Goodbye Lucasfilm Games

Apr 3, 2013 quarter past five pm

It will always be Lucasfilm Games(tm) to me, never LucasArts.  They changed the name a year or so before I left when they rolled a bunch of divisions into this new company called LucasArts and the games group was one of them.  Many years later, all that was left in LucasArts was the old games group, so the name became synonymous with games.

It's hard for me not to be sad. I haven't worked there since 1992, but it was still home to me. I grew up there. I learned just about everything I know about designing games there.  I became a real programmer there.  I made lifelong friends there.  Eight of the most memorable and influential years of my life were spent there.  I would not be who I am today without Lucasfilm Games.

I was hired at Lucasfilm Games by Noah Falstein as a Commodore 64 programmer porting his game Koronis Rift from the Atari 800.

I had just been laid off from a company called Human Engineered Software (my first job) and had moved back to Oregon and was about ready to start college again when the phone rang.

It was someone (I don't remember who) from Lucasfilm Games and they were looking for a Commodore 64 programmer and wanted to know if I was interesting in coming in for an interview.  Holy Crap I said/thought/shouted to myself.  I didn't even know Lucasfilm made games.  Lucasfilm as Star Wars and the foundation of my childhood.  I idealized George Lucas and ILM.  I said I could come in for an interview that week and immediately packed my car and moved back to California.  I just moved back.  There was no way I wasn't going to get that job.

I vividly remember interviewing in an office with Noah and Aric Wilmunder explaining the way you wrote pixels to the C64 screen using their screwed up memory mapping.  They seemed impressed.  Or confused.  Either way as long as I got the job.

My first week at Lucasfilm Games was mind blowing. I had never met a smarter group of people in my life. From Noah to Aric to Gary Winnick to David Fox to Chip Morningstar to Doug Crockford.  I had so much to learn.

The first time I met George Lucas was kind of a disappointment. It was the 10 year anniversary of Star Wars and he and Steven Spielberg and shaved their beards to sneak into a show.  I wanted to met the iconic George Lucas with a beard.

When that person from Lucasfilm first called I almost didn't answer the phone. I was on my way out to met a friend for lunch and had just locked the front door and was halfway to my car. I don't know what caused me to go back inside and answer the phone.  If I hadn't, I would have had a very very very different life.

I still have hope that I might get the rights to Monkey Island back someday. LucasArts shutting down doesn't change anything since Disney bought them back in Oct.  Maybe there will be less of an emotional attachment to it for them.  Who knows.  Not me.

I'm the opposite of a Pack Rat. I don't know if there is a catchy word for that, but that's what I am. I get antsy if I can't move from one place to another by throwing everything I own into the back of my car. Gee, I wonder why?

This is the sum-total of my collection of the games I have worked on over the past 20+ years.  So many missing ones.  Nothing from the years at Humongous Entertainment. No Monkey Island 2. At least they are all still in shrink wrap.

Goodbye Lucasfilm Games.

Other people's comments:

Posted by Ariel on Apr 3, 2013 quarter past six pm

It's incredible to see that all those (myself included) that will miss LucasFilms (or LucasArts) only talk about the graphic adventures released in the 80s and 90s. We're in 2013, 15 years later the last good adventure released by the company, so in a way, LucasArts has been dead for most of us for a long time (at least for it was). Probably not a single person from those golden days still worked at LucasArts until yesterday, and still hurts.

So how GREAT ARE (yes...they still are and probably would be forever) The Secret of Monkey Island 1 & 2, Indiana Jones and the fate of Atlantis, Maniac Mansion and all the graphic adventures we had the honor to play from 1987 to 1998 (Grim Fandango was the last one I loved from Lucas) that we mourn LucasArts death only for those games.

And yes...of course I'm one of those that are begging for you to run a kickstarter to adquire MI ip and produce that 3rd part we've been waiting for since the beginings of the 90s.

One can only hope.

Posted by Mintcake1980 on Apr 4, 2013 twenty past midnight

I too am sad about LEC and I do Hope that all the old IPs dont die with it!
But I do think people need to respect that Curse of monkey Island was the third game, I know alot go on about a "proper" sequel but i think its rather unfair and disrepectful to the people that put alot of hard work and effort in to making that game.
I loved it and without it we may have never had Dominic Armato to voice Guybrush, or even any hope of an continuation of MI.

Im sure Ron Gilbert would love to make a new game in the series, I too would love a new game but I'm sure it can be a new story that we all can enjoy!

Posted by Krugos on Apr 5, 2013 twenty five past noon

"LucasArts has been dead for most of us for a long time"

That's exactly how I feel. I'm sad to see the company come to an end, but I have not played a LucasArts game since the third Monkey Island back in '97 (I wanted to play Grim Fandango, sadly at that time my PC couldn't run it, maybe some day I'll try it.)

My favorite games were the 80's ones for the C64, except for Indiana Jones which I never played (didn't know it even existed until many years later), and adding The Secret of Monkey Island from the 90's. Maniac Mansion is still at the top of my list of all games from all eras/genres.

I hope Ron Gilbert can get back the Monkey Island rights and design a new sequel, that would be awesome!
... But I gotta admit my dream come true would be a Maniac Mansion sequel with all the original playable characters. The Cave kind of made up for the lack of such a sequel, though, so I can't complain. :)

Posted by Mike McP on Apr 7, 2013 five to four pm

I'm with you on a Maniac Mansion sequel.  I would imagine that IP would be easier to get than MI.  I'd REALLY love a Zak McKracken sequel, but I know that wouldn't sell as well.  MM still has a bit of a following.

Posted by Reagan W. on Apr 3, 2013 quarter to eight pm

Ron, your sadness is mirrored by an enormous portion of the gaming world, our childhoods have been taken away today.

Please, Mr. Gilbert, rescue Monkey Island and the like from the LOOMing threat of fading into obscurity, of never having another sequel, of never again seeing the light of day, if you can.

We need the real Monkey Island 3 (or even a real 5) more than ever. We need them, and we need you, Ron.

May our deliverance from this dark time come swifter than the Number 9 Express or a Corley Motorcycle.

Posted by djjezza on Apr 3, 2013 twenty five past eight pm

Maniac Mansion is my fave game of all time. Shame there was never a Maniac Mansion 3. Hopefully they will licence MM & DOTT for Iphone & Android, maybe through Telltale

Posted by John on Apr 3, 2013 half past eight pm

I'll give you my nice condition boxed copy Monkey Island 2 at PAX Australia if you'd like it. It's the mac version, but still.

