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LucasArts Internal Memo


bandersnatch
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From: Erin Haver On Behalf Of Jim Ward

Sent: Monday, July 12, 2004

To:

Subject:

Folks,

As you know, we have just completed the annual appraisal process along with the allocation of merit increases. Along the way, members of the senior staff, in a responsible and commendable act, recommended to me, given the financial situation of the company, that there be no bonuses distributed this year. I'm writing to let you know that, regrettably, I agree with their recommendation and have made the decision that there will be no bonuses distributed this year for the entire company. I know this is disappointing news, but it's what we need to do.

In the eight or so weeks since I've been here, I've met and talked with many of you. And I'm going to get to all of you, believe me. But you need to know that I'm encouraged, amazed and inspired by the continued commitment and desire of everyone in this company to make LucasArts a better place. A place where we will make insanely great games that are the right insanely great games for the marketplace. Insanely great games that will sell to a broad consumer audience launch when they're supposed to and, at the end of the day, yield a profit for the entire company. Insanely great games that will restore the luster to the LucasArts logo so that when we, and our consumers, see it on our packaging and on our games, we'll all know that the Gold Guy is once again the mark of leading edge innovation, creativity and amazing fun.

But, unfortunately, we're not there yet. And as I look ahead, I realize we have some very tough challenges in all areas of our business. Our performance, qualitatively, strategically and financially, just isn't there. One of the primary consequences of this lack of performance is that we have to make some tough decisions, like this one, to get back on track.

As many of you know, we have undertaken a critical analysis of our company, our industry, our competitors and our consumers in order to develop a strategic plan that will allow us to make those insanely great games and deliver a level of profitability. I will be coming to you in the Fall time-frame with that plan. In the meantime we have critical milestones to achieve for each and every one of our games that are currently in development. All of us, together, must now take a stand, dig in, focus and commit to doing everything humanly possible to make these games a success. Take a step back and question the norm. Challenge the status quo. Satisfy yourself that we are making the greatest games possible, meeting our deadlines and doing so in the most cost-effective way.

And realize that each and every one of you IS a member of the team. You have a duty and a responsibility to speak up if you're dissatisfied with quality, timing or fiscal responsibility. I encourage you, and demand of you, that you take an active role in pushing our own envelope. I promise, you will be listened to. But once you are heard, do something about it. Make a difference. Effect change. Make Battlefront, Galaxies, KOTOR II, Mercenaries, Republic Commando and the Episode III games the best that they can be.

Again, I know the lack of bonuses this year is disappointing news. It's simply what must be done. But you have my commitment, my desire and my devotion to make LucasArts the most creative, innovative and insanely great interactive entertainment company in the industry. I hope I can count on you to do the same.

Thanks,

Jim Ward

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I think it's the 'I've only been here 8 weeks' line which is probably pissing most people off.

He is talking like he knows everything about the company and how they will work as a team when what's he has done is sack people and shove their bonus up their ass...

You can understand why someone has released it.

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lucasarts sounds like they're running a goddamn factory or a coal mine or something. who would have thought that there are fun people who like star wars a lot and make games at the same address as jim ward?

why does he keep saying "insanely great"? he's an idiotically typical manager-type trying to look hip, trying to sound like a gamer. because a top-notch creative game is something we would describe as "insanely great". maybe it is. but you can tell what he's doing with the phrase. manager wants to play buddy as he whips ya.

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lucasarts sounds like they're running a goddamn factory or a coal mine or something.  who would have thought that there are fun people who like star wars a lot and make games at the same address as jim ward?

why does he keep saying "insanely great"?  he's an idiotically typical manager-type trying to look hip, trying to sound like a gamer.  because a top-notch creative game is something we would describe as "insanely great".  maybe it is.  but you can tell what he's doing with the phrase.  manager wants to play buddy as he whips ya.

He's a buzz-word marketeer thinking out of the paradigm box.

In other words he's a cunt.

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So is it lnow the case that literally every game they produce now is SW-based?

Let me see.

Lucas

Star Wars

Erm, yup!

I think they got rid of all the cool guys who did the fun games like Manic Mansion and of course the legendary Monkey Island.

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pushbook.jpg

"I encourage you, and demand of you, that you take an active role in pushing our own envelope"

Insanely great! Already I'm taking a step back and questioning the norm. I'm challenging the status quo, taking a stand and digging in. I love the way he starts his memo with 'folks'.

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Meh, nothing I haven't seen in other companies I work for. I don't think he needs to be there for longer than 8 weeks to evaluate their business model and then decide costs need to be cut, and bonuses are one of the first things to go when a company is underperforming.

Some of you seem surprised they're acting as a company. We're talking millions here, the time where they did it for pleasure is over, too many jobs are at stake. I'm sure many people there enjoy their work and do it for other reasons other than money but there HAS to be someone taking care of the business side, and that's what this guy is doing.

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I think people misunderstand what a bonus is. Its a bonus. Its extra. Its over and above your salary, and its a reward for performance over and above what's expected, or a reward for some unexpected commercial success.

Bonuses shouldn't be expected, and its a shame so many companies use bonuses as basically an optional chunk of their staff's salaries.

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I think the points worth noting in the memo are the stuff about "broad consumer base" and "analysing the market"... he sees the way forward as falling into line and going for what we would describe as "the mainstream", of course that is no great surprise... but he obviously sees that this isn't the only option available to them. It's the one he has chosen though.

some companies might regard targetting a specific group of gamers (which would still obviously leave a potential consumer base of many millions) as an equally valid business tactic. Perhaps like they used to when the point and click adventure games were their bread and butter.

Ward obviously doesnt think this is the way for Lucasarts to go.

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Jesus. Since when did a bonus become an employee right?

Lucasarts have been consistantly screwing up for a few years now. It's only Bioware who have actually done something praiseworthy for the company for this generation.

It staggers me that a company who have the greatest bloody license in the world, and also some key franchises, can go screw up so many games.

If this makes certain people decide to leave the company then that's possibly a good thing. People who are determined to create good stuff will stay, and hopefully turn a corner for Lucasarts.

Bonus? Fuck that shit. They should have paid us to play Bounty Hunter.

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In the eight or so weeks since I've been here, I've met and talked with many of you. And I'm going to get to all of you, believe me.

That bit made me sick my dinner up the twats.

Do they not edit these fucking things for sick before they send them out?

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That's nothing. I remember at my last company, the MD stood up in a company meeting one month and said "There definately WILL be bonuses at the end of the month!".

When the end of the month came he was "working from home" as the Exec producer got the nice job of going around and telling everyone they weren't getting the promised bonuses (again).

Horay!

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I think it's a an inspiriational letter. Though whether team-members who have are now sans an (expected?) bonus will see it the same way is another matter.

Who cares if they are focusing on the mainstream? If their vauntged new breed of game is 'insanly' great for the average consumer, then it will be 'merely' great for us congiscenti, so I won't be complaining.

Sure, it reeks on a manager trying to be 'down-with-the-peops', but at least he seems to be making an effort. His goal seems to be to raise game quality and efficiancy at the same time, and LucasArts really needs both, so I say good luck to him, and good luck to the company.

(PS bring back a graphic adventures division, if only for adult gamers).

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