5 non-Star Wars LucasArts game franchises needing a revival
This week brought the exciting news that Lucasfilm Games would be taking over on solely handling development and licensing for all of its properties, much like the former LucasArts used to do, and with new Star Wars and Indiana Jones games already announced, we’ve decided to look back at the incredible roster of titles not related to the latter franchises that deserve a proper revival.
Ironically enough, Tim Schafer’s Grim Fandango is one of LucasArts’ most successful AND biggest failed titles from their original 30-year run, receiving rave reviews upon its release from critics and gamers, winning several awards and frequently cited as one of the greatest video games of all times, but debuting to abysmal sales numbers that contributed to the studio’s decision to stop producing adventure games. Set in the land of the dead and centered on an afterlife travel agent as he attempts to save a virtuous new arrival on her journey forward, the story’s combination of film noir aesthetics akin to Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon, explorations of the Aztec beliefs of the afterlife and its offbeat humor is an absolute blast from start to finish that deserves revitalizing. Schafer, who left LucasArts after the game’s failure and founded his own development company Double Fine Productions, acquired the rights back to the project from the studio with the help of Sony and delivered the acclaimed remastered version in 2015. With Double Fine being acquired by Xbox Game Studios in 2019, chances are Lucasfilm Games won’t have any more involvement in the title, but with Schafer expressing interest in a sequel at various times over the years, the possibility remains open that fans will get the sequel they deserved.
Sam & Max
Click here to purchase the original franchise title, Hit the Road!
Steve Purcell’s Sam & Max is one of the most iconic duo in pop culture history, despite very few forms of media being produced around them, and the video games centered on the vigilante private investigators are one of the few franchises that have received consistent acclaim across all of its subsequent sequels. Beginning with Hit the Road at LucasArts and eventually making its way to Telltale Games after the abrupt cancellation of the nearly-completed first sequel Freelance Police and license with Purcell expiring, the franchise hasn’t necessarily remained dormant, with the latter studio developing three sequels in their episodic format, a virtual reality game title and remasters of the Telltale outings in development from Skunkape Games, a studio made up of former members of the original development team. But with no proper sequel currently announced and Telltale Games still determining their new path, Lucasfilm Games may want to consider reconnecting with Purcell to bring fans another exciting classic adventure game-style outing from the duo.
When they weren’t finding new and exciting ways to drop players into the action-packed worlds of Star Wars and Indiana Jones, LucasArts really loved exploring the point-and-click adventure genre (in case the two prior entries on this list weren’t proof enough) and the Monkey Island franchise is one of the most beloved and everlasting thanks to frequent re-releases and remasters. Centered around the misadventures of hapless Guybrush Threepwood as he struggles to become the most notorious pirate in the Caribbean, defeat the evil undead pirate LeChuck and win the heart of governess Elaine Marley, all while exploring the secrets of the titular island, the Ron Gilbert-created franchise has seen a similar path to Sam & Max, with its fifth installment being licensed out to Telltale Games for their episodic format. With fans continuing to petition Disney for a new outing in the franchise, since the House of Mouse gained the rights to the IP with their acquisition of LucasArts, and Lucasfilm Games slowly unveiling their path after revealing their existence, now is the ultimate time for the studio to bring Guybrush back.
One could be forgiven if the words “motorcycle” and “video game” first bring to mind the delightfully awful Eutechnyx title Ride to Hell: Retribution instead of Full Throttle, the acclaimed adventure game from the focal studio written and designed by Tim Schafer in his first title as project lead. Centered on the leader of a biker gang in the near future framed for murder as he seeks to clear his and his gang’s name, the title was notable for being one of the only LucasArts projects to use licensed music and feature voice work from professional actors, including Lucasfilm’s beloved Star Wars vet Mark Hamill. Schafer’s departure from LucasArts and the studio’s general struggles with the adventure game genre led to the cancellation of multiple sequel attempts and while Schafer has expressed doubt in crafting a direct follow-up himself, believing the story to have been complete in the original game, the success of 2017’s remaster and seeming revitalization of the genre makes now the prime time for Double Fine Productions and Lucasfilm Games to unite for another Full Throttle game.
Thanks to Rockstar’s Red Dead franchise, the Western genre has seen a revival in the world of video games while id Software’s latest Doom installments have helped a resurgence in run-and-gun first-person shooters, both of which makes all the more reason for Lucasfilm Games to explore a potential follow-up to 1997’s Outlaws. Centered on retired U.S. Marshal James Anderson as he seeks to bring justice to a gang of criminals who killed his wife and kidnapped his daughter, the title wasn’t a huge financial success upon its initial release but went on to garner a large cult following amongst players, who continued to keep the game alive with community-created expansion levels, and thanks to the resurgence of its multiple genres and original acclaim, players deserve at least a proper remastering of the game, if not an outright proper sequel.
What non-Star Wars LucasArts franchises do you want to see revived? Let us know in the comments below!