LucasArts was founded in May 1982 as Lucasfilm Games, the video game development group of Lucasfilm Limited, the film production company of George Lucas
. The first titles developed by Lucasfilm Games were Ballblazer
and Rescue on Fractalus!
, action games published in 1984 by Atari
The release of Maniac Mansion
(1987), an adventure game that introduced the SCUMM
engine, was the starting point of
the company's "Golden Age", during which it established itself as one of the leading adventure game developers. Secret of Monkey Island
(1990) consolidated the company's adventure game design philosophy, including "death-free" gameplay, interaction with highlighted objects, and branching dialogue system. Later in the same year, a restructuring of Lucas' companies led to the video game division's name change to LucasArts.
Holding the licenses to the popular movie franchises Star Wars
and Indiana Jones
, LucasArts also developed games based on these movies. Their first Star Wars game was the space combat simulator X-Wing
(1993). In 1995, LucasArts produced Star Wars: Dark Forces
, which incorporated the Star Wars license with the nascent first-person shooter genre and started its own series.
The adventure legacy began to decline with the release of Grim Fandango
in 1998. It received raving press reviews, but turned out to be the first game the company did not make a profit from. Escape from Monkey Island
(2000) marked the end of the company's adventure era. From then on, almost all attention was diverted towards the Star Wars
license. A lot of development was also outsourced, especially to the British development studio Traveller's Tales Ltd.
A large amount of staff was laid off in June 2008, although the company still has projects in development at its internal development studio.
Along with its parent company Lucasfilm, LucasArts was acquired by The Walt Disney Company
in October 2012.
Also Known As
- LucasArts Entertainment Company LLC (from 1993 to Mar 30, 2003)
- Lucasfilm Games LLC (from May, 1982 to 1993)
- Games Group -- Original company name.
Lucasfilm Games won the "Best Game Developer in 1989" award from the German gaming magazine Power Play (issue 01/1990).