Lucas addresses interactive age

In discussing the proliferation of platforms in the CD-ROM multimedia interactive game industry, George Lucas said that his company — LucasArts Entertainment — is focusing in the short term on the already well-established PC market, but added that “ultimately the home-delivered information will be the big player.”

Lucas made his remarks Tuesday morning at the opening session of Intermedia ‘ 94, the multimedia and CD-ROM conference and exposition that runs through Thursday in San Jose. He appeared with other executives of the Lucas empire, including Randy Komisar, president and CEO of LucasArts, Jim Morris, VP and general manager of Industrial Light & Magic, and Katherine Morris, VP and general manager of Skywalker Sound.

Lucas excited

“It’s a volatile and exciting time to be involved in what could be the equivalent of the industrial revolution,” Lucas added. “Alliances are forming and breaking apart and people are scurrying to back the winners. We’re developing our talent pool, managing our talent pool and cutting costs to create the best possible types of entertainment.”

The director of “Star Wars” also discussed his company’s approach to cutting costs in the production of movies.

“The cost issue is a major factor to delivering quality material,” Lucas said. “We’ve focused on bringing down costs. That means changing the work force. We want to cut costs to create properties that are quality.”

While part of the morning session was devoted to a demonstration of the Lucas magic used in a number of films, including “Jurassic Park” and “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” Komisar delivered remarks aimed at separating the burgeoning world of games from Hollywood movies.

Saying that “it was premature to compare interactive multimedia games and movies and that neither will replace the other,” Komisar told listeners that the more important message is that “the two areas will continue to co-exist.”

Komisar said that because people actually play games and only watch movies, the obvious difference between the two arenas is interactivity. The other big difference, according to him, is the quality of the delivery systems.

Video goes interactive

“Ironically, what’s exciting in Hollywood is computer-generated characters, but in games, people are impressed with video,” Komisar said. “The big question is how to put video into the interactive medium.”

With that in mind, Komisar rolled footage of the company’s “Rebel Assualt” CD-ROM game, which has sold 400,000 copies. Komisar noted that while the game uses film clips from “Star Wars,” it also uses original footage developed for the game.

“The industry is going to have to figure out a way to make video movies usable in games,” Komisar said, who noted that game companies will have to find a way to make the process affordable.

In other Intermedia news, Times Mirror announced that it had reached an agreement to acquire Allen Communication Inc., a leading multimedia development company. Allen Communications is known for its authoring software, Quest, a DOS program that will be introduced in a new Windows-based version this spring.

Sony also introduced the first MD DATA drive, a rewritable storage device based on Sony’s MiniDisc personal audio technology. The data drive provides 140 MB of storage on a magneto optical disc.

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