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LucasArts Reduces Staff After Cancellations 55

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the thinning-the-ranks dept.
cordsie writes "In a move that should come as a surprise to absolutely no one at this point, the once venerable LucasArts has laid off thirty of its staff. The brief article implies that the layoffs were due to the recent cancellation of the sequel to Sam and Max and the Full Throttle follow-up." S!: Ferrago has a story noting this reduces the LucasArts staff count "to about 389", still a significant number, and an earlier International House of Mojo story regarding the layoffs has a commenter alleging: "Among the people let go were... [the] Director of The Dig, Escape from Monkey Island and most recently Full Throttle 2... as well as both the Lead Engineer and Producer of the late Sam and Max 2 game."
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LucasArts Reduces Staff After Cancellations

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  • ... may the force be with you!
  • I can just imagine the board meeting:

    "If it doesn't say 'Star Wars' in the title it won't make cash. Sack everyone who's not working on a Star Wars console game."
    • Re:Typical (Score:3, Funny)

      by Synic (14430)
      Right afterwards, "So, George. How can we make the next Star Wars have even more toys? And can you make something like the Ewoks and Gungans, again?"
  • No offense but as soon as LucasArt steps out of the starwars zone, they are plain aweful.

    Which brings back to the original statistics. What percentage of gamers nowadays are devoted starwars fan that'll buy anything starwars related. It's a much smaller percentage, now that the market is saturated with starwars garbage.
    • by obeythefist (719316) on Friday April 30, 2004 @12:58AM (#9016020) Journal
      Huh, that's a very misinformed or inaccurate viewpoint. Let's look at history:

      Labyrinth: Outstanding game for its time
      Monkey Island series (1 through 4): Great games, all of them
      Sam and Max Hit the Road: Awesome game

      Force Commander: Utter pants
      Rogue Squadron: Godawful kindergarten shooter
      Obi Wan: Terrible! Stop!
      Starfighter: Fricken useless childish replacement for the older X-Wing/Tie Fighter games
      • by NeuroKoan (12458) on Friday April 30, 2004 @01:26AM (#9016146) Homepage Journal
        Also:

        Grim Fandango: Great
        Maniac Mansion: Great
        Loom: Great
        The Dig: Great

        So many great LucasArts adventure games. It came to a point that I'd almost buy any LucasArts adventure game without reading a single review (the same definitely cannot be said about Star Wars games).

        From this point on, I think I must refuse to buy any more LucasArts games if they keep sacking all the good developers. It's going to kill me not playing KOTOR2, but I'm just so disgusted at LucasArts right now.
        • I didn't add those because I never played them, but I have no reason the believe they wouldn't be good games, because I've heard good things about them.

          I'd say about 40% of all the star wars games out there are really good? I say this as both a gamer and a star wars fanboy, so that's a pretty fair statement for someone who might otherwise be biased.
        • Please... KOTOR 2 will come out and you will slip back to the dark side.

          Fear leads to anger
          Anger leads to hate
          Hate leads to suffering
          Suffering leads to hitting the KOTOR 2 crackrock!
          • The only real problem with Kotor is that the combat wasn't nearly strategic enough, so the game comes out with the tried and true awesome D20 system (it's successful, it wouldn't be if it was bad), but then it dumbs it down like some feebleminded Final Fantasy wannabe.

            All the elements are there, storyline, RPG system, stats, artwork, soundtrack, all the right elements, but they tied it together in a rather limited way. Hopefully Kotor 2 will exceed Kotor by not dumbing down the system as much as they did
            • Console gamers and their tiny intellects will be the death of us all I fear. Please. Those of us who have decided -not- to spend $200-$400 on component upgrades every couple of cycles so as to play video games aren't the feebleminded consumers here.
            • D20 is successful because it was forced on everyone, but it's not really appropriate for everything it's applied to. Call of Cthulu for instance, the D20 version can't hold a candle to the old version.

              D20 fails on the same levels GURPS does.

              A really "good" system is Rolemaster, but calling it incredibly complicated would be an understatement. It's almost like it was designed to run on a computer.

        • by MagicM (85041)
          Aaarrgghh! You just reminded me that I have Loom laying around on 5 1/4" floppies, and I don't have a 5 1/4" drive anymore!

          The sadness. Loom was probably my first introduction to adventure games (along with LSL1.)
      • I have played a few LucasArts games, but not many of the ones you mention. Of the adventure ones, I have only played Full Throttle. I did like that one a lot and am a bit disappointed in the cancellation of FT2.

        Of the others I've played:
        Jedi Starfighter on X-Box - I thought it was OK, but it seemed like they added way too many "features" that it was hard to keep track of, much less actually use.
        Rogue Squadron on PC - I really loved this one. The game control with a joystick is excellent, and it had som
      • If you're gonna count stuff lke Labyrinth:

        Rescue on Fractalis: Also outstanding for the time
        Eidolon: A little slow, but fun
        Ballblazer: Absolutely fantastic! Too bad the souped-up Playstation version was not so hot...
        Night Shift: Total pain in the ass, but a cute puzzle game.
    • by 0x0d0a (568518) on Friday April 30, 2004 @01:32AM (#9016174) Journal
      No offense but as soon as LucasArt steps out of the starwars zone, they are plain aweful.

