As Twitter and Facebook launched, Lucasfilm was decidedly behind the times. With executives fighting the future, the online group was on their back foot in every fight. No social media, nocloud use allowed, and brochure-ware websites were the limit. I forced them to join the 21st century.
This is how I did it.
The logo nobody knows. Before Lucasfilm was purchased by Disney, back when everything Star Wars did online (yes, everything) was hosted in the basement of Industrial Light and Magic, back when Twitter and Facebook were nonsense words, Lucas Online blazed trails in multimedia hosting, fan clubs, and flash based gaming. It was during this period I was hired to write diagetic and marketing content for Star Wars dot com.
And the next four years would be transformative.
Notable Moments in Star Wars Online
Force Unleashed Launches
Oct 22, 2008
First Lucasfilm Tweet via @LucasArtsGames
When I saw what Twitter and Facebook could become, I did what I thought was my duty as a Lucasfilm employee. Star Wars, Lucasfilm, and Lucasarts all needed to be secured on these platforms before someone else grabbed them. It became more urgent when I saw LucasArts was already gone! In a frenzy of registrations, Lucasfilm joined social media.
Sadly when Disney shuttered LucasArts the Twitter account went with it.
Dec 12, 2008
First Tweet from Star Wars
After we registered, pow-wows were had. We didn’t really know what to do! Bonnie Burton had been the voice of the community for years, so she typed up the first Tweet, hit send, and the rest is history.
Well, first, it was a huge problem. Lucasfilm did not want to touch social media, and the lawyers and business heads were incredibly upset and this tweet was their notice that Star Wars was entering web 2.0.
Feb 4, 2009
First Livestream on Justin.TV
The biggest feature of the upcoming Monkey Island reboot was the chance to swap between the old and new graphics. The feature was glorious to see, but there was no YouTube, and we wanted a new way to debuiit this live – so fans couldn’t complain that it was edited as well as yell at us to see different things in both old a new.
Simultaneously Justin.tv was starting to really get new streams, so I contacted them and we set up a gaming premiere stream from a PC on the ground in an office at LucasArts. I took requests live on Twitter as we clicked around and streamed to 42,000 fans.
I’m unable to find any gaming streams of size before this. Justin.tv would become Twitch three years later.
March 11, 2009
Lucasfilm Approves Social Media
No sexy images here. After 6 months of working with the heads of Lucasfilm legal, I developed a social media policy to cover all the interactions online for the company. It was rolled out in the most exciting of ways – with me leading seminars on how to use Twitter to talk about work.
But Social Media has worked out for the company, so I got that going for me.
Monkey Island Reboot Launches
The first of what would be many reboots of the games I grew up with, Monkey Island also offered myself and a small team the chance to show that Lucasfilm was more than just Star Wars. With a massive and voracious fan community, these titles were the first chance to show that digital gaming was actually something worth the effort. The launch on Steam and digital console was successful, and the 890k visitors to my Monkey Island widget. Remember those?
July 15, 2009
The First Star Wars Digital Good
It may not look like much but this idea was simple. Digital goods are going to sell big, so lets try something. One green lightsaber and a million sales later, the idea was sold in to management, hard!
October 12, 2009
Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge Special Edition
Monkey Island hit once again, and this time I wrote and directed a trailer, built the website, and ran community events.
July 19, 2010
The follow-up to the fastest selling Star Wars game of all time needed to sell well too. A development death march, the team put their hearts and souls and lives into it, and the marketing team needed to find a good way to sell it.
Excitedly, we created a handful of Viral pieces as we introduced characters, locations and more over weeks through small fading images that were exceptional art.
Octo 26, 2010
Lego Star Wars III: Online Launches
As the third LEGO Star Wars game approached, LucasArts needed to make a huge splash. With my previous wins, I had earned enough credibility to get the freedom to make what I wanted, and with ‘AdverGaming’ becoming the rage and internet gaming getting more sophisticated, I turned to a developer to help me build my best yet – an MMO in a webpage.
This would be multiple firsts for the Lucasfilm Companies:
First Cloud App
First Childs MMO
It would go on to win multiple awards, including Webby for Online Game of the Year. The Lucas Companies would use this as the moment to finally pursue Cloud Development.