EA and Disney Ink Star Wars Game Deal

May 7, 2013 -

Electronic Arts announced that it has secured a multi-year, multi-title licensing agreement with Disney to create multiple Star Wars games. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, nor were any of the games that EA plans on making. The announcement was made by President of EA Labels Frank Gibeau on EA's official blog.

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Raven Software Releases Source Code for Two Star Wars Games

April 4, 2013 -

After the news yesterday that Disney was shutting down LucasArts, Raven Software decided that it was a good time to release the source code to two of its Star Wars-themed action games, Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast and Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy.

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Disney Closing LucasArts

April 3, 2013 -

Disney is closing LucasArts, the game development studio that has been a part of the LucasFilms family for decades. Disney said that its shift from an internal development model to a licensing model means that it needs to minimize its risks for its "broader portfolio" of games.

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Report: Clint Hocking Joining Valve Software

July 12, 2012 -

When it was revealed earlier this year that Clint Hocking had left LucasArts, people speculated where he would be going to next. Yesterday it was revealed that the former creative director at both Ubisoft and LucasArts, has joined Valve Software, though what his role will be there was not determined. Hocking is best known for his work on such titles as Far Cry 2 and the Splinter Cell series.

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Former Free Radical Leaders Describe LucasArts Management as 'Psychopaths'

May 4, 2012 -

It's always interesting when a developer becomes so disgruntled with a former publishing partner that they are willing to let it all hang out and say what is really on their minds. Several ex-Free Radical developers feels so strongly about their former publisher that they referred to them collectively as "psychopaths" in a recent conversation with Eurogamer.

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Lucas Licensing Extends Licensing Deal with LEGO by Ten Years

February 13, 2012 -

Lucas Licensing, the licensing arm of Lucasfilms, has renewed its lucrative Star Wars deal with The LEGO Group. The deal extends LEGO's popular toy line for another ten years. LEGO secured the original deal way back in 1999. The deal helped LEGO create the first product based on a third-party license. Since that time, LEGO has created toys based on such as popular franchises Harry Potter, Indiana Jones and Batman.

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BioWare: We Are Looking into SWTOR Server Queue Issues

December 19, 2011 -

After reports of Star Wars: The Old Republic early access users complaining about queues to get into game servers that lasted multiple hours, BioWare has said publicly that they are looking into the issue. The game is set to launch officially tomorrow. Jeff Hickman, Executive Producer – Live Services posted the following message on the official SWTOR web site:

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SWTOR Pre-Order Customers Get Two-Day Grace Period

December 16, 2011 -

For those of you still waiting to get into Star Wars: The Old Republic - a privilege you earned by pre-ordering the game, we might add - BioWare offers some good news: they are offering a two-day grace period for Star Wars: The Old Republic customers. The move is meant to reward fans who pre-ordered but have yet to get early access to the game. They are concerned about getting it in time for the December 20 launch of the game.

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Star Wars: Galaxies Shutting Down in December

June 25, 2011 -

Star Wars Galaxies, the popular MMO created by Sony Online Entertainment and LucasArts is shutting down by year's end. SOE announced that it planned to shut down the Star Wars themed MMO in December of this year. They are doing this, they say, to switch the focus on the next Star Wars MMO, The Old Republic.

SOE president John Smedley said the closure of SWG will not affect the team because it will be transferred to an undisclosed project in Austin.

An official letter to SWG players was posted on the forums, laying out the bad news:

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Clint Hocking Working for LucasArts on Unannounced Project

August 9, 2010 -

Those speculating on where Clint Hocking, former Ubisoft Montreal creative director, would end up can be put to rest today. Hocking has taken a job at Lucas Arts as creative director on an upcoming and as-of-yet unannounced project. Hocking left Ubisoft Montreal after serving as the company's creative director for nearly nine years. Hocking made his intentions to leave the company publicly on his blog earlier this year, saying: "I am too comfortable. I am too content. And I know where that can lead for me. Fortunately, for the first time in my life, I know the way forward," he wrote in May on his personal blog.

Today LucasArts confirmed that the man who helped steer such franchises as Splinter Cell and Far Cry was now working at the company:

"We are pleased to announce that Clint Hocking has joined LucasArts as creative director on an unannounced project," a LucasArts representative told GameSpot.

Hopefully we'll hear more about this project that Hocking is working on and why he thought it was important enough to jump ship to LucasArts.

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Former LucasArts CEO Launches Bid for Seat in Congress

August 15, 2009 -

Jim Ward, who left the CEO job at video game publisher LucasArts in early 2008, is now hoping to win a seat in Congress.

Ward, a Republican who currently works as a venture capitalist, is running to represent Arizona's 5th Congressional District. That seat is currently held by two-term Democrat Harry Mitchell. The district includes Scottsdale, Tempe and parts of Phoenix.