Posted by Martin Bavio on Apr 3, 2013 ten past nine pm

Disney could do, for once, a good thing, and return the rights of Monkey Island to the person who deserves it most. And then you could make another MI game, and I could be happy no matter what for the next 5 years.

Posted by Reagan W. on Apr 3, 2013 quarter to eight pm

Amen, brother. You and so many others.

Posted by HeZkeZl on Apr 3, 2013 quarter past nine pm

As a programmer who worked at LucasArts until today, I just have to say that working for a company with a history that included your games was an honor.

Posted by Lorenzo on Apr 3, 2013 quarter past nine pm

Please Ron, contact Disney!! At least ask 'em if they're interested in giving the rights of MI. I'm sure that with a kick starter project you'd raise many funds!!!! :))

Posted by Reagan W. on Apr 3, 2013 quarter to eight pm

^ Please do as this man says.

Jedi mind tricks just aren't cutting it anymore!

Posted by eckytb on Apr 3, 2013 twenty past nine pm

Monkey Island II was the first game that i ever finished (on the amiga of my neighbour) and every year i play at least one part of MI for christmas. I am shocked and sad to hear of the "death" of LucasArts but i hope, there will be a new brandkeeper, who will work on a new game with you.

Posted by John Mundy on Apr 3, 2013 twenty five past nine pm

Your games are what inspired me to start my game career. My big bro helped with the Monkey Island music (which still blows my mind!) and playing through MI, I was inspired to join the game dev ranks. I now have spent almost 20 years in game dev thanks to some insult sword fighting. Sad day for me too. End of an era...

Posted by David Fox on Apr 3, 2013 half past nine pm

Ron, I think Lucasfilm Games definitely vanished (as we knew it) around the time the name was changed. Big difference in working with a couple of dozen creative people vs. hundreds. Glad I left before it got that large. And working with you there was definitely a highlight.

And wow, my collection's only just a bit bigger than yours. If I were smart/prescient back in the 80s, I would have bought a case of each game and then sold them on eBay, but of course, no eBay back then.

Posted by Supretta on Apr 3, 2013 half past nine pm

My friends and I have fantastic memories of playing the LucasArts adventure games together. When Disney acquired Lucasfilm in October, I thought this would be a great development for the games and I was anticipating grand things. I am so disappointed this happened instead.

Walt Disney lost his right to his first character - Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. It took the Disney Company nearly 80 years to get Oswald back. I hope Disney will pay it forward and make getting the Monkey Island rights obtainable for you. I'm wildly hoping this dissolvement would make acquiring the rights to Monkey Island easier.

Posted by entropy on Apr 3, 2013 twenty five to ten pm

I couldn't agree more. :)

While the rights go to Disney now, doesn't it feel like a "now or never" situation?
If there will be a Monkey Island 3 (the real one) kickstarter project of some kind,
with you as the project lead, I'm sure as hell it will set a new record.

If this becomes reality, please make sure Michael Land is on board.

Posted by Rojasono on Apr 3, 2013 twenty five to ten pm

I don't think you'll feel less of an emotional attachment to MI. Despite what's happening now, the memories of working on it cannot be erased. And Disney should sell you the rights to MI, but... they probably won't.

Posted by Ricky Brigante on Apr 3, 2013 quarter to ten pm

I'm torn. I'm a lifelong Disney fan. I write and talk about Disney on a daily basis. They've produced some of the most amazing work ever created.  BUT... when it comes to video games, LucasArts brings back fond memories that no Disney game ever has.  And when Disney purchased Lucasfilm, my immediate thought was, "WHAT ABOUT LUCASARTS?"

I hoped they could bring some new life into what was obviously a dying brand.  The LucasArts (or LucasFilm Games) of your time is what shaped my early impressions of what video games could and should be.  I've always enjoyed a game with a little adventure, a sense of humor, and a whole lot of smarts.  X-Wing and TIE Fighter blew me away when they came out, but the series of games that began with Maniac Mansion and continued to Monkey Island and all the way through Grim Fandango was the epitome of perfect gaming for me.  And re-playing those games through the recent HD re-releases was a fantastic step back in time.

Now my hopes of Disney resurrecting that perfect gaming age are dashed.  I am left wondering if there's even a slight chance they'll realize the importance of those names they're holding onto.  LucasArts, as a studio, wasn't doing much.  But LucasArts, as a brand and holder of IP, has a lot to offer.

And I certainly wouldn't be opposed to them just giving up Monkey Island completely to those who really could take it where it needs to go. (That's you.)

Posted by Jordi on Apr 3, 2013 five past ten pm

Can't believe the news, they just killed Lucasfilm Games, creators of the most amazing games I've ever played (MI1 & 2, Indy Atlantis, DoTT, etc.). I'm just shattered. Please, please, PLEASE, Mr. Gilebrt at least try to get the rights for MI and make the real MI3, we are all dying to know the real Secret of Monkey Island!

Posted by sati on Apr 3, 2013 five past ten pm

Ron, es el momento de que los derechos de Monkey Island vuelvan con su padre. Tiene que haber alguna forma. No creo que sea dinero, pero si eso es lo que pide Disney lo conseguiriamos mediante Kick Starter.

Suerte desde España, no te rindas.

Posted by Zod on Apr 3, 2013 ten past ten pm

The Eidolon, Rescue on Fractulus, Koronis Rift and Ballblazer.  Ah the memories!

Posted by Krugos on Apr 5, 2013 quarter to one pm

I'm not familiar with Fractulus or Ballblazer, but I have fond memories playing The Eidolon, and I loved Koronis Rift music.

Posted by Hoffmann on Apr 3, 2013 twenty five past ten pm

I wonder who will make the next star wars game. Like we need more of those.

Posted by Christopher McDougall on Apr 3, 2013 half past ten pm

Hi Ron,

I actually have a physical copy of Monkey Island 2 in box on 5.25" floppy if you want it. I just don't think I have the code wheel. I'd have to check. It's yours if you wish. I would rather have it in its creator's hands than in a storage bin somewhere or auctioned off on ebay. Anyway send me an email if you're interested and let me know where to ship it.

