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LucasArts President Ward Steps Down
LucasArts President Ward Steps Down
February 1, 2008 | By Staff

February 1, 2008 | By Staff
More: Console/PC

LucasArts has confirmed to Gamasutra that former president Jim Ward has resigned "for personal reasons" from the game publisher and developer he has overseen since 2004, and will be leaving the company in the next couple of weeks.

A LucasArts representative has told Gamasutra the search for a replacement president is underway, and that in the interim, Lucasfilm Licensing's Howard Roffman will act as stand-in president.

Ward first joined Lucasfilm in 1997 as head of its newly formed marketing division. In May 2004, Ward was named President of LucasArts, helping oversee such titles as Star Wars: Battlefront, Knights of the Old Republic II and the publishing of the first Mercenaries title, along with MMO Star Wars: Galaxies.

The exec featured in a memorable Hollywood & Games Summit session from last year, discussing film-game convergence with EA's Neil Young, and stressing LucasArts multi-disciplinary approach to its properties: "We have revenue coming from the movie, from the game, from VFX, from sound so all of that matters to us."

It's unclear whether Ward will be imminently making an announcement about a new position within the game industry, or if he is transitioning in another direction.

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Whether Jim Ward resigned or was asked to leave is up in the air. However, one thing is clear and that is Mich (& company) was unhappy with his delaying of the Force Unleashed and Indiana Jones titles. They also didn't trust his numbers for increasing expected sales as a basis for delaying the game.

Lucas arts has a motto and that is to release kickass games on time on budget. Of the three Jim chose chose to prioritize kickass games over "on time" and "on budget", for that he should be commended (most games that go on to become blockbusters were delayed to improve quality).

Additionally, LucasArts is a "young company" in the fact that it fired every engineer save four in 2004. So they've had to rebuild from scratch - including a substandard engine. This is where Jim comes in, rebuilding the company from the ground up.

Now the head of licensing (Howard Roffman) is now interim president for Lucas Arts and this could spell trouble for the LucasArts division. There are some that believe that more money can be made by licensing the SW and Indiana Jones IP to third party developers than through in-house development. Whether Mr. Roffman's taking over the reigns of LucasArts represents such a shift will be only be revealed in time.

But one thing is for sure, Jim Ward was in a no win situation from the start, trying to meet unrealistic expectations - young team and some of the worst tools in the industry to work with. He chose kick ass games over selling out early on a game that was half done. It will be too bad that he will not be with LucasArts to reap the rewards of a job well done. The Force Unleashed will be a steller success (aka won't suck) because of Jim Ward.

And their tool for convergence with ILM is a joke. Zeno is garbage for game design (everything is 4x to 10x more complicated because it's forced to be shared tech with ILM). Saying that it is one of the worst first party developement tools out there would be a fitting description. This may be shocking to the outside but really this is widely accepted as fact by the engineers, designers, artists, producers and animators working at LucasArts. The fact that they they present this in Siggraph as a standard for convergence is a laughable farce. As far as Zeno is concerned it's the model of how *not to do it*. It can be fixed but it won't because the people on the top really don't know how bad things are.

Mickey Mullasan
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Dude, get a blog. Yieshe. And maybe some balls.