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PC Gaming Alliance President Trashes LucasArts

| 20 Oct 2008 15:29
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PC Gaming Alliance President Randy Stude has some very harsh words for LucasArts over the decision not to develop Star Wars: The Force Unleashed for the PC, saying the studio "hasn't made a good PC game in a long time."

The Force Unleashed was developed for virtually every platform under the sun, including the Xbox 360, PlayStation 2 and 3, the Wii, PSP, Nintendo DS, N-Gage, iPhone, other mobile phones and even the iPod Touch, but a version for the PC was never produced. According to Cameron Suey, producer of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 editions of the game, that decision was made because of the wide range of PCs on the market, many of which are not powerful enough to run the game properly.

"Someone with a $4,000 high-end system would definitely be able to play the Euphoria, the DMM and really technical elements of the game. But someone with a low-end PC would have a watered down experience, they would have to turn all the settings down and it wouldn't be the same game," he said in a May interview with VideoGamer.com. "On the other hand if we made that game for as many people as possible, because we are trying to make mass market games, something that everybody can enjoy, well then it's not taking advantage of what those $4,000 systems can do. So one way or the other depending on how you build that lead PC SKU, it's not going to be for the same amount of people, it's going to be not as good or only for a select few people."

The decision brought a storm of PC owner rage down upon LucasArts and Suey, who nonetheless affirmed his position in September when he said, "The truth of it is, the way this game is designed, based around these physics, that are simulation based and very procedural, it would take a very powerful PC to pull them off. This is definitely stretching the Xbox and the PS3 really to the farthest they can go."

But Randy Stude, president of the PC Gaming Alliance and also director of Intel's Gaming Program Office, is having none of it. In a recent VideoGamer.com interview of his own, Stude commented on the LucasArts decision, and he was swinging for the fences. "That's not an educated answer. In the last several years there have been at least 100 million PCs sold that have the capabilities or better of an Xbox 360. It's ridiculous to say that there's not enough audience for that game potentially and that it falls into this enthusiast extreme category when ported over to the PC. That's an uneducated response," he said.

Harsh words, but for Stude, that was just the warm-up. "LucasArts hasn't made a good PC game in a long time," he continued. "That's my opinion. They make some pretty good games for the Wii, you know those little sticks you wave in the air, that seems like a natural fit for a lightsaber game, sure. But I think the last good PC game they made was probably Jedi Knight 2, and even their strategy games weren't that great. So I can understand why they would make that call."

Stude was really off to the races now. "They're not really creating product within LucasArts themselves," he claimed. "They're going at it job shopping their IP. That may be a little controversial for me to say, but that's what I see. There's no development team necessarily within LucasArts any more, they've basically turned into an intellectual property machine and supporting the PC, why should they? It really doesn't fit their property."

When you're on a roll, sometimes you just have to run with it, but it's still unusual to see this kind of heavy-handed criticism being thrown around so openly. On the other hand, it's Stude's job to keep the spotlight firmly fixed on the PC, and in that regard I think we can say, "Mission accomplished." Whether his diatribe lights a fire under other developers considering a move away from PC gaming is another matter entirely.

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