Posted by Lemonhead on Apr 3, 2013 twenty five to eleven pm

Seriously Ron, run a kickstarter if you can.

I personally would, without hesitation, donate hundreds of dollars to see a new Monkey Island game by the genius who began it all. I know others would be in full support.

We are in mourning for our Monkeys... :'(

Posted by Fuz on Apr 4, 2013 ten past two pm

The Kickstart idea would be great... but I think Disney would want way, way more than a Kickstarter could ever make, for the rights.


Posted by Larry Planildi on Apr 3, 2013 five past eleven pm

This is incredibly sad. I remember spending so many hours of childhood playing Lucasart's adventure games. I loved playing Monkey Island, Indiana Jones, Sam and Max, Grim Fandango, Full Throttle, Day of the Tentacle, Loom, and The Dig. I used to be so excited whenever Lucasarts announced a new adventure game.
Every game was like a new world that you could explore.
The games were fun back then! It was immensely satisfying to actually be challenged, to actually think about a problem, and then to work it out and solve it.

I am mourning the old Lucasarts, not the most recent incarnations.

And Ron, best of luck getting the IP back for MI.

Posted by capitan anuk on Apr 3, 2013 quarter past eleven pm

Se me pianta un lagrimon.

Posted by Piro on Apr 5, 2013 twenty to ten pm

tamo iguales

Posted by Ben on Apr 3, 2013 half past eleven pm

Ron, like many others I grew up on your games, and though I think LucasArts' Lucasfilm Game's era ended many years ago, this just seems like the last nail in the coffin (with Stan stuck inside of course). I'm actually downloading The Cave right now - didn't know it existed just an hour ago - but hopefully my small contribution will support more games like that. And hopefully one day I'll achieve my dream of creating my own adventure game.

But I just wanted to say thanks. In no small way did those games influence my life and make me into who I am today. My hunger for exploration has brought be to over 50 countries now, and I'm always looking for new adventures and experiences, asking pirates about trials, and always hoarding the various things I find to use in life's great puzzles.

Posted by Murray on Apr 3, 2013 twenty five to midnight

LucasFilm Games/LucasArts made some of my favourite games of all time back in the day and even though they've changed a lot ever since, I still feel something important has gone away today.

I'll forever remember the adventure games I grew up with from that company, Maniac Mansion, Day of the Tentacle, Monkey Island 1/2/3, Grim Fandango, Full Throttle, Loom, Sam & Max, The Dig, Indiana Jones: Fate of Atlantis. Heck, I'll even remember Indiana Jones and The Infernal Machine.

So many fond memories. Very few companies came even close to LucasFilm Games' level of quality in design, characters, storyline and humour. I'm still baffled over the lack of humour-themed games being made nowadays.

I know you're not to keen on the whole licence business, Mr. Gilbert, but if you ever managed to get your hands on the Monkey Island rights, feel free to make a Kickstarter for the real Monkey Island 3. I'd fund you, as I know a lot of us would.

Posted by kikito on Apr 3, 2013 quarter to midnight

– Ssssh! Do you hear that?
– What is it?
– It sounds like flapping wings. Lots of flapping rubber wings.
– And pulleys.
– We are doomed.

Ron, in case you have not noticed yet, people would also kickstart anything you are involved in with the words "Adventure" and "Pirate". Although it would be icing on the cake to have Guybrush et Al back, you could probably do a different story in the same world, and people would still buy it in a heartbit (myself included).

Just saying.

Posted by iPadCary on Apr 4, 2013 ten past one am

This is a goddamned shame, is what it is ....
LucasArts was always a symbol of ultra-high quality & craftsmanship.
As to the latter, I'm sure Ron can speak to personally.

And to all of you Di$ney apologists out there, let this atrocity be a harbinger of
what their version of "Star Wars" will bring -- as if hiring J. J. Abrahms wasn't enough of a sign for ya ....
His decimation of the "Star Trek" ethos will be nothing compared to what's to come.

Posted by Wedgeski on Apr 6, 2013 quarter past ten am

"LucasArts was always a symbol of ultra-high quality & craftsmanship. "

Was. WAS being the operative word. They lost their mojo 10 years ago. I completely understand why Disney shuttered them. Perhaps now whoever gets the Star Wars license for the upcoming films will do something awesome with it, because if it had stayed in-house, I would have expected average and got worse.

I'm said that LA are gone, but only because they now won't ever have the opportunity to lift themselves back to the heights of the '90's, when they were an almost guaranteed mark of quality.

Posted by TCPip2k on Apr 4, 2013 three am

I take this news with a big portion of HOPE.
Hope that Ron will get theMI IP back, like Purcell got the Sam&Max IP back.

I hadn't that much hope in a Monkey Island 3 before!

So on a nostalgic pov it's sad, but on the other hand I really hated LEC at least for the last 10 yers for how they treated adventures and their non star wars IPs.

May the three headed monkey rise again!
May we learn the secret of monkey island before we die!

Posted by Ron Gilbert on Apr 4, 2013 half past eight am

LEC never owned the Sam&Max IP.  Steve created Sam&Max before he worked there and he licensed it to them.  All that happened was LEC's license for Sam&Max expired.

Posted by Lucas on Apr 4, 2013 twenty to seven pm

And then licensed it to tell tales who ruined it for good.

Posted by giddi on Apr 4, 2013 half past three am

I have the MI2 box complete, but not giving it for anybody :)

Posted by Juanan on Apr 4, 2013 five to four am

I'm so sorry Ron, about the outcoming news.
Wish they were not true...
Anyway, thanks for all of incredible and funny hours you've given us.
Hope u get back soon with any project that bring back to live any of the legendary titles such as Monkey saga,... not sure if this is possible (in legal terms, i mean...)... but sure you will get our full support if you decide to start something similiar or a Kickstarter!
Thx again.
C.U. soon! ;)

Posted by Turel Caccese on Apr 4, 2013 quarter to six am

Something old, something new.
Something borrowed, something blue.
And a piece of eight in your shoe.

Think about it


Posted by Bozo the Clown, Mr. on Apr 4, 2013 five past eight am

Dear Ron,

thanks to you, your games, LucasArts and a strange twist of fate, I got a job I never even dared to dream of as a child.
As a child my English sucked big time (it probably still does), but it improved a lot because I needed to understand all your wonderful games. It was a time when most of the games weren't localized.
So thanks for all the help! It was the funniest English lesson I ever had.
I even worked on localizing LucasArts games and I felt like a boy that was trapped in a candy store.

