Posts Tagged ‘Lucasarts’

Imperial: Revisiting X-Wing And TIE Fighter

To commemorate the digital release of classic Lucasarts games X-Wing and TIE Fighter [Steam or GOG for the best versions here and here], we commissioned Rob Zacny to take a trip down memory lane and into the laser-singed spaces between the stars. He came back with extensive thoughts as to the quality of the games, and their place in Star Wars lore and legend.

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TIE Fighter & X-Wing Collector’s Editions Now On GOG

Don't you even dare tell me this screenshot is from a different version.

Star Wars versions are a serious concern to fanatics. Really you should watch the LaserDisc versions of the original trilogy, so I hear. The same goes for versions with certain Star Wars games. It was nice that GOG dug up X-Wing and TIE Fighter, and nicer that they included the original floppy disc versions as well as their 1998 revisions, but what about the CD-ROM versions from 1994 and 1995? According to Those Who Know, those are the best versions of the two space sims.

GOG have rummaged around again, and dug them up yesterday. If you own X-Wing or TIE on GOG, you’ll now find you have their Collector’s Edition versions too. May April 29th be with you.

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Good Ol’ Lucas: GoG Add Outlaws, Zak McKracken & Indy

GoG.com has just added six Lucasarts(films) games, three of which are enjoying their digital debut. The debutantes are 2.5 wild west shooter Outlaws, Zak McKracken And The Alien Mindbenders, and Indiana Jones And The Emperor’s Tomb. All three will make a smattering of people very excited until those same people actually take the time to revisit the games, at which point they’ll either loudly deny the trickery of nostalgia while pulling a face like a kid pretending to enjoy a Liquorice Allsort, or they’ll quietly mutter something about the “shuddering, shifting, deceitful veil that is memory” while weeping into a pint glass. As for me – thoughts below.

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Full Throttle’s Great Relationship

This week I’ve been trying to think about a relationship between a man and a woman in a game where they become close, but don’t actually have romantic involvement or a silly damsel in distress situation. There’s a strange set up that is echoed throughout our culture that [heterosexual] men and women can’t be friends, just like in Billy Crystal’s famous speech in When Harry Met Sally. ‘You realise of course that we can never be friends. …Men and women can’t be friends, because the sex part always gets in the way.’ ‘I have a number of men friends…’ ‘They all wanna have sex with you. No man can be friends with a woman that he finds attractive. He always wants to have sex with her.’

Well BILLY CRYSTAL. Why don’t we start up Full Throttle and prove you wrong you silly Monsters Inc-voicing maniac.

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Have You Played… Full Throttle?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

I haven’t, you see. Well, I played the demo years and years ago, and I watched the cutscenes-stitched-into-a-movie version not quite so many years ago, but I’m very conscious that this 1995-made, 2040-set adventure is the big blindspot in my Lucasarts knowledge. I’m also aware that some people hail it as the studio’s most grown-up and impressive-on-a-level-beyond-just-funny hour. Given this is Grim Fandango re-release date, it seems timely to look back and wonder if Tim Schafer’s earlier, more leathery work deserves similarly modernising treatment.
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Triple Fine: Day Of The Tentacle Special Edition Announced

Double Fine have announced that their Remastered re-release of fine point ‘n’ clicker Grim Fandango will launch on January 27th, then completely overshadowed that with a casual mention that they’re also working on a ‘Special Edition’ of Day of the Tentacle. Crumbs! Whatever ‘Special Edition’ means, the classic LucasArts adventure game will have one next year. Day of the Tentacle was a fine game, but one I got stuck on in my idiotic youth and never finished; here’s my chance. What’s so special about this version is a mystery for now, as it’s announced and little more, but a mystery we can jab and guess at.

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Post-Irrational Decisions: 2K Founds New Super-Studio

reporting for dury, sir!

OK, normally “human being accepts new job at large company” isn’t our sort of news, unless it’s a really big name. The creative lead on Star Wars: The Force Unleashed perhaps doesn’t make it onto any auteur lists (though he has worked on enough other Star Wars games to fill a few Sandcrawlers), but Haden Blackman fetching up at 2K is fascinating because… well, what’s going on at 2K? Where are the big games going to come from in a post-Irrational (as-was) world? Well, perhaps from Hangar 13, a new 2K internal studio whose stated intention is “delivering mature experiences loaded with meaningful choices.” Reading between the lines: 2K wants its next BioShock.
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Have You Played… The Dig?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Space! Often we go there in our spaceships to zoom about pew-pewing at one another, and other times we go there to have a big old think about life, the universe and everything. While The Dig is more the latter than the former, it’s not all contemplation and character study. Lucasarts’ sci-fi adventure is one of the earliest non-comedy point and click games I played, and despite some hideous puzzles, it’s one I’d still heartily recommend.

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Sam & Max & X-Wing & TIE Fighter: GOG Get LucasArts

It's just luck, the Sam & Max promo board game, you know.

GOG weren’t the first joint in cyberspace slinging vintage video games, but they did get publishers digging a lot deeper into their archives (Good Old Games, they called themselves back in the day). Most publishers came to realise that hey, maybe it’s good for everyone if folks can buy our old games, but some were tangled in knots or lost in mysteries for yonks. It took almost five years for a group to free System Shock 2, and we’re still waiting for the best parts of the LucasArts catalogue.