      Lucasarts and Sierra were the two main developers advancing the adventure game genre for many years, and the list of best classic adventure games reads like a list of their titles. I'm not sure what non-Star Wars Lucasarts games you dislike so much, but I'm doubtful that you're thinking of their adventure games -- which FT2 and S&M2 would have been.

      I can believe that Lucasarts published poor games at some point in time, but they have an extremely strong reputation in the adventure game arena. I do not know of any poor adventure games that they produced. Honestly, I cannot think of another game company that is as known for such long-term good leadership in their field. Perhaps id Software for FPS-style games.

      Now, this doesn't mean that S&M2 and FT2 would have been good. It does, however, mean that any bias toward their new games based on their history should really be positive, not negative.
    • Re:Typoo (Score:3, Funny)

      by Kwil (53679)
      No offense but as soon as LucasArt steps out of the starwars zone, they are plain aweful.

      I realize when trolling it's always best to throw in at least one typo to hook all the spelling nazi's but there's such a thing as pride in your work. By making such an obvious mistake, your trollish intent becomes clear. Far better to misspell using a homonym or some such whenever possible.

      I mean, come on.. everybody knows it's "into" not "out of"
    • No offense but as soon as LucasArt steps out of the starwars zone, they are plain aweful.

      I fully agree - many of their best games were from licenses outside the SW world. I was full of awe when I played "The Dig" - the soundtrack was truly incredible, and the story was thought provoking, and inspired a sense of wonder. And Sam and Max and Full Throttle were masterpieces (I ripped so many choice sound bytes out of the resource file of Sam & Max I kept people in hysterics forever when I played them ba

  • by nobodyman (90587) on Friday April 30, 2004 @12:53AM (#9015999) Homepage
    For a time, lucusarts was a pretty unique entity. Many development houses find themselves under the thumb of a publisher, but with the staff at lucasarts was the developer *and* publisher for many of their titles.

    With Sam and Max and FT2 cancelled, coupled with the resignation of president Simon Jeffrey and the firing of the director of some of the great adventure titles, I have a sinking feeling I know what has happened. Lucasarts has decided to put all of its weight behind Star Wars Licensing. The suits have taken over: why make novel titles when you can put out a star wars game that will make way more money?
    • I can't understand why they can't make *both* games. It's not as if Star Wars games and Lucasarts adventure games compete against each other for the same demographic. If Lucasarts was losing money on their adventure games, that would be one thing.

      The justification for cancelling Sam and Max 2 was that the game wasn't turning out well, that it wasn't fun. *That* might be reasonable. I'm more than a little surprised that FT2 could also be bad, though.

      It's not a huge deal. Like Bioware transforming like
      • I think you're thinking of ex-Black Isle people re-appearing at Obsidian, not Bioware. Bioware is alive and well, and working on Jade Empire. Obsidian is doing KOTOR2. And there were other people from BIS that went elsewhere as well ( I think about four or five ended up at Obsidian ).
      • The justification for cancelling Sam and Max 2 was that the game wasn't turning out well, that it wasn't fun. *That* might be reasonable. I'm more than a little surprised that FT2 could also be bad, though.

        No - the justification for cancelling Full Throttle 2 was that the game wasn't turning out well, and (though I have seen nothing more than screenshots and a text summary) they may well have been right. It didn't give me the impression that it had the style or character of the original game.

        However, the
  • Among the people let go were... [the] Director of The Dig...

    Is this (or rather, _was_ this) the sequel to the 1995 DOS game "The Dig"? A quick search of this (the 1995) game on Google shows remarkably little ... I can't even find it on the Lucas Arts website (though, I have to admit I didn't try super hard). I have to admit it is hard to beleive they would make a sequel to a game that you can hardly even find on Google (although I have to admit I did play the game through completion when I got it 8 or
    • by Synic (14430)
      The Underdogs website has an entry on the game for you. Enjoy. :)

      http://www.the-underdogs.org/game.php?gameid=225 8
    • I believe that they're talking about a person who has worked as the director on past projects such as The Dig and Escape from Monkey Island, and who was laid off while directing Full Throttle II.
  • A New Opportunity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by leadfoot2004 (751188) on Friday April 30, 2004 @02:47AM (#9016407)
    The firing of some of the most well-known adventure game producers from LucasArts should present some new opportunities. These producers can either start their own companies, or be hired by existing adventure game developers or publishers. LucasArts' loss is someone else's gain. Just you wait... Although they won't be allowed to make sequels to games that have rights belonging to LucasArts (or Sierra), I don't think some fresh gaming ideas and stories would hurt the industry (take Syberia for example). Let's stay positive... just think of this whole LucasArts and Sierra saga as corporate reshuffling and industry reshuffling. These talented individuals will find good work. They will continue to produce games that they love and be proud of.
  • Does anyone know? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Roman Levin (774216)
    What are sales figures for Lucas Arts' latest games? Was Monkey Island 4 unprofitable? I wish the were a boxofficemojo.com for games...
  • This is sooooo sad... this means LucasArts is dead. I mean, who cares about Yet Another Star Wars Franchise Game (tm), except for Star Wars fans ? It seems to me they've laid off all of the remaining creative people at LucasArts, the last hopes for good adventures are really dead. When Sam and Max 2 was cancelled there at least a very slim hope that they would finish it someday (the game was almost ready for RTM, AFAIK), but this move shows that LucasArts has no interest whatsoever to do something creative

