footage you can see below, Epic Mickey 2 lead Warren Spector explained that the fully-voiced cast for the new platformer will regularly feature characters breaking into song, in that time-honored Disney fashion. These songs will apparently explain things and further the story.

Spector also told IGN: “This time around, in the second game, I just wanted to take a baby-step to making the full-blown interactive musical game. This is not it. Gamers, you tell ’em there are songs in the game and they start getting panicked, but I just want to see if people will accept songs in games and, if they do, next time I’m going crazy.”
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Play Fix-It Felix, Defeat Wreck-It Ralph

they will throw him off the building and he will die

The trailer for Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph, with its abundance of gaming cameos, seems to have won over all but the grumpiest of Earth’s residents. Even I cracked a smile, although I continued to smile as I watched grimly unnerving British horror film Kill List afterwards so don’t read too much into my facial expressions. I’m all but certain that there will be a Kinect controlled mini-game laden nightmare of a 3D platdeformation to herald the film’s November release, but right now you can play something better. Fix-It Felix, the arcade game that Wreck-It Ralph escapes from. It’s simple, Donkey Kongy and jolly good fun.

A Quick Aside: Wreck-It Ralph Film Trailer

Who Framed Jazz Jackrabbit.

Do I care that most the characters you’ll spot in the lovely trailer for Wreck-It Ralph are from consoles and arcades? No I do not. Because I’m super-happy after watching a trailer for a movie not based on a game, but based on the concept of games. It looks, incredibly, like there might be a game-themed film that doesn’t make me want to pull out my own arms. And from Disney, no less. The game: try to see how many licensed game characters you can spot in each scene.

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Baby We Were Born To Tron: Evolution PAX

Daft Punk had had enough

Amongst the PAX footage collated by VG247 is another gameplay clip from the apparently-out-on-Dec 7th Tron Evolution. It’s looking… well, a little like what I’d imagine the early 10s equivalent of late 80s Ocean would have done if given a Tron licence. Sections of action which hark to the key elements of the film’s iconic resonance (Pardon? – Ed) with a bit of platforming thrown in the side. Footage follows…
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Do-Tron Tron Tron, Do-Tron Tron: Evolution

Bikes of Light, Yesterday. Sorry: I've used up all my inspiration on the subject line.

You may wonder why we haven’t written anything about Tron: Evolution yet, considering it was announced late last year. Why, because we’re incredibly lazy, of course. Like, obv. But the sudden onrushing on E3-malarkies have raised me from my lethargy. The full game’s out by Christmas, apparently. It’s about living programs in a OHYOUALLKNOWWHATTRONIS! Anyway, the trailer follows, plus 3 enormous videos courtesy of the Ant to our Grasshopper, Gametrailers…
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Spector Wanted Deus Ex. Eidos Say No. :(

I admit, this story was at least partially motivated by a desire to post this.

Variety have been interviewing Warren Spector about the Wii-Epic Mickey game and amongst the information that’s irrelevant to THE WORLD’S MIGHTIEST PC GAMING BLOG a couple of facts came to light. Specifically, some more details of the two games which Junction Point were working on before they were acquired. One was a fantasy game, but the other was basically Deus Ex with the serial numbers filed off because Eidos wouldn’t sell the IP to him. “There were and still are ‘Deus Ex’ stories I would like to tell. That story is not done for me,” he says in the interview. Most crucially, the rights to the two games went to Disney with Junction point and aren’t dead. In other words, we could still see Spector’s Bioshock, if you follow my metaphor. As he said to me a few years ago, it’s possible he’ll only work on three more games before he retires. Epic Mickey, Not Deus Ex and incarnating a Fantasy World his wife and he have wanted to do for fifteen years would be a fine way to round off his ludography.

Split/Second Off-Screen Video


VG247 seem rather excited about Black Rock racer Split/Second, and they’ve supplied a video from the demo of the game at the Eurogamer Expo in Leeds, UK, which I’ve posted below. It shows of some of the track-exploding special powers, things destroyed and burning on the track, and a glimpse of the other craziness that the full game will feature. The car having its own HUD readouts attached is an intriguing touch. I can’t say I’m massively excited about this one, but it’s promising. Apparently it’s out early next year on PC, published by Disney. Bizarrely, the official site seems to be the game’s Facebook page.
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Disney Vs Tim Burton: Alice In Wonderland


A darkly grown-up Alice In Wonderland game? There’s an original idea for a videogame, right? Okay, so we’ve been here before, but this time around it’s the interactive accompaniment to Tim Burton’s Johnny Depp vehicle, Alice In Wonderland, which sees an older Alice return to the scene of her original surrealist romp. The Disney Interactive Studios announcement explains that: “With an upgradeable combat system, players collect “impossible ideas” to replay levels and unlock Underland’s secrets. Players must carefully select the supporting characters and their abilities to defeat the numerous enemies set forth by the Red Queen and her army of cards, destroy the Jabberwocky and restore Underland back into Wonderland.” We do like impossible ideas round here: strafe jumping, portable holes…

Alice will apparently arrive along with the film in “early 2010”, and it’s being developed by Etranges Libellules, or “Strange Dragonflies”, who have developed a number of uninspired third-person games over the last decade, including the last (and not too awful) Asterix game on PC.

Whinge For The Day

I would rather have a bleak, ugly DOSian text list than an animated menu screen that takes two agonising minutes to load each and every time just because it’s got a pretty 3D effect in the background (and that’s before a second, longer loading screen for the game itself). Pure, I’m looking at you – a game in which I’ve spent roughly twice the time staring at loading screens that I have actually playing the thing. Christ, how does this kind of glaring annoyance not come up in playtesting and QA? This SSX-with-ATVs console port is a big old fun time otherwise. More on it soon, I suspect.

Spexar: A Gaming Dream-Team?

WARRRRRRRRRRRRR-EEEEEEN

Interesting timing, this. I was chatting to a journo-chum yesterday about how disappointingly tedious the Wall-E game was, and how odd and sad it was that a film studio as accomplished as Pixar would be happy to let such turgid nonsense be officially associated with them. Why do Pixar not start an in-house development studio of their own for these titles? Surely shared in-house digital assets would make the art and graphics a bit easier, and they’d be able to ensure these were proud counterparts to their celluloid output rather than let themselves undermined with shoddy cash-ins. The phrase I used was, I believe, “Pixar could be the Blizzard of kids’ games if they wanted.”

Suddenly, it sounds like this very particular dream may come true. WARR-EN to the rescue…
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What Games Mean


Disney’s proto-MMO, Virtual Magic Kingdom, is closing down. The resulting coverage is remarkably difficult to read.

If nothing above moves you to feel that this human interest story is anything more than the closing of yet another online game, allow me to leave you with a direct quote of an entry from the online journal of an 11 year old VMK player has Spinal Muscular Atrophy which controls voluntary movements, such as crawling, walking, swallowing and breathing:

“My favorite web site, Virtual Magic Kingdom (VMK) is closing May 21st. I’m sad and MAD! I can’t live without my friends on VMK. PLEASE sign my guestbook like a petition to SAVE VMK for me and my friends. Pass my site on to everyone you know so they can help too. I love VMK cause I can WALK, TALK, EAT, DANCE, SHOP and play checkers all by myself.

PLEASE HELP ME!

Love,
Madison
p.s. VMK is GERM FREE too!
p.s.s. and no one stares at me there.”

[Via Raph Koster.]

Update – Thread’s now closed to deter further bad eggs. As a general rule – if you can’t say something nice about an eleven year old who’s upset, you probably shouldn’t say anything.