Or we were, anyway. Here, they’re coming! Sam & Max Hit the Road, X-Wing, and TIE Fighter are now on GOG – the first time they’ve been on sale in years – as heralds of a re-release-o-rama.

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Monster Revan Looting Party: New SW:TOR Expansion

To my eye, Star Wars The Old Republic was an awkward marriage of BioWare’s singleplayer storytelling and World of Warcraft-derived MMO mechanics. It’s a marriage which seemed to satisfy no one, dooming SWTOR to a brief honeymoon and a slowly diminishing life of quiet desperation. A sad, science fiction Revolutionary Road.

Nice of BioWare to throw the game and its players a little lovin’ then, in a new expansion called Shadow of Revan. It’s raises the level cap to 60, adds a couple of new worlds like Yavin 4, offers new high-level raids, and introduces a new “discipline system” which will affect everyone, including those who don’t buy this $20 add-on. There’s an announcement trailer below.

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Let’s Guess The Fate Of The Fate Of Atlantis Fan Remake

Sofia, with a funny haircut

Option 1) Disney give it the thumbs up and it carries on to completion, rapturous acclaim and a whole host of olden LucasArts titles getting a similar do-over.
Option 2) You know. The other thing.

For now, let’s just admire the effort and care this five-person team are putting into a 3D remake of classic LucasArts pointer-clicker Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, which as we all now know is really about kissing. (And, frankly, that raises other concerns about just how carefully this project needs to be treated in order to not upset its delicate balance of characterisation and comedy). Take a look at work in progress below, anyway.
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S.EXE: Indiana Jones And The Fate Of Atlantis

Indiana Jones and the Fate of HIS FACE

A long time ago, when I was just a fledgeling writer who had just attended her first Game Developer’s Conference and only accidentally brushed shoulders with Tim Schafer at a bar, I was surprised to get a message on Facebook from Noah Falstein. He had noticed that my cover image was of the 1992 LucasArts point and click adventure Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. He saw it on my page thanks to a connection of a friend of a friend. He ‘liked’ it. And I realised: Noah wrote that game.

I guess that was the moment I knew I was privileged to be able to talk to the people who make the things I care about, and that I should spend my time critiquing their work. This week’s S.EXE is about the ‘team’ narrative strand of Indiana Jones And The Fate Of Atlantis. It’s got clinches worthy of Hollywood. I’ve not seen a kiss in a game that’s ever topped Sophia and Indy’s frequent tonsil-scraping embraces.

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Yes, Of Course: Grim Fandango Remaster Confirmed For PC

Cheer up, it's not the end of the world.

When Double Fine announced during E3 that they were remastering Grim Fandango for release on PlayStations, they carefully hemmed and hawed around saying it’ll be coming to PC too. “Talk about other platforms soon!” Tim Schafer cried, saying something very enthusiastic about working with Sony before leaping out a window and running for the hills. But obviously it will, right? Of course it will. Today Double Fine announced they’ll release their jazzed-up version of the lovely LucasArts adventure game for PC, Mac and Linux alongside the Sonybox versions.

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Connecting The DoTTs: Schafer Plays Day Of The Tentacle

Dave The Tentacle.

What are your personal memories of Day of the Tentacle? Mine is that for years before playing it, I thought it was called “Dave the Tentacle” because I’d only ever heard it mentioned in conversation with Scottish accents. Tim Schafer’s memories of the game are considerably more interesting. Not only does he know the name of the LucasArts adventure game, but over the course of this forty-minute video he talks about the inspirations behind the characters, the process of brainstorming the story, production details of particularly fine animations… It’s almost as if he worked on it.

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Super Roman Conquest Is Ex-LucasArts, Looks A Bit Rough

Placeholder art is placeholder.

So, here is a thing. As you well know (and are probably still biting back residual tears from), LucasArts is deader than the Death Star, buried in a coffin more wooden than Hayden Christensen’s Anakin Skywalker. It was a shame to see the legendary developer go, especially with promising projects like Star Wars 1313 in the works. Super Roman Conquest is, um, not exactly what I would have expected from survivors of the studio’s final days, but it does show some promise. It’s a 2D RTS, but with multiple “lanes” to mitigate the yawn-inducing simplicity such a setup might suggest. It also has quite a ways to go, by the looks of things. Naturally, then, it’s on Kickstarter.

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RIP LucasArts: An Obituary

It’s always genuinely sad when a game developer closes down. People lose jobs, many lives are affected, and the industry as a whole loses a degree of potential. But before now no news of a studio closing has brought me close to tears. The death of LucasArts, while perhaps inevitable to anyone following closely enough, has made me very sad indeed.

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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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Magical: Monkey Island’s Insult Swordfighting For Browser

I am rubber, you're a cow. Also, something about feather dusters.

It is one of the industry’s greatest crimes, I think, that the majority of games with swordfighting don’t include any sort of insult component. I mean, seriously: what happened? Where did we go wrong? I like to imagine that, off in some wonderful alternate dimension, things went the opposite way. People traded swords for words, and dairy farmers the world over reported an all-time low of self-esteem. In the dreary, sass-less dystopia we call reality, however, there is one shimmering lighthouse beacon of hope: a free browser-based version of Monkey Island 1 and 3’s classic variations on the theme. We can only pray that everyone who’s even the least bit interested in the oh-so-sensual art of swapping steel takes note this time around.

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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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