Top 10 LucasArts Games We Hope Disney Plans To Salvage
LucasArts has a notorious reputation for releasing a perfectly crafted, perfectly executed video game and then shelving the franchise indefinitely. Their vaults are full of cobweb-covered IPs that were, at some point, every kid in school's favorite game.
But with Disney's recent purchase of everything that George Lucas has ever loved, many of us have our fingers crossed for a resurgence of some classic LucasArts titles. Here are the top ten titles that we're crossing our fingers for.
10. The X-Wing & TIE Fighter franchises
If you had a bad teenage mustache and owned a PC between 1993 and 1997, you undoubtedly spent a good deal of your free time playing one of the X-Wing titles. In fact, the second game in the series, Star Wars: TIE Fighter, is still regarded as one of the most important video games ever made. Not only did it revolutionize flight sims, it changed the way people thought about video games.
Yet, for some reason, LucasArts hasn't released a new title in the franchise for fourteen years, even though several of the original developers have expressed interest in returning to the series.
9. Pipe Mania
The LucasArts/Disney merger makes some gamers understandably nervous, and CEO Robert Iger didn't exactly remedy the situation by mentioning that Disney was planning to ignore the console market for the time being and focus their attention on "social and mobile" gaming.
And even though this is a depressing bit of news, LucasArts does have a one IP that would be a perfect fit for mobile devices: Pipe Mania. I'm sure that many GameBoy owners remember scavenging a copy of Pipe Mania, also called Pipe Dream, from the bargain bin at their favorite electronics retailer. For many, this plumbing puzzler served as an intermission when Tetris was getting a little long in the tooth.
Empire Interactive, the developer behind Big Mutha Truckers, did release a remake of Pipe Mania several years ago, and even ported it to iOS. But very few changes were made over the 1989 classic. So, there's definitely room for improvement.
Actually, a new version of Pipe Mania would fit perfectly into Disney's current mobile development strategy. It could be a companion title to Where's the Water. They could even call it Where's the Water: Pipe Dream.
Are you writing this down, Disney? I just made you the biggest name in mobile-platform, water-oriented gaming. You're welcome.
8. Maniac Mansion
The adventure game genre was one of the earliest well-established genres in gaming. Titles like Wizard and the Princess and King's Quest laid the foundation for future blockbusters like Myst. But Maniac Mansion was an integral part of pulling the genre into the modern era.
Until the mid 1980s, most adventure titles were text-based, black and white, and cumbersome. But with video technology advancing quickly, LucasFilms decided to jump into the gaming market by developing Maniac Mansion, a witty, cutscene-heavy point-and-click adventure title.
(Interesting Fact: The word "Cutscene" was coined by Ron Gilbert, one of the Maniac Mansion creators to describe the video elements in the game.)
Players loved LucasArts' nouveau approach to interface design and interactive storytelling, and Maniac Mansion became a runaway hit. It was so popular that Eugene Levy created a television series based on the game in 1990, and LucasArts released a sequel in 1993.
However, for the last 20 years, the Maniac Mansion franchise has been gathering dust at Skywalker Ranch. But with the adventure game genre experiencing a renaissance of sorts, players might be ready for the Mansion to unlock its doors again. Should I get Eugene Levy on the phone?
7. The Dig
After experiencing so much success in the adventure game genre, LucasArts practically couldn't help themselves from releasing a flood of successive adventure titles. Indiana Jones and Labyrinth, two films that Lucas was working on at the time, both got the adventure game treatment. But in 1995 things changed a little.
Nearly every title that had been released up until 1995 relied heavily on slapstick humor, but when LucasArts finished work on The Dig, the public got a much more serious offer.
In retrospect, The Dig's storyline wasn't exactly unique. It was lifted, with permission, from an episode of Amazing Stories that had been written by Steven Spielberg. And a good chunk of that plot was used in Armageddon. (Remember that movie? It had Bruce Willis and Aerosmith.)
