With LucasArts' doors sadly closed, here are some of our favourite titles that we'd love to see Disney license out for a second lease on life.
1987's Maniac Mansion was a point-and-click adventure horror game. As protagonist Dave Miller, your job was to rescue your girlfriend from a mad scientist in a mansion controlling a sentient meteorite. The game introduced new things to the genre — not least of which was typing-free text-based adventure, enabled through the programming language "Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion" (SCUMM), created for the project by designer Ron Gilbert. However, the game's combination of cheesy B-grade horror and macabre humour is what really won our hearts.
Wisecracking tabloid journalist Zak McKracken, hot on the trail of a sensational story, uncovers an alien plot to make all humans stupid. The adventure title was LucasArts' second game to utilise the SCUMM engine, and, like Maniac Mansion, tapped into tropes to develop the game's humour — conspiracy theories and trashy tabloids. Although some players weren't so keen on the title, it rapidly gained a cult following — the members of which, in the absence of an official sequel, set about creating their own continuing adventures for McKracken.
Decent air battle simulators are a little hard to come by. That's not to say that flight sims aren't out there; "decent" was the operative term there. Battlehawks 1942 was not only decent, it also had a strong flavour of historical accuracy, having you play through four Pacific air battles in World War II — The Battle of the Coral Sea, The Battle of Midway, The Battle of the Eastern Solomons and The Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands — and putting you right in the cockpit with your keyboard as controls. It spawned a slew of imitators, but still holds a special place for many war game buffs.
Epic high fantasy! A chosen one! Casting spells with musical motifs! Although we've seen all of these elements repeated in RPGs in the last 20 years, Loom — which introduced a new type of adventure gameplay for LucasArts, centring the player's action around music — had some characters and visuals that were truly memorable. And then there was the ending, left hanging wide open — yet the proposed sequels never eventuated.
In 1987's Maniac Mansion, mad scientist Dr Fred Edison had a few tentacles roaming free. Guess what's somehow gained sentience and super-villain powers? Yep. So it's up to nerd Bernard Bernoulli and his pals to stop it. Now, you might've heard of a guy called Tim Schafer. He play-tested Maniac Mansion back in the day, and managed to work his way up to a developer position, and the resulting point-and-click adventure is one of the best-loved titles in the genre. Also, the world needs more psychotic evil genius tentacles, please.
An elegant game for a more civilised time, Zombies Ate My Neighbors was actually just known as Zombies in Australia, and was censored somewhat to remove its more violent elements — such as chainsaw-wielding maniacs, who were replaced by axe-toting lumberjacks. With a solid sense of humour and an encyclopaedic knowledge of the horror genre, Zombies is surely ripe for a re-boot in the post-Saw, post-Paranormal Activity world.
Full Throttle had everything you could possibly want, especially if what you wanted was dystopian bikers, sinister corporate machinations and the voice talent of Mark Hamill. LucasArts tried two different sequels to this cult favourite adventure game, both of which were sadly cancelled before seeing the light of day. Maybe it's finally time for Ben to get back in the saddle.
In the same way that the western movie needed Unforgiven to revitalise it, western games needed Red Dead Redemption to get them back on track. Now that it's happened, how about a return for Outlaws and former Marshall James Anderson? Using the Jedi Game Engine, Outlaws was a western FPS that, while not exactly a payday bonanza for LucasArts, certainly had more than a few fans.
Where do you start with Grim Fandango? Take Mexican Day of the Dead beliefs, combine them with the best of film noir, add the writing of Tim Schafer and stir. The game was highly praised for its incredible art style as well as its story, and lead character Manny Calavera remains a fan favourite today. With Telltale proving that adventure games still work, we'd love to see Manny climb into Glottis' hot rod and ride again.
We don't know how historical Gladius is (we're pretty sure Roman ladies didn't run around all day in leather bikinis), but the tactical simulator for the original Xbox, GameCube and PS2 had some surprising depth and complexity. You ran a gladiator school, training your warriors and taking them on tour to battle other schools in the region. The turn-based battle system employed a swing meter — which you might recognise from Fable — so that you could more accurately aim your blows. We'd love to see the entire mechanic developed further.
Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis was the first non-movie tie-in Indy game to be made by LucasArts, and people loved it. If we take out the popular Lego Indy games and you've got the underwhelming Staff of Kings on Wii as the final run for Dr Jones on LucasArts. Would people be interested in a series of smart, fun Indiana Jones games set well before Crystal Skull? You bet your best fedora they would.
If there is one thing we can truly mourn, it's the fact that Kinect Star Wars will be the last Star Wars game made by LucasArts. We had high hopes for 1313, but more than anything, we wanted a return to games like Rogue Squadron and Dark Forces, rather than another Jedi-filled disappointment like The Force Unleashed II. So if you're a dev who keen to license the Star Wars brand, please, please, please: more Kyle Katarn, less Galen Marek.