Ward outlines his philosophy on his campaign website:

I’m not a professional politician.  I’m a businessman.  And I don’t disagree that this country needs change.  But, in my experience, there’s the right kind of change and the wrong kind of change.  I believe what’s happening to this country represents the wrong kind of change...

Ward lists his political philosophy as conservative on Facebook. He has protested (see pic at left) against President Obama's healthcare plan.

Partially via: Kotaku

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Some Refreshing Straight Talk on Piracy from PC Gaming Alliance

October 20, 2008 -

Randy Stude, president of the PC Gaming Alliance, seems perfectly willing to cut right through the video game industry's party line on piracy.

Gotta love that.

In separate interviews published today, Stude dismissed dire industry claims that publishers would give up on PC games over the piracy issue. Then he slapped LucasArts for its approach to PC gaming.

On the piracy issue, Stude told Gamasutra:

The [online game] revenues being generated [in China and Korea] just blow the mind. You're talking almost 5 billion dollars. Almost half the world's PC software revenues are coming from marketplaces that have almost no retail at all...

 

You look at a game like Spore… despite the fact it's pirated out there on torrent networks, its selling great by any standard... it sort of bucks the notion that all games are going to be destroyed because of piracy. That's not the case...

I'm not saying that the [PC gaming] industry needs to accept piracy. I'm saying that if there’s nothing that can be done, the assumption that gaming will die on a platform is ridiculous.

LucasArts was taken to task over a producer's comment that Star Wars: The Force Unleashed wouldn't be ported to PC due to the challenge of developing for a broard range of PC configurations. Stude told gamesindustry.biz:

That's not an educated answer. In the last several years there have been at least 100 million PCs sold that have the capabilities or better of an Xbox 360. It's ridiculous to say that there's not enough audience for that game potentially and that it falls into this enthusiast extreme category when ported over to the PC. That's an uneducated response...

 

LucasArts hasn't made a good PC game in a long time. That's my opinion... I think the last good PC game they made was probably Jedi Knight 2... So I can understand why they would make that call.

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Washington Post Probes ESA Member Defections

June 8, 2008 -

Reporter Mike Musgrove digs into the ESA's recent difficulties in today's Washington Post.

Musgrove brings an interesting perspective to the piece, given that he wrote one of the early profiles of embattled ESA CEO Michael Gallagher last September. In response to Musgrove's questions about losing Activision, Vivendi, LucasArts and id as member companies, Gallagher said:

There are hundreds of trade associations in Washington and virtually all feature member turnover and the ESA is no exception.

Increased membership fees due to the scaling back of E3 may be part of the problem, Musgrove reports, quoting Wedbush-Morgan analyst Michael Pachter:

These [publishers] got rid of E3 so they wouldn't be spending money, and they suddenly find they are spending the same amount of money, but without the spectacle of E3. I can't comment on whether the ESA is effective or not, but clearly several members decided that this is not the kind of reward they expect for that amount spent.

 For the industry's largest players, those fees could be $4.5 million or more per year. id CEO Todd Hollenshead also cited membership fees:

Our departure from ESA is probably temporary and was not political. It was just a question of other priorities this year that we wanted to focus on... [The ESA] is a credit to the industry.

Hal Halpin, president of the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA), told Musgrove he knew of two other (unnamed) publishers that are planning to drop their ESA membership status:

Several [other publishers] are unhappy but remain with the organization... It's really concerning for all of us. Anyone who cares about the games business should be concerned about what's going on with the ESA.

Musgrove noted that Gallagher has maintained a relatively low profile since taking over the reigns, and that support was top-tier game publishers seems less effusive than it was in 2007:

[Gallagher's] been kind of quiet since that [September WaPo profile]... After a Fox News show featured an uninformed pundit going off about the allegedly sexually explicit nature of... Mass Effect, some gamers complained that the ESA did not step in to defend the game industry...

 

While top-ranking game industry executives were quick to get on the phone or respond to my e-mail queries about Gallagher last year, they weren't as chatty this year... Last year, Robbie Bach, head of Microsoft's game division, got on the phone to sing Gallagher's praises. This year, Microsoft sent me a statement: "We're as committed as ever to the ESA, and we look forward to participating in E3 this summer." Nintendo released a shorter, nine-word statement along the same lines.

For his part, Gallagher told Musgrove:

When it's necessary for the industry to have that loud, clear and public voice to defend itself from a baseless attack, I will be there.


 

Full Disclosure Dept: The ECA is the parent company of GamePolitics

25 comments

It's Official: LucasArts Bails on ESA

May 16, 2008 -

Following Activision and Vivendi out the door, LucasArts has made its exit from the Entertainment Software Association official.

GamePolitics broke the news last week that signs pointed to LucasArts leaving the organization which represents the interests of US video game publishers.

Since that time, both LucasArts and the ESA went into silent mode - until late today (Friday afternoons being the corporate mind's preferred time for dropping bad news).

Despite giving the kiss-off to ESA, LucasArts says that it will still exhibit at E3 in July.

