In 2012 George Lucas sold Lucasfilm, its subsidiaries and attached intellectual properties to Disney for a disgusting $4 Billion. In less than a months time we will see the first piece of fruit from that acquistion with the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens on December 18th. To coincide with the release of the forthcoming movie EA have this week released a reboot of the highly successful Star Wars: Battlefront video game series, which uses the awesome graphical capabilities of the latest consoles and PC hardware to finally realise the dreams of fans whom have always dreamt of being a part of the Star Wars Universe.
But there is a sad, dark side to the resurgance of the Star Wars universe, which impacts further beyond a galaxy far, far away. The new Star Wars: Battlefront has been developed by DICE and distributed by EA, whom entered an exclusive deal with Lucasfilm after their acquistion under Disney to produce all Star Wars licensed video games for the immediate future. Fans of Star Wars, and many of its more successful video game adaptations will be quick to point out that those games, which include classics such as the earlier Battlefront games, Rogue Squadron and Knights of the Old Republic were developed by a subsidiary of Lucasfilm called Lucasarts.
Lucasarts was founded in 1982 by George Lucas and became the primary developer of Star Wars games developed from then onwards. Since then Lucasarts rightfully earned a legendary reputation, akin to that that of Nintendo, producing an impressive catalogue of quality and classic videogames. But shortly after sealing the monumental deal Disney ceased all video game development at Lucasarts and kept only 10 of its employees so that the company could act as a licensor; Lucasarts remaining 150 staff, some of which also worked at Industrial Light & Magic (another Lucasfilm subsidiary) were laid off, with development of future Star Wars video games to be licensed out to EA. Early reviews of the new Battlefront game from IGN and Gamespot reflect the lack of any involvement from Lucasarts, citing the new game as initially spectacular but lacking the depth and focus that made the series, previously developed by Lucasarts, so great.
With Lucasarts no longer developing videogames and with many of its intellectual properties beyond Star Wars now owned by Disney and likely to dwindle silently into oblivion many video game greats will be lost. One example is, of course, the legendary Monkey Island games. These humorous point and click adventures filled with in-jokes and pop culture references were also some of the best developed and designed video games of their genre. As was recently the case with Minecraft, I was late in joining the mass of Monkey Island fans, initially avoiding the game for superfical reasons, but as with Minecraft, and Legend of Zelda before it I eventually tip toed into a Monkey Island game and became hooked, currently owning all but the last instalment Tales of Monkey Island (pictured below), which I have just ordered myself for the holidays.
The Monkey Island games aren't the only casualties of Disney's acquistion of Lucasfilm. Likely gone forever too are titles such as Grim Fandango, Maniac Mansion, Sam & Max and Mercenaries. While it may be true that some of these titles will be getting a digital remastering for all formats barring the Xbox One and Wii U (because of an existing deal Disney has with Sony), it is highly unlikely and quite frankly depressingly sad that any of Lucasarts intellectual properties outside of Star Wars will ever recieve new instalments, especially while DICE and EA remain in charge of video game development for Lucasfilm.