Unfortunately, this blog post tonight was inspired by unfortunate events. This week, it was announced that LucasArts has closed its doors, effectively shutting down the long-standing game development studio and laying off over 150 employees. Also, all projects currently being developed are canceled as well, specifically referring to the highly anticipated Star Wars 1313 game that was in development.
Everyone is blaming Disney, who technically is to blame for the business decision, but from their end, it's hard to justify keeping a struggling studio open that has become more about producing games as a fan service than they are actually making money. It's a hard pill to swallow for fans, especially considering the list of fantastic games they have put out over the last thirty years. But over the last few years of existence, their games have suffered from critical media reviews and lackluster consumer sales - except for the Angry Birds Star Wars game I'm sure, since anything with "Angry Birds" on it basically prints its own money. With Disney probably going the route of licensing out the studios' franchises for other developers to make games, it will essentially emphasize the fact that this was a business decision through and through.
Disney hasn't become what they are today because of bad business decisions. I'm just saying.
I trust them that all in all, this will end up to be the best decision for everyone involved, except for the employees that lost their job. That, of course, is the worst part of it, as the hard working employees of every business that shuts down are always the ones to be impacted the most. I'm sure most, if not all, will land on their feet in this wonderful yet sometimes brutal industry. Hopefully, that is.
Anyway, when I was trying to decide what game to play tonight, i was flipping through my older games and came across Super Star Wars. To be honest, I didn't even remember I had this game until I found it. I instantly knew what I needed to play, of course, in lieu of the terrible news from the studio who created this Super Nintendo gem.
This was probably the first game from LucasArts I remember playing, and while they have made LOTS of Star Wars games, the Super Star Wars franchise on the SNES were some of my favorites, including the non-Star Wars games Zombies Ate My Neighbors and Herc's Adventures. Playing it tonight was like a memorable blast to the past for me.
I didn't quite remember how hard this game was though in my nostalgic trip down memory lane. Seriously, the difficulty of this game is very unexpected, especially for the straight-forward simplistic nature of the game. Most of it is a 2D shooting platformer game, but occasionally it mixes in vehicle driving levels (which are stubbornly hard to control). While the actual game play is pretty easy, the re-spawning and annoyingly feisty enemies takes a toll on the overall experience, especially when jumping becomes a crucial game mechanic and one missed platform means replaying an entire section of torturous battles.
This game also made me remember just how precise platforming used to be in games back in the day, where the slightest miss would send you hurtling to your death. Games now days feel a lot more lenient when it comes to that aspect.
While I enjoyed playing this game tonight, for the most part, it mostly made me realize an underlying reason for the closure of the studio. If we are all being honest here, I feel like the studio hung on to the past for far too long and was afraid to advance into the present day. They never pushed the boundaries or thought outside the box, but instead kept going back to the hand that fed them for so long. Like I said before, they enjoyed making games for the fanboys, not the mass consumer base. And while fanboys appreciated the ideas for the most part, they didn't speak with their wallets.
Again, this is all just opinion and speculation. Maybe I am seeing this whole situation in a different light. I never claimed to be an expert, just a crazy dude playing lots of games and writing about them.
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