All the best to you ... and the folks at LucasArts.

Posted by Enrico on Apr 4, 2013 five to nine am

This just seems like a sad day, but it could be the beginning of something else. Please launch this kickstarter project. I know many would contribute!

I'll never forget that special flavour MI and MI2 had and I couldn't find anywhere anymore. I LOVED them.

Ron, let's give Guybrush a chance!

Posted by Ron Gilbert on Apr 4, 2013 five past nine am

Doing a Kickstarter to buy the rights back is filled with problems if you think about it.  

Without a firm number from Disney, they could just watch the Kickstarter and no matter what is closed at, they could then ask for $1M more.  I could start the Kickstarter without talking to them and they could get it shut down.  I'm not even sure of buying IP is something Kickstarter allows.

Step one is to get Disney to agree to sell them to me and setting a price.  That is a long long journey. I have dealt with Disney before. They are a good company filled with good people, but they are huge and nothing moves fast.

Kickstarter is not the golden ticket here.  Sorry.

Posted by Nelson Rodrigues on Apr 5, 2013 three am

Hey, just pointing out that there are precedents of Kickstarter projects with the goal of buying IP.

"A Kickstarter campaign from indie developer teamPixel renews their efforts to crowdsource funding to acquire the Homeworld IP that is up for sale following the bankruptcy of THQ"

I realize that doesn't solve all the problems you listed, but at the very least confirms that you can later on attempt to fund the IP acquisition via Kickstarter, once you get that fabled price tag. I, for one, would donate my part to see that happen.

Posted by Miguel on Apr 5, 2013 quarter past three am

Then give us an account number to deposit all our money!

Posted by Fabio on Apr 4, 2013 ten past ten am

I still remember the first time I read the review of the C64 verion of Maniac Mansion on ZZap! ...
Loooong time ago! I even remember some of the photos inside the review...
Games were different back then, and MM was such innovative, unique: a work of a genius.
Since then, for many years everything released by LucasFilm Games was pure gold, an incredible and unstoppable list of masterpieces, one after another.
I still believe that no other company in VG industry has ever been able to accomplished what LucasFilm Games has done during those years. They were gods among other developers.
Years pass and the first huge hit was Ron leaving the Company and leaving this world and the medium of videogame without the third and last chapter of Monkey Island...
How many great and good memories... We are getting old...
Today is a sad day.
Let's hope Ron will be able to manage something with Disney.

Posted by Anthony on Apr 6, 2013 quarter to six am

I remember thinking that the game must have a zillion rooms, and contain the sub plots and action of every 70's and 80's teen ensemble movie I'd seen up to that point. And it didn't disappoint. When I got stuck using one combination of characters, I would switch to another, and slowly the solutions to different puzzles presented themselves. It was the best game ever!

Posted by Graeme Small on Apr 4, 2013 twenty five to eleven am

Pardon my French, but the whole thing is just shit.

I had very high hopes that Disney, as a company with a failing videogame reputation, would invest heavily into their new asset. But to simply stop it completely like this just seems wrong. Why spend all that money buying the whole company only to shut down bits you don't want? Why not let Lucas keep LucasArts? Or sell it to a publisher?

Sure, we all know we're going to get Star Wars games like we get advertisements on TV, and don't get me wrong, I want Star Wars games! But it's the classic adventure games we want, and this announcement sounds like they're just abandoning them. Can't see this boding well for us at all.

Good luck Ron, you're our only hope.

Posted by Andy on Apr 4, 2013 twenty five past eleven am

Posted by Marek Piecyk on Apr 4, 2013 twenty five past eleven am

You started me off on the adventure game route, and because of your artist talents, I so got into the computer/design industry. If I hadn't gotten addicted to the Monkey Island Series, my life would be different today. I would very much like to see you get the rights back to that franchise, and perhaps start it back up again with today's technology. I did see some of MI flavor within your title THE CAVE.

LucasFilm Games/LucasArts got me interested in computers, and it is a sad day that the evil Disney destroyed that organization.

Posted by Lucas on Apr 4, 2013 half past eleven am

I was really disapointed with the ending of Monkey Island 2, the fight with Le Chuck was awesome and fun, but making it all just happening in the imagination of a couple of brothers playing was... cute, but killed it! I felt like I woke up from a dream and got really sad thinking "No more monkey island!" It will never be the same, I woke up and I just stopped beliving. Anyways, I totally enjoyed it, so after all is a great game, the same as MI1 and I still play them today. I hope you get the copyrights  and I ask you to make me believe  in Guybrush once again.

Posted by Fuz on Apr 4, 2013 twenty past two pm

I hated that ending, back then. I was so disappointed at the time.

Now? I genuinely think it's THE single best videogames ending ever. So smart, weird, funny and full of significance.

Posted by Lucas on Apr 4, 2013 twenty five to seven pm

I think I will re play it and re evaluate it (theres always an excuse) Grim Fandango's ending was also bitter-sweet, but I ll talk about it with Shaffer.

Posted by Patrick Libuda on Apr 4, 2013 twenty to six pm

Hi Ron,

Yes in a way it is a sad day but if one thinks about it, the last really good LucasArts adventure was Grim Fandango. As far as Monkey Island is concerned, 'proper' MI for me (in my most humble of opinions - and apart from the utterly sweet fairground ending of MI2) ended during the first chapter of Monkey 3. I utterly loved Murray ('all right then, roll through the gates of hell'). However, I was not all that fond of the rest of part 3 and even less fond of part 4 - the only part of the four that I did not finish...

(I have not yet got round to (properly) playing Tales of Monkey Island but so far I have to admit I am not all that impressed - the user interface is definitely not one of my favourites...)

I was very grateful for the Special Edition of Monkey Island 1 & 2 - brought back some very fond memories for me.

Otherwise thanks for a marvelous job with Monkey 1 & 2 (a few years after the games came out I bought the UK CD compilation of both - it was impossible to get the proper CD version of Monkey 1 with the CD music in Germany - apart from, as far as I remember, Creative's OEM version that came with a SB 16 bundle... which means I also still have a boxed version incl. manual... ;-) ).

