Welcome to the last part of our blog post on the co-founders of Rogue Rocket Games' Richard Sun and Nick Bruty. Last week we focused on Nick Bruty's work with Giants: Citizen Kabuto and Earthworm Jim, and how in a way they lead to 1st Wonder. However, this week we are going to focus on Richard Sun and his work on two iconic LucasArts games: Stars Wars: Republic Commando and Escape from Monkey Island.
Escape from Monkey Island (2000)
The Monkey Island series was long and popular with five games in the series, the first of which releasing in 1990 and the last in 2009. The large majority of the series was developed by LucasArts, except for the very last one in 2009 with Telltale Games. They are all adventure games filled with self-deprecating humor, cultural jokes, and quite a few situations that allow the player to break the fourth wall if they push it. The whole series revolved around pirates, monkeys, and fictional islands in the Caribbean.
Escape from Monkey Island (the fourth game in the series) gave you control of an unusual and inquisitive pirate named Guybrush Threepwood, the main protagonist of the series, and it was set on Melee Island. An island that constantly had a trademark sign (TM) next to it as a joke whenever it was mentioned in-game. That's just the type of game it was, the kind that makes fun of things like trademarks, adventure games stereotypes, pointless objectives and so many other aspects that create a very unique and hilarious adventure game, one that people still are asking for a sequel to.
Richard Sun got some experience writing dialog with Escape from Monkey Island, but mainly he worked on gameplay related aspects, like making sure that everything actually worked when you tried to do anything in any given environment. Unlike every other game mentioned on these two blog posts, this one is very unavailable and hard to get a hold of if you want to play it. For whatever reason GOG.com has not yet gotten this game onto their service, but maybe we will see some kind of re-release for it someday.
Star Wars: Republic Commando (2005)
Ever since I started working at Rogue Rocket Games I've wanted to endlessly bother Richard Sun to talk to him about his time developing Star Wars: Republic Commando. It came out for PC and Xbox, and it was a game I loved because of the powerful AI, the focus on teamwork, the story and of course because it was one of the few great Star Wars games. It represented a unique time period in Star Wars, one that was rarely covered by any other games at the time, and it did in a very personal way. It took the singleplayer focus that Call of Duty started, Brother in Arms improved, and then gave it its own twist with you controlling a very specific character who commanded a small squad of intelligent Republic Commandos.
I replayed Republic Commando a few years ago and it still holds up fairly well, and it is sad to see that few games have even attempted to do what they accomplished there. The AI was particularly impressive, because normally you'd just send your three commandos into specified positions using a cover system, but you could also basically tell them to move and react at their own discretion. How they reacted, fought enemies, and seemed alive made the game a great experience for that alone. The story revolved around you leading this squad against separatist forces around the time of the second Clone Wars movie (Attack of the Clones) and against General Grievous among many other iconic enemies of the Republic.
But what about Richard Sun? Well, he mainly worked on the multiplayer portion of Republic Commando and that no longer works thanks to GameSpy being shut down in 2014. The rest of the game is still working and available for PC from a variety of digital distribution services, like Steam and GOG. Now that Disney has taken over Lucas Arts and Star Wars games are coming back in force there may be a chance for a Republic Commando sequel, but for now this excellent squad-based FPS is still worth checking out.
After Richard Sun finished up Republic Commando he moved on over to Planet Moon and where he was very excited to work on great games like Giants: Citizen Kabuto, Armed and Dangerous, MDK and many others that the studio had previously created. He worked at that studio for five years before it was shut down and that led to him and Nick Bruty co-founding Rogue Rocket Games. He still dreams of making something like Planet Moon's classics and with 1st Wonder he is going to get his chance to make it a reality.