Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you're familiar with Star Wars creator, sometimes director, George Lucas and his production company LucasFilm. He is the gent who not only created the Star Wars legend and wrote and directed the first edition after helming the hit American Graffiti, but started a special effects company that soon developed much of the effects in the films and has gone on to becoming a giant in the industry, Industrial Light & Magic. And do I even need to get into Skywalker Sound? THX, anyone? “The Audience is Listening”? Hello?
As the Star Wars films went on to become pop culture landmarks, the popularity of video games grew and Lucas created LucasArts to develop the gaming arm of his film franchise (and just in time for the three new prequels too). Since then, LucasArts has grown into one of the leading game creators in the biz, and the only ones making Star Wars-related games, which happen to have a…shall we say…MASSIVE following. Let’s take a look at the birth of LucasArts.
Since its beginning in 1982, LucasArts has been a leader in publishing and developing interactive entertainment software for video game console systems and personal computers. Founded by Lucas to provide “an interactive element to his vision of a state-of-the-art, multi-faceted entertainment company.” Every game combines elements from the Star Wars films with interactive gameplay, resulting in an experience that takes the player straight into the Star Wars world, and Lucas’ mind.
According to their Web site, LucasArts specialized on “creating rich, immersive worlds for players to discover,” where every game is filled with much detail, vivid settings, character development, compelling storytelling, and intense graphics. Their design philosophy is “to create games that inspire, challenge and engage players.”
LucasArts has received much critical acclaim, with the company’s products often earning Game of the Year honors, including multiple awards from the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. In 2003, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR) won over 35 Game of the Year awards and Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided became one of the fastest growing Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing games ever and quickly became one of the largest in the U.S. since its launch in June 2003.
Their latest games include Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, Star Wars Galaxies: Jump to Lightspeed, Star Wars Battlefront, and Star Wars Republic Commando. LucasArts is also exploring new original titles such as the revolutionary third-person combat-action game Mercenaries, which gives players the opportunity to take on the role of a soldier for hire in an open-ended world. It’s like Grand Theft Auto in the battlefield.
Learn more about this terrific company when G4TV.com talks to LucasArts’ own Eric Gewirtz on September 22, 2004 at 10:30pm ET / 7:30pm PT.
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[Editor’s note: LucasArts recently released a statement announcing it was undergoing "a major restructuring of its development studio." A notice on the company's Web site outlined some of the restructuring's details, including layoffs of 31 staffers and the appointment of Peter Hirschmann as vice president of product development. Hirschmann, a two-year LucasArts vet and former Electronic Arts producer, had been managing the development of Star Wars: Battlefront.]