© 2022 KMUW
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Your Move: The New 'Indiana Jones' Game Is Backed By A Familiar Name

Bethesda Softworks

In 1983, George Lucas founded Lucasfilm Games, a video game development company to work alongside his Lucasfilm production studio. Although Lucasfilm is obviously known primarily for its Star Wars movies, the rights for making Star Wars games were in the hands of various other third parties.

So instead, the company, later renamed LucasArts, focused on adventure games – story-driven games based in exploration and solving puzzles. The games drew on Lucasfilm’s pedigree by being cinematic (or, as cinematic as a PC game in the late 80s could be) and by having smart, humorous storytelling.

The company’s first adventure game was Labyrinth, based on the Jim Henson movie of the same name. It was a text-only adventure, much like very early PC games such as Zork. They later published graphical adventure games, which allowed players to point-and-click, instead of having to type out commands. Games like Maniac Mansion were completely original, while Sam and Max and Indiana Jones gave existing characters new stories.

In the ‘90s, as adventure games became less popular, LucasArts got their Star Wars license back. Although at this point they mostly focused on Star Wars games, they diversified in gameplay styles, releasing the combat simulator X-Wing, the Doom-like first person shooter Dark Forces, the strategy game Rebellion, and the rail shooter Rebel Assault. They even went back to their roots and released the adventure game Yoda Stories. (Yoda Stories wasn’t very good, though, so maybe they should have just left that genre alone a little longer.)

After Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm in 2013, LucasArts was effectively dismantled, and EA took over making Star Wars games. But now, as of 2021, Disney is bringing the LucasArts Games brand back, publishing a new Indiana Jones game developed by Machine Games.

Samuel McConnell is a games enthusiast who has been playing games in one form or another since 1991. He was born in northern Maine but quickly transplanted to Wichita.