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LucasArts' revolving door keeps on spinning
LucasArts' revolving door keeps on spinning
August 3, 2012 | By Mike Rose

August 3, 2012 | By Mike Rose
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Newsbrief: Star Wars house LucasArts has lost yet another president, making that the third president to step down from the company in just over four years.

Paul Meegan, who was originally Epic Games China CEO, is the latest president to cut ties with the publisher. He joined LucasArts back in 2010, taking over from previous president Darrell Rodriguez. Before Rodriguez, Jim Ward had been president for four years, before resigning in 2008.

Meegan was overseeing the recently announced Star Wars 1313 before he left the company earlier this month. He's not the only high-profile name to leave the company this year either, as creative director Clint Hocking resigned in June. LucasArts did not name a replacement for Meegan.


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Comments


Ken Love
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Shame on them. "Who do they think they are? Disney?"

Benjamin Quintero
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"same as it ever was" - talking heads

John Woznack
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Is it my turn yet?

Charles Weng
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Once upon a time, LucasArts was not just the digital merchandizing arm of the Star Wars and Indiana Jones movies (Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe, Monkey Island, Grim Fandango).

Once upon a time, the digital merchandizing of Star Wars and Indiana Jones movies that came out of LucasArts was actually pretty good (Indy Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, Jedi Knight, Kotor - ok we have to give credit to Bioware and Obsidian for those).

LucasArts needs to do two things to get itself out of the rut it's been stuck in since the start of the new millennium. One is a rebranding: rename your company so people won't think the only thing you can ever do is Star Wars-themed games. The other is to publish or, gasp, develop a major title that isn't based on Star Wars.

Ken Love
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Charles,

I think they have the typical BIG movie studio mentality. "We're a BIG movie studio, we can get the best talent and we'll just throw some money at the the projects should we run into any issues." Typically, they end up spending lots of money on hiring dopes that do nothing but take their money, lollygag and take it easy and then put out incredibly lackluster wares. Eventually, those dopes move onto other companies after the movie studios pull out of the game industry. BUT... not before they've completely run the game portion of these studios into the ground. See 20th Century Fox, Paramount Interactive, MGM Interactive, Turner Interactive, Disney, Dreamworks SKG and Time Warner for prime examples. :-(

Charles Weng
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I agree completely, Ken.

Your reasoning can also explain, in a way, why the major publishers are doing mostly nothing but sequels, and are either unwilling or simply unable to innovate and move the game industry forward.

You can also add to your list the imminent sale of Blizzard/Activision by Vivendi/Universal. Except, of course, those game publishers can still do quite well on their own, instead of relying on movie licenses.

Ardney Carter
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[edit] Adding the quote from the post I'm responding to for the sake of clarity.

"LucasArts needs to do two things to get itself out of the rut it's been stuck in since the start of the new millennium... the other is to publish or, gasp, develop a major title that isn't based on Star Wars."

While I certainly won't argue that diversification isn't a good thing I'm not so sure I'd agree with the assertion that the only way out of the rut for LucasArts is to stop developing games in the Star Wars universe.

What I would say they need to do though, is stop telling the same story and using the same perspectives. In other words, make a game where you aren't playing yet another force user. The IP is a lot more flexible than that single journey, even if it may be the most iconic. There are plenty of other experiences they could generate. Off the top of my head:

Give us another flight simulator ( I want a sequel to Tie Fighter, curse you!)

Make the implied sequel to Republic Commandos

Or, if they were feeling really bold they could give us something a little more challenging. Make a game where the player is put in the role of an Imperial Commander tasked with maintaining order on a somewhat remote world. You need to eradicate local criminal organizations and rebel insurgent elements while endeavoring not to push the distrustful and resentful population into the ranks of the enemy. Being remote, your access to supplies and reinforcements is limited so your shrewd management of your forces and their interaction with the locals determines your ability to fulfill your mandate. Tighten your grip too much and your adversaries multiply but behave too leniently and your troops are put in greater peril. You will not become a Jedi or Sith. You will not join the Rebel alliance. You succeed by maintaining control of the world, keeping your troops alive, and generating loyalty to the Galactic Empire in the local population. The game could act as a lens to explore the complexity and intractability of the counter-insurgency operations we've seen in the wars of this century without getting bogged down in the political baggage associated with making games dealing directly with that subject matter.