We should note that while working on this story no fewer than five LucasArts PR reps failed to return GP's phone calls, e-mails and IM's. The ESA also chose not to respond. Notice that nobody was denying the rumor. Obviously, there was a good reason for that.

Joystiq has the ESA's press release, which the publisher's group did not deign to send to GamePolitics. I assume that's by way of payback for reporting the rumor.

Classy.

28 comments

Has LucasArts Bailed from the ESA?

May 8, 2008 -

Last week, GamePolitics first began to suspect that Activision and Vivendi might have left the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) after noticing that the game publishing giants were no longer listed on the member section of the ESA website.

Today there is another major company missing from that list: LucasArts

We've got messages out to several LucasArts contacts in an attempt to confirm. An ESA representative promised us he would "look into that."

So, we'll call this one officially a rumor... for now.

But if true, the exit of LucasArts immediately on the heels of Activision and Vivendi could signal that the ESA, founded in 1994 to represent the interests of US video game publishers, is rapidly taking on water.

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E. Zachary KnightThe Daily WTF has a nice run down of some of the impact to software that the US Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage has. http://thedailywtf.com/articles/i-m-not-married-to-the-idea07/02/2015 - 7:45am
MechaCrashGee, how did people ever get the idea Gaters are morons who argue in bad faith? It's such a mystery.07/02/2015 - 7:03am
E. Zachary KnightGoth, again, no one is saying that we shouldn't be writig uncomfortable subject matter. What people are saying is that chances are you are going to write it poorly so it would be better to not have done it at all.07/02/2015 - 7:00am
Goth_Skunkdiscussed or portrayed in an expressive medium. Such an opinion only serves to stifle discussion. And as I said before, the only thing not worth talking about is what shouldn't be talked about.07/02/2015 - 6:50am
Goth_Skunk@Info: The same reason why I would entertain the notion that the Wired article writer could be right: Curiosity. Except in this case, I'm not curious at all. I'm not interested in hearing anyone's opinion on why uncomfortable subject matter shouldn't be07/02/2015 - 6:49am
IvresseI think the problem with the Batmobile is that they made it a core aspect of the game that you have to do continuously. If it was basically a couple of side games that were needed for secret stuff or a couple of times in the main game, it would be fine.07/02/2015 - 5:38am
Infophile@Goth: If you're not willing to entertain the idea you might be wrong, fine. That's your right. But why should anyone else entertain the idea that you might be right? If they go by the same logic, they already know you're wrong, so why listen to you?07/02/2015 - 3:53am
MattsworknameEh, I love the new batmobile personally, it's a blast to mess aroudn with. Plus, the game is set in a situation that mroe or less leaves batman with no choice but to go full force. And even then, it still shows him doing all he can to limit casualties.07/01/2015 - 11:38pm
Andrew EisenAgreed. Luckily, we don't seem to be in danger of that of late. No one's suggesting, for example, that tanks shouldn't be in video games, only that the tank in Arkham Knight is poorly implemented and out of place from a characterization standpoint.07/01/2015 - 11:27pm
MattsworknameConfederate flag, Relgious organizations, etc etc. Andrew isnt[ wrong, just remember not to let that mentality lead to censorship.07/01/2015 - 11:20pm
Mattsworknamefind offensive or disturbing, and that mindset leads to censorship. It's all well and good to say "This would be better IF", just so long as we remember not to let it slide into "This is offensive, REMOVE IT". IE , the current issues surroundign the07/01/2015 - 11:19pm
MattsworknameAndrew and goth both have points, and to that point, I'll say. Saying somethign is improved by changing something isn't a problem, on that I agree with , but at the same time, on of the issues we have in our society is that we want to simply remove things07/01/2015 - 11:18pm
Andrew EisenSee? Suggestions for improvements that involve taking things away do not mean the work is garbage or performing poorly, critically or commercially.07/01/2015 - 9:29pm
Andrew EisenSkyward Sword is spiff-a-rific but it would be an improved experience if the game didn't explain what each item and rupee was every single time you picked them up!07/01/2015 - 9:27pm
Andrew EisenHere's another: De Blob is a ton of fun but it would be improved without motion controls. Incidentally, THQ heard our cries, removed motion controls for the sequel and it was a better game for it!07/01/2015 - 9:24pm
Andrew EisenI'll give you an example: Arkham Knight is a ton of fun but the tank sucks and the game would be even better without it.07/01/2015 - 9:23pm
Goth_SkunkWell clearly we're diametrically opposed about that.07/01/2015 - 9:03pm
Andrew EisenNot even remotely true.07/01/2015 - 8:59pm
Goth_SkunkIt is, if the suggestion involves taking something away from a product in order to make it better.07/01/2015 - 8:49pm
Andrew EisenOffering suggestions for improvement does not mean that the work in question is garbage or not doing fine.07/01/2015 - 8:21pm
 

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