In my opinion one Secret of Monkey Island was this in part incredibly kind sense of humor in MI 1&2 despite of what normally would be a rather rough scenario. For example, I did not like that somewhere in MI3 some bloke was thrown of a cliff - I would have been very surprised to see anything like that in MI 1 or 2.


P.S.: How good is your German? - what do you think about the fan project Zak 2 - did you have a look at it?

P.P.S.: I was rather disappointed about LucasArts closing down LucasFan Games - a bit cheap... in my opinion fan projects should be supported because they keep scenarios alive while people hope that some day there might be an 'official' sequel or game in a particular scenario. In this connection, incidentally, I was particularly impressed with Wing Commander Saga (bloody hard) and Black Mesa. As far as adventures are concerned you may have seen Broken Sword 2.5 (also available in English).

Posted by Demetris Thoupis on Apr 4, 2013 quarter to midnight

Ron: I have millions of fans begging me to get the MI rights back to make a stupidly insane unbelievable incredible adventure game and be judged for the rest of my remaining days since I will fail miserably to deliver the ultra high sky rocketing expectations.

Disney: Well that is fine. Just give us 99.9% of the profit and is yours.

Ron: Erm..... (Pondering)

Disney: To sweeten things up we will even give you Maniac Mansion Rights. Who in his right mind wants a game about tentacles and mad scientists anyway?

Ron: Erm.... (Still Pondering)

Disney: Well????

Ron: Erm.... (Still Pondering)

Disney: ........

Ron: Erm..... (Still Pondering)


Posted by Andy on Apr 5, 2013 twenty to two am

Ron is clearly way too disillusioned and, um, grumpy to fight for the rights of Monkey Island. Now and in the past 21 years. Not even Kickstarter could cheer him up in this respect.

We can't blame him, the game industry is rotten to the core. Disney is likely to become another big bad EA.

Guys, he was 27 when he made Monkey 2. That was eons ago. He's most probably annoyed and/or bored to death with your begging to create "the definitive" Monkey 3.

Posted by Ted on Apr 5, 2013 ten to eleven am

The worst thing ron could do if he was talking to disney about the rights would be to talk about it on his blog or twitter.  Think about it people.  Just stop and think for 2 seconds. He would stay quiet. Work out a good deal and then talk about it.

Posted by Vincent Omodei on Apr 5, 2013 half past four am

Thanks for the childhood Ron, every scene and sound of MI is burnt permanently into my retina... I was an unpaid game-hint consultant for that game for several friends and neighbors at the age of 12, It is definitely a cultural icon of the "Make your children watch/read/play this" variety.

Don't know about being able to get the rights back though... my theory is that George threatened to sue Disney for the Pirates of the Caribbean profits (Geoffrey Rush is soooo Le'Chuck!) and this is their way of making sure that never happens...

Posted by Carlos Esteban Gottardi on Apr 5, 2013 ten to eight am

Greetings from Argentina.

I want to say "thank you" from being part of the company that make my 90s so funny. In my memories still remains those incredible moments of the game. I just want to say that all was PERFECT and even when i get a hard puzzle and then figured how to do it, i was so happy that no other game could at date achieve those feelings that way. Those games never have the violence of actual games and I still try to found AV games like "LucasArts". Humor, sarcasm, irony combined with its pixels was really a masterpiece. In my head still turn sounds of memorable moments.
My favorite was "Indiana Jones and the fate of Atlantis", "MI" and "The Dig". I like games with a good plot and thats why i love AV games, they are like a movie but playing and LucasArts games were the best doing  that mixture of things. There was so many tittles there were all perfect and now i have this strange feeling that a part of that time on me has retired.
Now is time for the super graphics game with ( fool or no content ).
Good Things Never Last. Thanks so so much.
PD: Sorry for my bad english :/.

Posted by Stephan on Apr 5, 2013 quarter past nine am

I finally made it to a real monkey island, its called Lamin Lodge (The Gambia) and from the first sign after I sailed in, it had some of the feeling of monkey island. Lots of monkeys around and everthing made out of wood.
Its a pitty that Lucas Games closed. It seems there is a rule that lots of memory and cpu/gpu speed hurts good programming and design. More $$$ killed the humor.
Disney is the typical case when comercial thinking destroys creativity, if it wouldn't be for Pixar they would be gone long time ago. It seems it was on another galaxy when people mainly programmed for fun not money.

Posted by another dude on Apr 5, 2013 twenty five past nine am

LucasArts wasn't using those IPs, Disney clearly isn't planning to, and the current CEO seems like a pretty bright fellow. I think they'd be very open to a widely-publicized sale.

It's hard to imagine Disney renewing Guybrush's copyrights, but even harder to imagine the company letting him slowly shuffle off to the public domain.

(A+ book choices, by the way)

Posted by Felix on Apr 5, 2013 twenty to three pm

"and the current CEO seems like a pretty bright fellow."

based on what exactly? accepting an offer for a gigantic IP and closing shit down that might interfere with their hell-knows-what vision? Yeah that seems like a likely fellow to grant someone creative freedom with a license (that in no might be of interest to Disney because it is no way related...)

Posted by Andrew Brinkworth on Apr 5, 2013 twenty to eleven am

Nice post, Ron. I will say that if I were to write a eulogy for my fave game studio, it would have been Humongous, since that started my career in the games industry, and my best memories are there (until Atari took over). So know that I'm glad you picked up the phone that day, cause you were the pebble that started the ripple that started my career.

Posted by Manchini on Apr 5, 2013 quarter past three pm

"It will always be Lucasfilm Games(tm) to me, never LucasArts"

Well said. It was really strange, hearing the news today. I think the reason I didn't feel sad or shocked is because the LucasFilm I loved died a long time ago, after it fell out of love with adventure games.

It's kind of funny in a way, how things work out - From Disney's Pirate's of the Caribbean ride to MI - then back to Disney again.

I know Disney's a huge corporation & doesn't move fast, but I thought that their shifting to a licensing model might have improved the odds of seeing MI3 someday.

Fingers crossed.

Posted by Noah Falstein on Apr 5, 2013 ten past four pm

I know I was a smart guy.  I chose to hire you, right?   And I know you're smart because you went out and got Tim and Dave, not to mention all the others.  Plus that Spielberg guy seemed to like our work, but what did he know about games?

So yeah, we were awfully lucky to have such a group in such a place with the resources we did.  We taught each other, forged that body of knowledge on the fly, made games using it, and had so much fun doing it.  Great seeing how many lives we touched in the process.