And that's just from a minute or 2 of brainstorming. So no, I don't think the Star Wars IP in and of itself is a problem for LucasArts, but rather how they are choosing to handle its potential.

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Ardney Carter
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@Joshua

I think we aren't exactly on the same page and I apologize for that as I know I have a tendency to ramble and not be as clear as perhaps I could be.

The main point I was trying to convey was that I don't agree with Charles' assertion that LucasArts NEEDS to abandon making Star wars games in order to become relevant again (though neither was I suggesting that new IPs would hurt them).

You state that the novelty of Star Wars is gone. I would not disagree but only offer that novelty isn't mandatory for enjoyable experiences.

You then list 3 aspects of the Star Wars universe to back up your assertion. I find it telling that 2 of those 3 things had to do with the Force user mythos. See my earlier remarks RE: not exploring that portion of the IP anymore. There IS more to Star Wars than the Force.

You then ask a series of questions related to content in the Star Wars universe which I took to be your way of decrying the lack of engaging content in those areas; to which my retort would simply be that just because it doesn't seem to exist now does not preclude it from existing if only someone bothers to make it.

You close by saying there has been a lack of believable heroism and mature thought provoking material. To the 1st part of that statement I reiterate that by shifting the focus away from the Force users you can create examples of 'believable heroism' in the universe. To the second part, it's really up to the teams creating the game as much as the audience to determine what qualifies as mature content. In my 3rd brainstorming idea I listed concepts that I feel had the potential to be 'mature' and provoke some thought about real world issues and concepts. Obviously your mileage will vary but my point is that you CAN use the Star Wars IP to generate that kind of content.

You finally end by stating in part that Bioware has in your opinion generated good writing for the franchise in recent years. So if it has happened before, it can happen again, yes? I don't think we're really too far off in our feelings about the potential inherent in the IP. It's just going to take some creativity and perhaps some bravery on the part of the people at the wheel.

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Ken Love
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Yes. Vivendi / Universal is essentially a FRANCH version of Time Warner. They are certainly a media power house, but therein lies the problem. They're spread out all over the place. I personcally believe one of the reason they're selling off Activision / Blizzard is just that. "They are spread too thin and have their hands in many projects.. and not just games. Games is something they originally knew not a whole lot about. Yes, it makes them some money, but it's also no industry secret that there's alot of $$$ hurting in the industry as well. The way I (.. and maybe they) see it, why not just cut our losses now and take a step back into that which we do know. "Joe Blow Media." Does Activision make them alot of money. "Probably.. yeah." Does it make them F-You money, ehh... maybe a little. I do think the BIG A is having quite a few losses here and there as well. Blizzard is doing well, they probably always will.. BUT.. they're starting to lose some followers (er.. money) money as well. Will they go out of business? Probably not.. BUT... again.. for Vivendi.. let's cut our losses while we can. The big / chief Activision office is located in Santa Monica. It used to be WAY full of people. My cohorts there now tell me that anymore, it's nothing but a big empty shell of a building. "Scary!" Aside from a couple'a satellite studios nearby, a vast majority of work now comes out of the Minnesota office. This studio we used to refer to a Valuevision, mainly because this is where the most of the budget software came from. Good for them though, the Value group has shown that they can certainly handle the big boy titles and do it for alot cheaper, cut the BS bureaucracy for the most part and get things done relatively quick.

Jack Young
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This may be an additional circumstance of all the trouble befalling Star Wars: TOR. LA has a high hand in that game much as they did (IMHO) in SOE's Star Wars Galaxies. TOR was firmly targeted at World of Warcraft and completely failed. Now the game is going Freemium or F2P.

Craig Timpany
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Has anyone managed to calculate the orbit of George Lucas from the frequency of presidents getting ousted?


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