The lights are on
This was originally published on April 3, 2013, after we got the news that LucasArts as we knew it would be shutting down. In honor of Star Wars Day, we're sharing it with you again. We remain hopeful that new developers will get a chance to make their mark on Star Wars' rich video game history.
Today the news broke about LucasArts closing, leaving us to wonder about the game licenses now in the hands of Disney. Chairman and CEO Bob Iger indicated last year that the company wants to focus on licenses, but Disney could also sell some of its older licenses off.
With LucasArts out of the picture, we picked the developers we think would be great candidates to take on some of these licenses.
Star Wars: Jedi Knight – Ninja Theory
If Jedi Knight gets a reboot, it will need a strong developer to rejuvenate the series. With Ninja Theory’s success rebooting Devil May Cry, it just might be the company for the job. Jedi Knight II had a lot more action-adventure segments, and Ninja Theory proved it has that flair with action combat. Ninja Theory has a knack for making classic systems feel fresh, and it would be interesting to see how the company would reinvent a property as well known as Star Wars.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic – Bethesda/BioWare
Role-playing games are always a tricky fit, as they need great dialogue, intriguing characters, an all-encompassing story, and fluid combat. If any companies have what it takes to make Knights of the Old Republic tick again, Bethesda and BioWare are the frontrunners. BioWare originally developed Knights of the Old Republic with LucasArts, so it already knows the subject matter. Add in that BioWare has since matured and could use its dialogue and choice systems from the Mass Effect series to create its deepest experience yet. But EA might be gun shy after its Star Wars: Old Republic MMO not being as successful as desired. In that case Bethesda would be the best option; it’s clear from the company’s work on Elder Scrolls and the Fallout series that it knows how to create an interesting world – a mandatory requirement for setting a game in the Star Wars universe.
Indiana Jones – Ubisoft Montreal
Ubisoft Montreal has captured action and the sense of adventure with franchise like Prince of Persia, Far Cry, and Assassin’s Creed. Scaling walls and immersive backdrops are in this company’s blood. Ubisoft Montreal could finally catapult the Indiana Jones franchise into something truly special. Not many of LucasArts’ Indiana Jones games were good, but with Ubisoft Montreal in the picture, maybe Indy can finally have a video game crusade that measure up to his movie success.
X-Wing – Chris Roberts
Chris Roberts has proven he knows his way around a space combat simulation with the Wing Commander series and Freelancer. Taking the reins on the X-Wing series would be a natural fit for him. Since Wing Commander stood as X-Wing’s main rival, it would be interesting to see what the last guy standing in the space combat simulation universe could do. Roberts is working on his own game Star Citizen, but imagine what he could if he applied his wealth of experience designing space combat games with Star Wars’ well-loved universe.
Star Wars: Battlefront – DICE
DICE has been plenty busy with the Battlefield series, but it’d be nice to see them step into a new property. A team-based shooter with vehicular combat like Star Wars: Battlefront is a perfect fit. The Swedish developer stands out for its great engines, focus on unique team-based games modes, and exceptional implementation of vehicles into gameplay. Jokes have been that Battlefront is pretty much Battlefield: Star Wars already; the time is ripe to see what creative mechanics DICE would add to the series.
Star Wars: Empire At War – Stardock
Stardock has a great track record with strategy games and a commitment to getting them just right. The company has also tackled sci-fi storylines in Sins of a Solar Empire, which already has a Star Wars mod. Stardock has always been about hardcore strategy, and it could take Empire At War to a new level.
LucasArts Adventure Games – Double Fine/Telltale
Who wouldn’t want to see Tim Schafer return to working on the series that put him on the map? His current studio, Double Fine Productions has proven it still has plenty of passion for the genre with its latest adventure game Broken Age. Can you imagine what he could do if he had the rights to Full Throttle, The Secret of Monkey Island, and Grim Fandango? Maybe he’d find himself working with Ron Gilbert again on a new Maniac Mansion. If Double Fine can’t acquire the license, Telltale Games is the next best option. The company has shown its love for the genre and continues to drive adventure games in new directions. Plus, Telltale already has experience with the Sam & Max series and developed Tales of Monkey Island.
Where would you like to see some of these franchises land?
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