LucasArts Entertainment is refocusing its production strategy. In the next year, the developers will seek a balance between licensed products, like the Indiana Jones and Star Wars titles, and original developments, such as the Monkey Island franchise.
"While Star Wars continues to be very important to our company, we're planning on becoming a more balanced company," said a LucasArts spokesperson. Balance means increasing the development of original titles, moving toward a ratio of approximately one original title per licensed title, a goal it hopes to reach within a couple of years.
Although LucasArts, a privately held company, will not release sales figures, a spokesperson expressed confidence in the history and future of LucasArt's original titles. "The response to the Monkey Island series has been phenomenal," he said. "[And] Grim Fandango met domestic expectations and exceeded them worldwide."
Despite the slipping market for adventure titles in the US, the market remains strong worldwide. Even so, LucasArts remains confident in the viability of its original adventure titles even within the states, and expects to grow a number of new brands. The new titles are still very early in their development cycle, but some new titles should be presentable by E3 2001.
Will a Grim Fandango sequel be one of those titles? Currently there is no sequel to the critically acclaimed adventure game in the works. "There are still some great stories to be told," the spokesperson said about the universe. "While there are no specific plans at this point to develop a sequel to Grim Fandango, the ideas behind the story present a lot of possibilities for the future."
LucasArts will maintain its multi-console format. In the next year it plans to release two titles for the PC, two for N64, two for Dreamcast and one each for PlayStation and PS2. LucasArts has been happy with the ease of conversion of PC titles to the Dreamcast. The LucasArts spokesperson admitted it was too early to speak definitively about the ease of development on the PS2, however, he did say, "Nothing has come up so far that surprised us."
LucasArts currently has no plans for development on the Xbox or Dolphin, but it sees both as viable systems and will be looking for future opportunities as the consoles come closer to completion. Discussion with Microsoft is underway.