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Interview: LucasArts VP Bihr Talks Going Beyond Star Wars

Interview: LucasArts VP Bihr Talks Going Beyond Star Wars Exclusive

June 30, 2010 | By Christian Nutt

LucasArts vice president of global publishing Mary Bihr tells Gamasutra that the company continues to be "committed to having an internal studio" and is "not opposed to looking in new directions", despite a Star Wars-centric E3 showing.

The company's lineup at the show included BioWare-developed MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic, Star Wars action sequel The Force Unleashed 2, and digitally-distributed remake Monkey Island 2: Special Edition.

Bihr's career with the company stretches back to the point-and-click days -- which are seeing a bit of a resurgence at the company with the reawakening of its Monkey Island franchise. "We will, when appropriate, support sequels that have strong sales potential, but we have moved in other directions as well, as you see with Monkey Island 2," she commented while talking to us during the recent trade show.

When it comes to the publisher's San Francisco studio, which has gone through some upheavals in recent years, she says, "We're committed to having an internal studio." She also praised the company's Singapore game studio, which began operations in 2007, as "starting to really demonstrate their strength as a studio."

"We see ourselves definitely supporting our sequels and blockbuster titles," Bihr continues. "We have a number of strong franchises... But we're not opposed to looking in new directions, digital initiatives."

Social gaming? "It's still an open question," she says. "I can't tell you anything specific... but we are looking at all viable options. We're not constrained by one specific direction."

When it comes to the company's self-image, she says, "We see ourselves as continuing a longstanding tradition we've had of being storytellers... Both original stories and original franchises, and then how we've even evolved Star Wars with story, through the games we've created."

"We're a company that is always looking for innovations as well," Bihr continues. "I think that's a hallmark going back to the old point-and-click days... all the way to today with the technology we're using in The Force Unleashed 2, both internally-produced and other technologies... I see us continuing along our tent pole strengths of storytelling and innovation."

E3 also marked the big announcement of a Star Wars game for Kinect. "I can't tell you specifically of details of our relationship [with Microsoft] or the evolution that occurred," says Bihr. "But I think the reaction of the crowd and the press reaffirms a game that we think will do well in the marketplace, where the core fantasy of swinging a lightsaber and being a Jedi, and being able to do that in a controller-free environment, will be successful."

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