Lucas Learning axes Mac game, exits consumer market

Lucas Learning has announced the cancellation of its one publicly announced title in development. Mac gamers shouldn't be insulted by this move, though, because Windows users are getting the shaft too. In fact, Lucas Learning has decided to exit the consumer market all together.

As recently as last month's E3 Expo in Los Angeles, Lucas Learning and LucasArts were both pushing the pending Mac and Windows release of Star Wars Super Bombad Racing, a kart-style racing game that's already been released for the PlayStation 2. Now those plans are kaput. Lucas Learning today announced that it would cease production of those two conversions to focus specifically on direct-to-school educational products.

Star Wars Super Bombad Racing was first unveiled at last year's E3 Expo, and was to be the first crossover title to be developed by Lucas Learning and published by LucasArts. LucasArts and Lucas Learning may be cutting their losses -- the game was released in April of this year for the PlayStation 2 and has received a rather tepid reception from critics and gamers alike.

Super Bombad Racing put players in a 3D racing environment, controlling spaceships modeled after those seen in Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace. Unlike the earlier Mac release Star Wars: Racer, however, these were piloted by "big head" cartoonesque versions of Star Wars characters like Darth Maul, Anakin Skywalker and Queen Amidala, taking a page from popular games made for Nintendo and Sony game consoles.

Lucas Learning has a library of edutainment and kids' game titles that focus on basic skills like reading, math, perceptual skills, and reasoning, while LucasArts has focused exclusively on more traditional hardcore games for the PC and various consoles.

Despite fairly consistent support of the Macintosh early on, LucasArts has mainly focused on the PC and game consoles, and the company hasn't published a Macintosh game since the release of Star Wars: Racer. LucasArts doesn't plan any new Mac titles, either. Now, with the cancellation of Star Wars Super Bombad Racing, the company's roster is effectively clear of any Macintosh-compatible software.

Lucas Learning, on the other hand, has been a consistent supporter of the Mac platform since its first release, Star Wars Droidworks. With the company's goal to appeal to kids and educators, Macintosh support has always been a cornerstone of the company's product plans.

Although Lucas Learning said that it would continue to market its existing titles, the company won't be coming out with any more consumer titles. The company said that it will "create, produce and market a suite of curriculum-based products targeted directly to schools, grades K-12." Hopefully the company will remain consistent with its support of both Mac OS and Windows platforms.

Lucas Learning GM Jane Boston said that the company is excited about this new beginning.

"Our ability to focus exclusively on the educational market is a wonderful opportunity to bring George Lucas' vision -- to make learning engaging and inspiring -- to life. We are very confident that the quality of our products, our commitment to education and the unique advantage we have being part of the Lucas family will enable us to deliver an innovative and universally appealing product to schools, while meeting the need for outstanding core curriculum."

This story, "Lucas Learning axes Mac game, exits consumer market" was originally published by PCWorld.

  
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