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Some of the first employees at Lucasfilm Games — the studio that later became Lucas Arts — looked back at the creation of George Lucas' game company during a classic postmortem at this week's Game Developers Conference, reflecting on the freedom and constraints imposed by working for the people that created Star Wars.
In a talk moderated by veteran game designer Noah Falstein, former Lucasfilm Games designers and programmers David Fox, Peter Langston, Steve Arnold, Chip Morningstar and Ron Gilbert waxed nostalgic about starting the interactive game division at Lucasfilm.
"We could watch what Atari was doing with licensed things and say 'this isn't good enough,' but we didn't have to do that work ourselves." Arnold said that in his first meeting with George Lucas, the filmmaker told him "Stay small, be the best, and don't lose any money." "That was an incredibly liberating mandate," Arnold said.
"He gave us permission — and we didn't stay completely small, but we did stay small for a while — [to think] 'How could we take the franchise that people were associating with George and film, and apply it to this interactive world?
"I think this is the point that David Fox was brought on ... From that, SCUMM was born, going on to power games like Maniac Mansion, The Secret of Monkey Island, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis and more.
"I think it was that environment we had, which was very collaborative," Gilbert said.
and end up being one of the most memorable parts of the game." The games group brought in a million dollars during its first year, Langston said, despite not shipping any games.
I’m hoping if enough people find this exercise interesting, this could become an occasional series."There wasn't this fear of failure on some level and it really allowed you to go off and do really different things.Which of your favorite classic games would you like to see remade?"We weren't allowed to touch any Lucasfilm properties initially, which the company viewed as money in the bank," said Chip Morningstar, brought on as a tools programmer."They could license that out [to other developers] and we were forced by ourselves to do our own creative stuff.