LucasFilm’s legacy in the video games world is limited to the millions of licenses it manages and the little-known games it makes. But it seems as if the spirit of the long-closed LucasArts has been revived, and the vast cultural treasure trove of games that the legendary development studio once amassed is finally being competently addressed…
Although almost a decade has passed since the demise of LucasArts, the power of the Star Wars brand or the excellence of adventure games such as Day of the Tentacle or Monkey Island is still very much present. It is an extraordinary legacy that looks set to be given new life and continuity in 2022 and beyond.
One of the first big announcements of 2021 was the return in the style of LucasFilm Games with a new Indiana Jones video game. At the same time, Electronic Arts’ exclusivity on Star Wars for consoles, PCs and mobile was ended.
In fact, EA spared no expense when it came to presenting the galaxy far, far away in games; the truth is that the move didn’t go down as well as expected.
A year after the surprise and several big announcements, new horizons are opening up for the newly formed LucasFilm Games, which sees itself as the heir to LucasArts, and which will remain under the Disney umbrella but has regained its original spirit. In this respect, 2022 will mark the rebirth of a great company that is rightly loved.
True, Star Wars will remain the company’s flagship license, but LucasFilm Games’ current priority, according to Vice President Douglas Reilly, is to offer the most diverse experience possible on as many platforms as possible while remaining true to each brand and to each fan.
“We want to work with the best teams who can make great games for our IPs.”- Douglas Reilly
“We have a team of professionals here at Lucasfilm Games who can work with developers, shape the stories, shape the creativity, shape the games to really resonate with fans and be available across a wide range of platforms, genres and experiences so that all of our fans can enjoy the IPs they know and love.”
What about games already released? As a video presentation from LucasFilm Games reveals, games such as Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Star Wars Squadrons and the recently released LEGO Star Wars CastAway are under the wing of Disney’s revamped video game division inspired by George Lucas licenses.
Spain’s VidaExtra recently devoted a lengthy report on the upcoming – and hopefully upcoming or returning – titles and former franchises under the LucasArts umbrella, which we’ll be sampling below.
What is already being made
Indiana Jones (Bethesda)
Indiana Jones has a long history in video games. From point and click adventure games to 16-bit action games to newer adventure games more in line with Tomb Raider and Uncharted. Which in turn gives us a great reason to celebrate their return.
MachineGames is taking the baton from LucasArts with a new adventure game, with Todd Howard of Bethesda Games Studios directly involved in development. Expectations have skyrocketed, and although the project is deliberately shrouded in mystery, it’s clear that the figures behind the brutal Wolfenstein series know how to make the Nazis’ ass-kicking look spectacular.
By Bethesda (MachineGames) / Xbox Game Studios.
Where available: PC and Xbox. (Other platforms to be announced.)
Star Wars Project (Ubisoft)
Ubisoft is undoubtedly one of the biggest names in open-world video games. And that means that we can only (hopefully) expect good things from the already announced Star Wars game from Massive Entertainment, the studio behind the hit The Division series.
No details or even a simple illustration of the project have been released yet, although names have been put on the table, with Julian Gerighty as creative director and David Polfeldt leading the project in close collaboration with LucasFilm. As for the game engine, it will use the same Snowdrop engine as The Division, which will guarantee action and ambition in an open-world game set in the galaxy far, far away imagined by George Lucas, with narrative playing a pivotal role.
Who it is made by: Massive Entertainment / Ubisoft.
Where will it be available: platforms have not yet been announced.
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
You could say we’re used to LEGO Star Wars games: TT Games has brought the classic trilogy and prequels to consoles and PC, but The Skywalker Saga is genuinely groundbreaking. Indeed, the developers aim to take LEGO games’ action, adventure, and humour to the next level.
As the name suggests, it’s a complete reimagining of all nine films in the Star Wars cinematic saga, from The Phantom Menace to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker; it’s an ambitious undertaking to present the vast galactic saga in a single video game, but Warner says the title will deliver a “new and different” experience than any previous adaptation.
TT Games (Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment).
Where will be available: Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and PC.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic remake
After years of tweaking BioWare’s classic and adapting it to current systems, Aspyr Media is coming clean with a remake of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, a comprehensive, ground-up refresh of the cult RPG that has captivated a generation. The story takes place 4000 years before the events of Star Wars.
The project is being developed to take full advantage of PS5 technology, with PlayStation Studios involved in its own development. Aspyr, for its part, is very familiar with the source material: in addition to re-releasing the original two Knights of the Old Republic games, they are also doing a great job of preserving the LucasArts legacy with updated versions of Star Wars: Episode I Racer and Republic Commando.
Who it is made by: Aspyr Media / PlayStation Studios.
Where available: PS5 and PC. (Other platforms to be announced.)
Star Wars: Eclipse
The creators of Heavy Rain and Detroit: Become Human know how to combine the potential of a small indie studio with their own style and big productions. Star Wars: Eclipse adds one more thing: it will be the first video game set in the so-called “High Republic” era.
A Quantic Dream-style movie game? Here’s the kicker: as promised by LucasFilm and the Gallic studio, it will be an action-adventure in which not only will the narrative be of exceptional importance, but the story will have a lot of consequences so that every decision will have a direct impact on the plot. A promising way to immerse yourself in the golden age of the Jedi Order…
Who it’s made by: Quantic Dream.
Where will it be available: platforms have not yet been announced.
Star Wars: Hunters
A whole series of Star Wars games are coming, and each one allows you to approach the universe uniquely. But Zynga’s alternative is the most unique and original of them all: Star Wars: Hunters is all about competitive, team-based combat, with a diverse range of heroes representing every nuance of the saga.
You’ll fight a droid pretending to be a Jedi, an imposing Wookiee, a scrap dealer who carries the remains of a droideka, and even a Stormtrooper who hasn’t quite come to terms with the Empire’s fall. In any case, Zynga is opting for the free-to-play format, and everyone will be able to give it a shot: it’s scheduled for release on Switch and mobile.
Who it’s made by: Zynga / NaturalMotion.
Available where: Nintendo Switch, iOS and Android.
Indiana Jones: The Pinball Adventure
Zen Studios is bringing Williams Electronics ‘ pinball furniture to consoles with Indiana Jones, from the arcade to the home community: after bringing the galactic saga to Pinball FX for Star Wars Pinball FX. This ‘Pinball Adventure’ is an exceptional recreation of the board, with realistic physical reactions, classic thrills, plenty of references to the film series and new effects and animations created especially for the occasion.
By Zen Studios.
Where available: Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One and PC.
LucasFilm Games: a legacy to return to
Although the plans for a revamped LucasFilm Games are already starting to unfold this year, there’s still a lot to be announced, with plenty of games still to come. Of course, we’re not saying that what’s already been told is too little… but as long as it’s LucasArts, there are a few games and series that we can’t ignore.
Remember the Monkey Island series, for example? Maybe the title Armed And Dangerous sounds familiar? How about Manic Mansion, Day of the Tentacle…?
If and when we believe what LucasFilm Games is saying about going back to the roots, to the games of LucasArts’ golden age, it’s entirely possible that we will see these titles again in one form or another. They own the rights to the series; the question is how to convince legends like Tim Schafer or even Ron Gilbert to return to these games from their better days?
In any case, we’ll see what else LucasFilm Games has in store and what they have up their sleeve…