Posted by Rip on Apr 5, 2013 ten to five pm

Although it is sad, the really sad thing will be when you'll die. Apart from the other inconveniences you'll be leaving us without hope for anything good in the future. Lucasarts is just a name, what counts are the people, and YOU are the most important one, at least in my book. Although people miss Monkey Island the most, what we really miss is an adventure with the same qualities that Monkey had. The story, the characters, the humor. It puzzles me to no end why are you avoiding games like that. The Cave is just frustrating when I think what it could be if you'd went Maniac Mansion way with this. I don't want to offend you, but to me, you're bit like Jimi Hendrix but instead of dying you went the disco route in the 70. ; )

Ron, please, gives us a real adventure game.

Posted by Ron Gilbert on Apr 5, 2013 quarter past five pm

I'm sorry you didn't like The Cave.  A lot of people really liked it.  I like to try new things and explore.  Making the same game over and over like a lot of people seem to want me to do is boring.

If I made a true point-and-click adventure game, people would just complain that it wasn't as good as Monkey Island.  But they wouldn't really be complaining that it wasn't as good as Monkey Island, they'd be complaining that it wasn't has good as 20 years of nostalgia over Monkey Island was.  I can't complete with that. No one can. Comments like this make me even less willing to try.

When Maniac Mansion came out, people bitched that it didn't have a parser and a wall of text to read.   That I was destroying the purity and artistry of the written word by having graphics and animation.  I kid you not.

If I had listened to them and given up and just made a text adventure, maybe there would be no point-and-click adventures.

Telltale sold a ton of The Walking Dead because they tried something new. They didn't just build another point-and-click game.

Embrase new things.  Celebrate the different.

I love it when artists I admire do new and different things.  If Jimi Hendrix was alive today doing the same stuff he did in the sixties... well, that would be sad.

Posted by FL on Apr 6, 2013 ten to three am

Completelly agree with you Ron!!!

Posted by piep on Apr 6, 2013 quarter past six am


"it's the evolution babe"

Posted by Grahamon on Apr 6, 2013 twenty to eleven am

Apparently, 2 weeks before his death, Jimi Hendrix told a Danish reporter that he didn't expect he'd see 28, that he'd been dead a long time and had been resurrected in a new musical body. Far out, huh?

My girlfriend and me played through The Cave a few weeks ago and we loved it! Good luck if you get talking Disney!

Posted by TCPip2k on Apr 6, 2013 twenty past one pm

Okay, this is how I personally feel about this topic,
I don`t want to play it as "the law":

I woudln`t mind new ideas, but games got to easy.

I love the "pull - push - talk - use - give - take - look at"- interface
of old adventures.
NOT because of nostalgica, but because you really have to think, and can get totally creative with all the possible combinations.
And creative combinations would reward with awesome monologe/dialoge
or things happening.

Best example of the last 15 years: the game "Edna and Harvey : the breakout" (I really recommend that game to everybody enjoying adventures)

In new adventures it's just "loot at - use - talk to"
Also the number of collectable items and combination-puzzles feels much lower.

I liked to work on solving an adventure like DoTT step by step over weeks.
Thinking about a solution while being at school.

Modern games like "Tales of Monkey Island" or "The Cave" are great entertainment in terms of story telling and design.

But they don`t feel like the challenge, adventures used to be.
They feel like "Everybody must be able to complete the game without getting stuck for longer then 5 minutes, the story must go on, keep the flow"

I totally trust in you high skills of story telling and character design - don`t fear being compared with MI. But please, do it like in MI2, and add a second difficulty for experienced and patience adventure game players.
I don't need a game for my ego, that makes be feel highly intelligent, because I solved everything in a flow.
I can totally live with taking my time (even days/weeks) with solving a puzzle, and going "Ohhh I was so stupid!" - I still will have a great time and won`t quit playing or be regretting anything.

If someone has no patience and wants  total convenience, this person maybe should play Fruit Ninja in zen-mode, instead of being the target audience. - no offense.

This is just how I feel about adventures then and now.
But I guess, I`m not who adventure game designers are making their games for anymore. :-(

Besides my mediocre hopes for Broken Age, only Daedalic Entertainment seems to still make challenging Point & Click adventures.
Can't wait for their upcomming adventure "The Night of the Rabbit". (Google it!)

Posted by Someone on Apr 6, 2013 twenty to midnight

Ron, this comment nails it. The nostalgia argument is just a red herring. That article you posted about Lucasfilm Games wasn't about nostalgia. It was about people commenting on their love of the genre.

I saw comments from a guy saying his girlfriend played monkey island for the first time on the ipad and she loved the heck out of it. That is current and right now. She has no nostalgia to cling to like I do thinking of the summer my best friend and I spent playing it. A whole summer!  No other genre offers that depth.

I also think you shouldnt get hung up on the interface of your games as long as it doesn't limit your puzzles.

Posted by Mike McP on Apr 7, 2013 four pm

I would agree with this poster.  My kids loved the re-graphic'd MI, yet they did not like Tales.  Tales was just too scripted...too much voice, too many just wasn't the 'game' they wanted, and was more like watching a slow movie.

It's somewhat cyclical.  FPS games are on the way out, and now folks are looking for something new.

Posted by Ron Gilbert on Apr 7, 2013 ten past four pm

Do you consider Bioshock Infinite a FPS?  3 million copies on the first day.  More copies of that game were sold on the first day than all the Monkey Island's put together over 20 years.

To millions of people, it is the pinnacle of interactive story telling.

Not saying it is, or it's only sales that matter, but the scale between people who played point-and-click adventures over other games is staggering.

Posted by Someone on Apr 7, 2013 quarter past eleven pm

I would say those people have never played an adventure game made by you.  If they did, I don't know if they would appreciate it either.  No one dies in your games.  Well, actually I guess you tried to change that with The Cave...

I'm not sure I'm following you though.  The markets from the 80s - 90s compared to those of today are completely different.  The large majority of people playing games now didn't even own a computer when adventure games were king.  But back in those days, everyone I knew who had a PC had at least one or two of the Lucasfilm games in their collection, if not most all of the games published by them.