However, expectations were lower in those days, which is why I would love to see Disney revisit The Dig franchise and explore the universe a further.
Loom was a huge departure from the adventure titles that LucasArts had become accustomed to by 1990. Actually, it was a huge departure from most of the gaming paradigms at the time.
The game was a strange little side-scroller that required players to memorize musical sequences in order to cast spells and solve puzzles. The characters carried no inventory, save a staff, which was used to "weave" music.
In 1990, all of the musical interaction was accomplished via the mouse interface, but these days, Loom's unique gameplay could easily be updated to support a touch-based interface. This means Disney's obsession with Mobile devices might actually bring about an interesting gameplay experience.
5. Sam & Max
Fine. Technically, Telltale Games has been releasing a constant stream of Sam & Max titles since 2005. And technically it's only been a couple of years since the last one came out. But I think we can all agree that these games should be coming out faster.
I love those guys.
4. Indiana Jones
It's probably safe to say that Indiana Jones fans have never been given the game that they deserve. If we're really being honest here, Nathan Drake and Laura Croft are both versions of Harrison Ford's iconic character, so there's definitely a market for a rock-solid Indiana Jones title.
Plus, we could digitally make Harrison Ford look younger so it's believable when he uses his whip to swing onto a moving vehicle. (Sorry, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.)
Also, now that George Lucas doesn't own the rights to the Indiana Jones franchise, perhaps someone could write a film/game that doesn't include man-eating ants and an army of monkey henchmen.
3. Star Wars: Jedi Knight
It has been far too long since everyone's favorite digitized Jedi, Kyle Katarn, has made an appearance on the computer screen.
Jedi Knight 2 was one of the most unique multiplayer experiences of the mid 90s. With a cleverly tailored loadout, your Jedi could easily dodge rockets and deflect gunfire while slicing your way through an army of enemy players.
Now, I'm aware that there are about a billion Star Wars games on the market at the moment, but why can't Kyle Katarn come out of retirement for a little while? It's been a decade since we've been able to hang out, and I miss him.
2. Full Throttle
I must admit, I was a little nervous about adding Full Throttle to this list.
Full Throttle is one of the most beloved titles in video game history, which means that a discussion about sequels can often be, well, sensitive. However, LucasArts has tried on two separate occasions to develop sequels to the 1995 hit.
In 2000, they announced a title that they were calling Full Throttle: Payback, but the development was eventually shut down due to disagreements about style. LucasArts never officially announced the cancelation, but did confirm the media's suspicions when asked.
At E3 in 2003, the developer showed off a playable demo for a game titled Full Throttle: Hell on Wheels. Critics quickly panned the graphics and critiqued the development without Tim Schafer at the helm. However, it seemed like Lucas was still planning to move forward with the project until Roy Conrad, the voice actor for Ben, the main character, died during development.
Here's the deal; as much as I intellectually hate the idea of Disney developing a game without Conrad and Schafer, I do wish that one of the sequels had seen the light of day. And I think it's possible for a new Full Throttle story to be told without stepping on the classic title's toes.
Though, Lucas does have a tendency to ruin old franchises, so it could be a risky venture.
1. Grim Fandango
Just like any good single-player campaign, Grim Fandango was over long before I was willing to stop playing. And even though I've replayed the title multiple times, I can't help but wish that more stories were being told in the Grim Fandango universe.
However, much like Full Throttle and Maniac Mansion, the prospects for a sequel are slim.
Shortly after Disney announced the LucasFilm buyout, the man behind Grim Fandango, Full Throttle, and Maniac Mansion tweeted: "In all seriousness, though, who gives a damn about old ideas? Mine, George's, Walt's, anybody's? New ideas are being created every day. The best entertainment news we could ever hear would be some rich person just bought every IP, forbidding anyone from using them."
And he's probably right, which means that this entire article was a gigantic waste of your time. Sorry.
Date: November 1, 2012
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*