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A LucasArts Post-mortem


Miltiades
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LucasArts' demise is still fresh in everyone's minds and you might wonder if another look into LucasArts' history is worth it. Well, Gameinformer's LucasArts Post-mortem article "Fall Of The Empire: How Inner Turmoil Brought Down LucasArts" is definitely worth the read. It goes into the mismanagement, the unrealistic ambitions, George Lucas crazyness and more! Some quotes:

 

On Jim Ward:

 

He was a challenging person to get to understand. He came from the film side. His objective was nothing less than changing the way the entire industry worked by the sheer force of his own will. He was quoted several times basically saying, ‘I don’t understand why video games can be late. When Industrial Light and Magic works on Harry Potter, they don’t have a choice to be late. The movie’s going to open. The effects have to be done. You don’t get it. There’s no choice. So I don’t understand why we get in this situation where games can be late.

 

On Lucas' imput:

 

“In one viewing of Fracture, [Lucas] said it looked really good, but he didn’t like [Mason Briggs’] name. We’re like, ‘What do you mean, George?’ He responded to the effect of, ‘It doesn’t really fit. When he jumps on stuff, he moves pretty fast. I like B.J. Dart.’

 

“So everybody’s like, ‘No, he’s gotta be f---ing with us.’ He’s absolutely not. So when something like that happened – in the middle of the campaign, mind you – we have to go back through that entire naming convention again… from scratch.”

 

On what could have been:

 

Star Wars: Imperial Commando, a sequel to Republic Commando, would have put the player in control of an Imperial assault team, but never made it out of the conceptual phase of development. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic III was almost greenlit, but none of the people I talked to involved in the project knew why it was canceled. “Most of the conceptual and story groundwork for the title was there,” a LucasArts employee says. Star Wars: Jedi Knight III – Brink of Darkness and Jedi Master were two different directions LucasArts hoped to take its Jedi Knight series, but neither made it to proper development.

 

On LucasArts' relationship with the defunct Battlefront III project's Free Radical:

 

Internally, because this was right when Haze was shipping, we were all certain that they had pulled tons of resources off Battlefront to finish up Haze, and they wouldn’t tell us what was going on. We tried to get our producers over there and they wouldn’t let us into the building. The relationship just started fraying.”

 

And there's so much more George Lucas madness and tragic anecdotes.

 

"B.J. Dart". Haha.

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Ah, Lucas. He's the poster child for what happens when you have a guy running a company that everyone is too scared to say no to.

 

I doubt nobody says no. The reality is that he, as the one who created and was in charge of the company, was the one who had the last word. Just like in any other company.

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I doubt nobody says no. The reality is that he, as the one who created and was in charge of the company, was the one who had the last word. Just like in any other company.

Only with other companies, the person at the top lets the people below them do the jobs they were hired to do without interfering and making it harder for those people to do their jobs.

 

The people in charge of the company choose the general direction the company goes in, the people below makes it happen... what the person at the top SHOULDN'T do is micro-manage every decision.

 

Rarely do companies have leaders that micro-manage everything... the only examples you hear are Steve Jobs and George Lucas... and Steve Jobs was a hell of a lot better at it than Lucas ever was.

 

The folks over at LucasArts needed to grow a backbone and tell GL that while he was a "fine film maker"... he knew **** all about games and needed to let them do their jobs.

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Only with other companies, the person at the top lets the people below them do the jobs they were hired to do without interfering and making it harder for those people to do their jobs.

 

Without interfering? I don't think so. And I also doubt he gives creative input with the purpose of making their job harder.

 

The people in charge of the company choose the general direction the company goes in, the people below makes it happen... what the person at the top SHOULDN'T do is micro-manage every decision.

 

But he didn't micro-manage every decision. All I can blame him for, is the timing of his suggestions.

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I would've been much more bitter about the Lucasarts shutting down had their library of games not sucked (minus a couple of exceptions) for the last 5 or so years they were in existence. They were pretty much dead to me when they cancelled the Indiana Jones game (the main reason I purchased an Xbox 360 in the first place) and turned it into a Nintendo Wii tech demo.

 

I'll always remember the great times, and I try to forget the bad times...unfortunately, to no fault of any one person, there were more bad times than good after about '03 or '04. Just the way it goes, I guess.

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