Posted by Grahamon on Apr 8, 2013 twenty five past four am

If millions of people are into that, well so be it. To me, Monkey Island 1&2 are the pinnacle of interactive story-telling. There's a real timeless magic to them. I think the majority of violent games mindlessly feed violent desire. There's a great need in the world for works of art like Monkey Island that teach patience, peacefulness and humour. Will Bioshock stand the test of time like Monkey Island? Is Monkey Island perhaps even still ahead of its time?

Posted by Someone on Apr 8, 2013 ten to seven pm

The answer to your last question is yes.  Well, I think more accurately, "displaced in time."  Games like that, with that depth, and the master level of talent at all levels, from story, to gameplay, to music, etc. is a rare thing indeed... only feasible at that moment in the game industry given where tech was at the time.

Posted by Someone on Apr 6, 2013 five to midnight

Ron, be fair now. He didn't say he didn't like the Cave. It's just not as good of an an adventure as your old games in terms of the depth of the puzzles. PUn intended?

Posted by Babis on Apr 9, 2013 five past three pm

I totally agree but... PLEASE give us the final part of MI!!

Posted by Tami (Borowick) McIntyre on Apr 5, 2013 five to six pm

Ron, should I be hurt that you didn’t keep Monkey Island 2 or any of the HE games in your collection? Was it me? I do want to thank you for using the MI2 grave digging(TM) screenshot in your post. Though I was hesitant about working on it in the beginning, it grew into one of my favorite scenes. You were right. But I’m only gonna say that once so don’t start boasting or anything.

Posted by Lucas on Apr 6, 2013 twenty five past midnight

Hey guys,

I grew up with all these Lucasfilm Games. They are part of my youth.
It´s sad that this company is lost now. Thanks to Disneys boring mishmash.
Goodbye quality - hello quantity.

Posted by Zach B. on Apr 6, 2013 twenty five to three am

All the people posting about kickstarter's probably pretty annoying.
A death of a company, or I suppose a branch in this case, is always sad. But I think it's always a good thing. A new company can make Star Wars games. Or for THQ, a new company can make Saint's Row games. New ideas can be explored that perhaps the first company might not have thought to take or believed were too risky. New life can be breathed into the series. But of course I didn't have emotional ties to the company itself.... I was still sad to hear it. You'd think Disney would want that extra power to fuel their games as well.

Now here's my obligatory questions after my initial comment. Everybody else is doing it!

Seeing as Disney owns Marvel and sometimes has them work with their IPs I now wonder. Could Disney see Monkey Island as a good fit for a comic book series? If so how would you feel about this?
In fact. How do you feel about not just comics but any way the IP could be used? Movies, books, cartoons, toys... Have you and the rest of the MI crew ever talked about how you felt on this subject?  Though perhaps you don't want to put words in their mouth.

Posted by Zach B. on Apr 6, 2013 five to three am

I'd also like to add that though some may have nostalgia-vision while playing MI the series still holds up. My Monkey Island journey started only... I'd say four years ago? I played the CD version of Secret and Revenge so they were a bit updated. Despite this I still loved them. I liked and continue to like them more than most games. Only a couple games close. It's not just nostalgia. It's a well made game.
I find myself thinking that aquiring the rights will be easier than what's in store after. To create a great game, one that you feel will live up to our expectations of what Monkey Island is, what you will feel like is new and different enough from past games to keep if fresh, to find a good way to present this... To find a team of people you feel like you can trust with such a task. It's all a lot. It's perhaps too much?
In any case. I am one person that wants a thrilling conclusion to the original trilogy idea. Even if it turned out to be a 'bad game'. It would be very interesting to see if all the "Guybrush is a child who has an e-ticket to a pirate-y amusement park" theorys are true. And I'm one fan that likes all that is MI. This new game, if it were a true conclusion, would not be the end for me. I have yet to finish Curse (stupid CD-ROM not working properly on Windows 7) I haven't even played Escape. And Tales has really got me stumped.
Sorry for the walls of text, Mr. Gilbert. I kinda hope you don't read all of the comments just so you won't have to sit through this mess.

Posted by Zach B. on Apr 6, 2013 three am

Wow. It's strange to think I was only 13 years old when I got into Monkey Island. Four years ago seems like such a short time.

Posted by no phasebook on Apr 6, 2013 twenty to five am

Does this mean we'll get another MI Special Edition where Guybrush is voiced by Mr. Johnny Depp? "Look, behind you <smoker's cough> a three-headed monkey, man."
If he's also shirtless, I'm not buying it.

Posted by Lemonhead on Apr 6, 2013 ten past three pm

Ron, you should be incredibly proud of creating Monkey Island. I'm forever grateful and astounded. Best of luck with your current and future plans

Posted by Herman Toothrot on Apr 7, 2013 twenty to nine am

I hope you get the rights to Monkey Island Ron, I still replay the games even now.  Hopefully you can make another Monkey Island where you again call the shots.

Posted by Demetris Thoupis on Apr 7, 2013 twenty to noon

Ron I asked in another older thread but never got an answer. Do you know how many copies/digital downloads the Cave has sold so far?

Posted by Ron Gilbert on Apr 7, 2013 quarter to noon

I do, but I am not at liberty to say.  I was surprised at how many copies it sold on  Steam and on the Mac compared to consoles.  It's clearly the end of the console life-cycle (although it did extremely well on WiiU, but that's a new console).

Posted by Demetris Thoupis on Apr 8, 2013 twenty to four am

Well can't you give an approximate number? Did it got to the point of million or millions!? :) Just out of curiosity.
Good luck on your future endevuars and don't worry. Whatever has the name Ron Gilbert on the cover will sell even if its just a pixel running around the screen with nothing meaninfull to do! :)

Posted by James on Apr 8, 2013 five past six am

If said pixel running game was digitally distributed and didn't have a cover, would you still buy it?

Posted by Stefan on Apr 15, 2013 quarter to ten pm

I bought The Cave for PS3, but I can't get my brothers to buy it if its not co-op online.. we live in separate countries..
I just want to go on an adventure with my two brothers, it would be awesome! Please update it, because it would be the adventure of a life time ;-)

Posted by Tim M on Apr 7, 2013 ten to noon

Ron, I must say - AWESOME selection of books you've got there. McCloud and Pratchett are my heroes.

