E3 2007: Lucasarts' 'Thrillville' gets basic Games for Windows Live features
'Thrillville' will incorporate the basic elements of Windows Live
LucasArts had only one PC game to show us, with all of its more hardcore content coming out for consoles. A LucasArts rep showed off an internal demo of Fracture for the Xbox 360, and it looked great, but for such an intense action game to bypass the PC seems weird, especially since it didn't appear to be doing anything graphically that a high-end PC couldn't do, either. We got the usual "No, but the PS3 and Xbox 360 are the right platforms for this title at this time" response when we asked if Lucas was ditching the PC entirely. We were assured, though, that if it has any PC news for us, at least for the more hardcore gamer, it will be in touch. So we shouldn't call?
On the casual front, we saw Thrillville: Off the Rails, a sequel to Lucas' original Thrillville amusement park building game. This update will have more of a party game aspect, with roughly 30 minigames included with the updated park builder. Thrillville will be coming to PCs, as well as consoles, but it will have no online multiplayer component, instead offering standard party game multiplayer via a split screen on a single system. Lucas says that it's researching other methods of getting two players to use one PC, but for the moment, you need to pair two people on one keyboard, which has been done before on the PC with games like You Don't Know Jack. Of course, that was before the Wii, the Xbox 360, and Guitar Hero changed expectations of how a party game should play.
As for Games for Windows Live, Thrillville will offer a basic Live component, with none of the larger online features required of a more full-fledged Live integration. Since there's no online multiplayer, you don't need voice chat or any other player matching features. Rather, Thrillville will use Games for Windows Live to give you an in-game alert if someone on your friends list comes online for the purposes of chat only. That seems like a useful, inoffensive feature, rather than the more full-blown Live that, depending on your membership level wants to get its fingers into your wallet with its fee-based services.