Initially founded in 1982 as Lucasfilm Games, it was once a powerhouse creative studio. The '90s mark the Golden Age of the company, a period when it produced many iconic Adventure Games and Space Simulation Games, often ranked among the best games ever. The firm gradually changed its focus towards outsourced Star Wars products after Grim Fandango returned very poor sale figures despite receiving many Game of the Year awards.
Subsequent titles published or developed in-house include Fracture, Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction (note that its sequel, Mercenaries 2: World in Flames had its publishing rights given to Electronic Arts by developer Pandemic) and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. However, the sequel, The Force Unleashed II would prove to be the last in-house game developed by LucasArts; soon afterward, in the summer of 2008, the studio was disbanded, with LucasArts announcing that it would become largely a title publisher. Their financial state also led to the cancellation of numerous in-development titles, and indirectly caused Battlefront III developer Free Radical to go under due to withholding payments and cancellation fees. The last several years of the company were marred by poor sales, layoffs, and multiple changes of leadership. Internal development had all but ceased, though they still dedicated resources to keeping existing IPs aflost, such as Updated Rereleases of the first two Monkey Island games, the first digital releases of some of their out-of-print catalog titles, and a collaboration with Telltale Games to created an episodic sequel to the IP.
After a $4 billion buyout of its matrix Lucasfilm, the videogame branch and its intellectual properties were acquired by The Walt Disney Company in 2012. Though initially Disney announced the studio's operations and projects would remain undisturbed (such as Star Wars 1313 which was still in active development), they later announced the halting of all internal development on April 3, 2013 in favor of becoming a licensing entity; most of the staff was laid off, though the company is still open as a licensor.
Many LucasArts alumni became major players in the game industry after their tenures at the studio ended. Ron Gilbert and Tim Schafer both started their careers in games at the studio. Sierra was their main Adventure Game rival during both companies' heydey. Double Fine & Telltale Games, both founded by LucasArts alumni turned into Spiritual Successors of the types of games made in the 80s and early 90s. Fellow Disney subsidiary Pixar originated as LucasArts' "Graphics Group", before being spun off into a separate corporate entity.
One of the most memorable aspects of the company's long history is its logo. Originally designed as a right angle with the words "Lucas" and "Arts" written on each perpendicular line. Sitting atop the angle was a golden nondescript person, dubbed "the Goldenguy." Several games featured amusing gags involving the eponymous Goldenguy and the logo itself, especially in the late 90s to early 2000s. (Though, despite its reputation, the company also used standard logos just as often.) In the mid 2000s, the "L" design was retired in favor of a more standard typeface, with the Goldenguy being redesigned. The gags were all but scrapped in favor of using standard logos exclusively. The one notable exception were the Force Unleashed games, which featured the Goldenguy throwing a lightsaber and using force powers.
LucasArts' famed graphic adventure games include, in chronological order:
- Labyrinth (1986)
- Maniac Mansion (1987)
- Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders (1988)
- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure (1989)
- Loom (1990)
- The Secret of Monkey Island (1990)
- The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition (2009)
- Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge (1992)
- Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge: Special Edition (2010)
- Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (1992)
- Day of the Tentacle (1993)
- Sam & Max Hit the Road (1993)
- Full Throttle (1995)
- The Dig (1995)
- The Curse of Monkey Island (1997). End of the SCUMM Point-and-Click era.
- Grim Fandango (1998)
- Escape from Monkey Island (2000)
Related to those above, but not made by LucasArtsnote , are:
- Grim Fandango Remastered (2015). Made by Double Fine Productions, after they bought the rights to the original.
- Day of the Tentacle: Special Edition (2016). Also made by Double Fine Productions after buying the franchise.
- Full Throttle Remastered (2017) Once again made by Double Fine Productions after buying the franchise.
LucasArts' Star Wars titles include (hardly a complete list; see also Star Wars Legends and Star Wars Expanded Universe):
- Rebel Assault (1993), an arcade-style Full Motion Video game with a 1995 sequel.
- The X-Wing Series:
- The Dark Forces Saga:
- Masters of Teräs Käsi (1997)
- Rebellion (1997)
- Rogue Squadron (1998)
- Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader (2001)
- Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike (2003)
- Star Wars: Battlefront (2004)
- Star Wars Episode I: Racer (1999)
- Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)
- Force Commander (2000)
- Star Wars Episode I: Jedi Power Battles (2000)
- Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds (2001) - Producer. Developed by EnsembleStudios.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars
- Knights of the Old Republic (2002) - Developed by BioWare and published by LucasArts.
- Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords (2004) - Developed by Obsidian on BioWare's suggestion, but suffered heavy Executive Meddling from LucasArts and was Christmas Rushed.
- Star Wars: Republic Commando (2005)
- Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
- Empire at War (2006)
- The Force Unleashed (2008) - A sequel was released in 2010.
- Angry Birds Star Wars (2012)
- All LEGO Star Wars games made prior to the Disney acquisition of Lucasfilm
LucasArts' flight simulators include, in chronological order:
- Battlehawks 1942 (1988)
- Their Finest Hour (1989)
- Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe (1991)
- Secret Weapons Over Normandy (2003)
- The X-Wing series (1993-1999) is considered a Spiritual Successor, developed by the same studio, Totally Games! with an evolutioned engine and many inherited features literally Recycled In Space.
Other LucasArts games:
- Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction (once again, note that its sequel went to Electronic Arts)
- Afterlife (1996)
- Indiana Jones and His Desktop Adventures
- Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine
- Big Sky Trooper
- Zombies Ate My Neighbors
- Herc's Adventures
Prior to the formation of LucasArts, Lucasfilm created several titles for the Atari, Commodore 64 and other 8-bit home computers. These were developed under the Lucasfilm Games banner and published by various companies:
- Rescue on Fractalus!
- Koronis Rift
- The Eidolon
- PHM Pegasus
- Strike Fleet