I hope you get Monkey Island back someday, though the hurdles are steep. Until then, just keep being bold and making games. I love point and click Adventure Games, but I don't miss some of the old conventions, and I wouldn't ever want to put an artist I admire into a box - I'm a fan of They Might Be Giants, and they're always changing and experimenting. That's the way it should be.

Posted by Aurélien on Apr 7, 2013 twenty to one pm

I love your work. When I was a little kid I was so happy to see my big brother playing with Maniac Mansion on c64 with his best pal. What you've done has been very inspiring. Today I work for Disney, and I'm not so proud concerning the end of LucasArt. Several years ago I've made a quick little mash up of Maniac Mansion and McKracken. It's modest and quickly made :

You are the George Lucas of Video Games! That's the point!

Thank you very much Ron Gilbert and every one at Lucasfilm Games!

Posted by James on Apr 8, 2013 ten past two am

My first encounter with Lucasfilm games was getting Last Crusade and Maniac Mansion for my 10th birthday. But my favorite memory of Lucasfilm games will always be playing MI on my Atari ST. It only had half a MB of RAM which wasn't supposed to be enough to run the game but I figured out that by saving and reloading at certain points, I could avoid heap space errors, although I had to take my saves to a friend's house to get past certain scenes (that damned banana picker was just too much.)

Like most here I have fond memories of DOTT, Full throttle, fate of Atlantis and The Dig. However, if I could take only two Lucsarts/film games onto a desert island with me, they would be MI II and Tie Fighter

Posted by Someone on Apr 8, 2013 twenty five past noon

Tie Fighter?
COME ON!!!!!

It would be complicated to play those games in a desert island... better take a banana picker and gunpowder

Posted by James on Apr 9, 2013 ten past one am

Oh I meant a generic desert island, if I were stuck on Monkey Island (tm) I wouldn't need games :)

Posted by BlueAtilla/Lonny on Apr 8, 2013 half past two pm

This is so very disappointing and upsetting.
I truly hope that you get the licensing and rights to Monkey Island.

Curse Of Monkey Island was my favorite game as a child, and it still is to this day. I absolutely loved the Monkey Island series very much.

Thank you for this article, no matter how miserable the news is.
And I thank everyone involved in the LucasFilm/LucasArts games. ;')
My childhood has been an absolute pleasure and delight.

I look forward to a bright future for these nostalgic wonders.

Posted by thorwald on Apr 9, 2013 twenty past two am


Posted by Demetris Thoupis on Apr 9, 2013 ten to one am

From Wikipedia

Development of video games based off Lucasfilm properties (such as Star Wars) will now be assumed by Disney Interactive Studios or licensed to third-parties.


Posted by lechuckGL on Apr 9, 2013 quarter to six am

Wasn't Monkey Island 2 released under Lucas Arts ?

Posted by k0SH on Apr 11, 2013 quarter past three pm

Published by Lucasfilm Games LLC,
Developed by Lucasfilm Games LLC,
Released 1991

Posted by Kostas on Apr 10, 2013 twenty past seven am

Hey, we seem like a wonderful company here. Wannabe, nostalgic pirates (Monkey Island), mad scientists (Maniac Mansion), ambitious tentacles (Day of the Tentacle), mindbending journalists (ZakMcKracken), claustrophobic spelunkers (Cave)... I can also detect some archaeologists (Indiana Jones or The Dig, if you prefer outer space), some weaver musicians (Loom), some tough bikers (Full Throttle) and some revolutionary dead (Grim Fandango). Nice! With a few more we could declare our independence and establish the Mêlée Island State...

Dear friends (of course Ron included), allow me a not so humorous stance. These last days, sad by the "burial" of the already dead LucasArts (I preferred the "Lucasfilm" but it hurts  more to put this name beside "burial"), I've read a lot of articles on the subject and everywhere I faced the same nostalgic and somehow passive behavior. Let me remind you that this nostalgia for our old school adventure games is our sentiment for over a decade. Did it offer us any good? No, it's just simply plunged this wonderful genre even more. It's been a delightful ceremony with all those managers-publishers as the gravediggers and us as the pathetic mourners.

Ron, I think that your are an exquisite artist. Thankfully you are still a man as I've guessed from your (a bit) plaintive entry about Bioshock Infinite. I totally agree with you that for millions "it is the pinnacle of interactive story telling" and actually, I don't have any problem with that. Maybe it's not my cup of tea but if it's a game with soul and guts in it, let it conquer everything! However, in ten years from now the fans of Bioshock Infinite will have forgotten the "pinnacle of interactive story telling" and will talk about new "extraterrestrial" shoot 'em ups. As for these guys above and myself? Oh, be sure that we will still worship Guybrush and the rest of the crew. Why? Not because we have rusty heads and backward thinking (we're pirates after all, right?) but because we do not get so easily satisfied! With no offense to other genres, we are not sheep from the flock. We want good graphics (I don't denounce technological evolution in gaming, to be honest though, I prefer the drawn from the 3D. Thanks, TCPip2k, for the info! The "Night of the Rabbit" seems like a fairytale!) but we also want witty developed characters, good dialogues, atmospheric scenery and above all wonderful stories. That's why we love adventure games.

I'm sorry, Ron, for this endless entry of mine. Perhaps I was looking the right words to thank you (hmmm... it wasn't so difficult I guess) for your work and to point out that old school adventures are not necessarily obsolete, they just continue to be...different and not so mainstream (what an accursed definition!). Don't hesitate to use Kickstarter for any upcoming project. You have a lot of friends out there... If we can help you somehow to get back your rights, just ask it. In fact, I don't care if you want to create a new Monkey Island! All I want is the artist to get back his work so no one can mess with it (and our wonderful memories)!

Best regards to all of you!

P.S. I am not fond of multiplayer gaming but I wouldn't say "no" to a "not so Massive Multiplayer Point and Click Adventure Game". I could choose 10-20-50 friends and together we would compete on who would get first the treasure (Big Whoop?) in a limited time period (let's say 3-5 months?). Name your pirates, dress them appropriately, solve some great puzzles and here we go! That's what I call evolution in gaming! OK, enough! That grog punched me on the head... Right?

Posted by Max Palmer on Apr 11, 2013 twenty five to six am

I've often thought if it would be possible to find out how much the rights would cost for DOTT or Monkey Island. I wander if Disney would sell them now. Could the fans raise a kickstarter to buy them?

Posted by baidu on Jun 5, 2013 twenty five past seven am

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