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Hello from the Lab

September 11, 2009

What’s up everybody?  I’m the Project Lead for the team at LucasArts that develops original IP (that we informally call, “Labs”) and my role is setting creative direction for games that we develop.

I’m super excited to be talking about some of the projects we have going on here in Labs.  Over the next few weeks and months I’m hoping we can peel back the onion to expose a bit of the inner workings of our original IP development team creating games here at LucasArts.

First, a bit about us.  We are a lot of the same team that worked on Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition.  Our team is inspired to create new IP by all the amazing games being created out there in the indie space.  Some old crusties on the team remember old skool days of bedroom coders mailing out tape cassettes and it’s great to see that spirit back (minus the cassette tape).  It’s an exciting time to be in an industry that supports creative ideas as distinctly different as Flower and Shadow Complex.

Matt Korba, whom I have never met, but already like because he was part of the USC team that created The Misadventures of PB Winterbottom, said;

“When a team believes in, and is passionate about a project, their enthusiasm manifests in the quality of the game.”

You can read Matt’s excellent post-mortem that contained that quote here

We took this statement to heart and have used it as a core mission statement for our team.  The quote starts any presentation we give to executives, to remind everyone about the importance of team passion when creating something from nothing.

We’ll talk a bit more about our team culture over the course of this blog.   In the meantime, please ping our Community Manager with any requests for interesting things you would like us to talk about.  This blog is highly experimental for LucasArts so ideas are welcome and we will try and be as responsive as we can!

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. Randy permalink
    September 11, 2009 6:47 pm

    The link to The Misadventures of PB Winterbottom is bad.

    Glad to see more original IP from LucasArts! Also glad to see the development for “smaller” games – not everything has to be an ambitious AAA title. :D

    • David permalink
      September 17, 2009 4:51 pm

      Hey Randy,
      I fixed the PB Winterbottom link now thanks for the heads up!

  2. September 12, 2009 2:02 pm

    As a fan of classic, adventurous LucasArts and someone whose current interests in gaming lie primarily in the indie scene I can only say: “Sounds brilliant”.

  3. Telixion permalink
    September 12, 2009 11:06 pm

    Lucidity looks really great. I really love the idea of gameplay of which you alter the world around the main character. It is a much better way to build a character in this fashion.

    Can’t wait to play this. As far as some questions for you guys. ummm.

    How long has this game been in production?
    How did the gameplay and story come of this game originate?
    What does the pricing look likes its going to be?

    • David permalink
      September 17, 2009 4:54 pm

      Hey Telixion,
      Thanks for your questions!

      The game has been in production since the start of the year, but we had a working prototype to build off already, so it gave us a big start.

      In the Lab, we aim to have a solid gameplay prototype, something that can be fun to play, before we start bringing full art and other resources to bear.

      Initially this was just a simple grey box prototype. The story and art direction came later.

      Initially we had this idea that the main character was sleep walking but we decided the character would be unsympathetic and might be kind of annoying if she wasn’t emotionally reacting to what was on screen.

      Pricing I don’t think has been announced yet but should be soon.

  4. September 13, 2009 6:05 pm

    Hi,

    I have a question:
    Why LucasArts explores the field of independent games?
    Do you have something to gain in this small market? :)

    Otherwise it is a very pretty game!

    • David permalink
      September 17, 2009 4:55 pm

      Hey MagicFred,

      I think the indie space is the perfect place for a company like LucasArts to play in. The market is able to support a lot more creative risks than in recent years, now that there are so many different ways to get your content out there.

      Back in the day, games were made by small passionate teams that took creative risks and today we are seeing a return to that. LucasArts made its name back in those early days when the guys like Ron and Tim were given a lot of creative freedom.

      This is part of LucasArts getting ‘back to its roots’ which you also see in the return to old properties and working once again with old school LucasArts people such as Telltale.

  5. Telixion permalink
    September 13, 2009 7:30 pm

    Hopefully this game will carry some awards. Can you guys release information on that?

    • David permalink
      September 17, 2009 4:55 pm

      Telixion,
      If by awards you mean MS achievements then yes they are supported.

  6. September 14, 2009 6:54 am

    I’m glad LucasArts are looking into new fields and areas of game design. It has been a while.

    In addition, would you mind commenting on how things in the “labs” are different from other development environments in LA?

    Thanks.

    • David permalink
      September 17, 2009 4:56 pm

      Hey Zipdrive,

      Every team has its own unique culture. Team 3 has been around for a while so we are all really close, plus we are small so we work very closely with each other every day, we don’t have multiple layers of management like bigger teams it’s a pretty flat hierarchy.

      LucasArts gave our team a lot of creative freedom on Lucidity, particularly with the visual style and premise.

      As the team lead, I believe that team culture is really important and we taking cues from working practices at companies like Pixar and IDEO.

  7. September 15, 2009 11:41 pm

    New IP is nice.. but I’m not sure if it’s something I want from Lucasarts.

    So many different IPs out there.. so many already under your belt.. I’d like to see you guys explore more unused IPs rather than new ones. But cool enough anyway.

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