  • by WiredOni (593210) on Friday April 30, 2004 @03:57AM (#9016576)
    Sigh, just look through their press releases section [lucasarts.com] and see how many times they mention Star Wars. While they have had some really good Star Wars games, there are lots of low quality ones that counted on the Star Wars name to sell. I have seen some of these that despite their low scores, they managed to end selling enough copies to be re-released at a cheaper price though programs like Sony's "Greatest Hits" series.

    And it looks like their innovation and originality dying even more, they recently announced Mercenaries [lucasarts.com] which is a generic 3rd person military unit behind enemy lines preventing North Korea from releasing nukes. Gee, I wonder where they got that *brilliant* plot, who would have ever thought about one involving North Korea and nuclear weapons in this day and age?

    Even with their recently released original titles things haven't been going well. I wonder if those who canned Sam & Max 2 were also responsible for giving RTX Red Rock [gametab.com] and Wrath Unleashed [gametab.com] the ok. Plus games like Gladius and Armed and Dangerous probably could have done better if they were given more time. Now it looks like Lucasarts is going to take the safe and easy route by releasing cliches and Star Wars titles.

    I can understand the canceling of Full Throttle 2, it was not living up to the original(I recall some game magazines who got to play some of it were disappointed ) and they didn't want to disappoint the fans. But I can't really deal with their canceling of Sam & Max 2 when things seemed to be top quality. Even Steve Purcell thought it was good, and I trust him more then Lucasarts with how Lucasarts has been doing for the last few years.

    I think it was about two years ago the company head was going on about how they were going to restore things back to Lucasarts past history of releasing high quality and original titles, and look at how *well* they have accomplished that. While the games were original, they did not have the old Lucasarts quality and game play wise were quite poor. They have pretty much failed at producing high quality original titles, their releasing anymore adventure games seems unlikely, and are pretty much producing just Star Wars games. Thus for now I have given up with Lucasarts, unless they under go through some drastic changes I don't see anything worth my while being released by them.
  • So, with Lucasarts in decline does this mean that the adventure genre is in decline and on it's last legs? Are there still gamers out there that still demand games of an adventure genre or are they all console 3D gamers now?
    • Re:Adventure Genre (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Creepy (93888)
      It probably depends on who you ask. Syberia seemed to sell well, tho I personally found the game dull compared to The Longest Journey (which I played a few weeks before Syberia's release, but 2 years after its release).

      I was pretty surprised to see a shelf dedicated to Adventure games at Best Buy - it used to be half a row. I suspect that means they're selling again. Personally, I'd like to see the "Myst" style game die, which was about 3/4 of those games - I'm definitely not a fan. I like the Lucas Ar
      • I agree, character driven stories, not dead worlds/puzzle solving are the best. I like the games where the story is king, characters have character and the puzzles are intuitive. That's interesting to hear about Best Buy having a shelf dedicated to Adventures, maybe this genre will come back to life?
    • Re:Adventure Genre (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kyouryuu (685884)
      It has been in decline for years. Why? Well, one reason is because LucasArts failed to really step up to the plate and make good on its valuable franchises.

      Sure, Grim Fandango was great, and we have several incarnations of Monkey Island, but there's been nothing like Maniac Mansion 3, or Sam & Max 2 - not even after Day of the Tentacle and S&M sold so well. They rested on their laurels and now the characters have faded into obscurity. No one knows who Bernard Bernoulli, Conroy Bumpus, or Docto

  • I guess if the lead for Sam And Max got canned, then the protestors [savesamandmax.com] can fold their flag and go home.

    I'm not surprised to see Lucasarts pulling their support from the adventure titles. They see it as a dead genre and want to focus more money and development on guaranteed sellers like Galaxies and Jedi Knight. I only wish they would realize how wrong they are.
  • by bludstone (103539) on Friday April 30, 2004 @08:58AM (#9017551)
    Dear Sirs,

    Please try to consider this an opportunity. We are loyal fans who love your games. It is sad to see the ones who made such amazing games as "the dig," "sam and max," and "full throttle," let go like this.

    Your art, directing, and style are magnificent. Dont ever forget this.

    The reason you were let go was because of shitty, poor management. You should be HAPPY to get away from these people.

    Now, A request. Dont stop making games. We love your sense of humor, your writing abilities, and your direction. If you guys release another comedy adventure game WE WILL BUY IT.

    In fact, Ive stopped buying lucasarts games recently due to the stagnation your old fuckhead management seems to love so much. So, what I'll do is spend that money on YOUR games instead. :)

    Were waiting! :D
  • LucasArts can re-release "Rebel Assault" on DVD with a special preview of Episode 3.

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