GDC 2010
What Are They Hiding at Lucasarts?

Russ Pitts | 16 Mar 2010 23:30
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The demo finished without a hitch. You'll be able to read our official impression of it shortly, and we'll have a video interview with one of the game's producers up in the next few days.

After our hour was up, we were brusquely asked to proceed back the way we came, but not before our badges were confiscated, leaving us to return to the elevator, down to the lobby of the screeching sirens and out onto the grounds and back to the curb badge-less, naked before the probing eyes of Lucas security. It was as close to a humiliating experience as I can imagine enduring as an invited guest. This is not how the creators of joyous entertainment products are supposed to make one feel.

Granted, one experiences this tension in almost any development studio. We are, after all, journalists - professional intruders. We write about things we see, whether the people doing those things want for us to or not. That has to make one uncomfortable or guarded for sure. Lucasarts, however, has notoriously taken this guardedness to a completely new dimension.

Earlier this week, we interviewed Chris Taylor, the creator of the Supreme Commander games. He asked us point blank if we'd been yet to see Lucasarts. When we told him we hadn't, but that we had an appointment, he told us to beware.

"You think you're going into NORAD or something," he said. "You think 'God, you make movies and games. You don't make nuclear missile guidance systems.'"

It's a fair point. Lucasarts makes games. These days mainly games based on an existing franchise, Star Wars. What could they possibly be hiding? What are they so afraid of? Someone discovering the next game may have Jedi? Surely that wouldn't be the end of the world by any measure. One understands the need for secrecy, the requirement to protect one's investments and safeguard ideas in their infancy. But at what point does the need for secrecy impinge upon common sense?

"Nothing is so oppressive as a secret," said the French poet Fontaine. Reading those words now, hundreds of years since they were written, I can't help but wonder if he hadn't been casting into the future, imagining Lucasarts.

Oh, they did ask us to tell you that the Trooper class character uses a gun, not a lightsaber. Tito's write up has more information (but not much more). Look for the game at some point in the future. They wouldn't even tell us how long it had been in development.

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