Disney has shut down the game development studios under LucasArts. According to Kotaku, around 150 people have been laid off and both of LucasArts’ current projects – Star Wars: First Assault and Star Wars 1313 – have been cancelled. While the studio is essentially dead, Disney will still be using the LucasArts name to license its IP to other publishers and developers.
“After evaluating our position in the games market, we’ve decided to shift LucasArts from an internal development to a licensing model, minimizing the company’s risk while achieving a broader portfolio of quality Star Wars games," LucasArts parent company LucasFilm said in a statement. "As a result of this change, we’ve had layoffs across the organization. We are incredibly appreciative and proud of the talented teams who have been developing our new titles.”
While it is sad news considering the history of the studio, it is worth noting that for the last few years, LucasArts has been pumping out nothing but Star Wars games, and it hasn't been that great for the company. The company being shut down comes as no surprise, considering the fact that two of the best Star Wars games have been developed by outside studios, namely Pandemic and BioWare.
Not exactly the best 'last game' for a studio
The company had still managed to make some great games in the 90s, especially with its Star Wars license and adventure games at the time. LucasArts is responsible for games like Dark Forces, X-wing and Rebel Assault. On the adventure game side, LucasArts dominated the market with its Monkey Island series along with Sam & Max and Full Throttle.
It went downhill for the company in the 2000s, with the biggest success being Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. Despite its success, the sequel couldn't live up to the raised expectations, and the last game published by the studio was last year's Star Wars Kinect – a game that is panned by almost everybody.
Whether Disney will be looking to some other developers for Star Wars-related games now or if it will just hold on to the IP is yet to be seen. It will also be interesting to see what the company does with LucasArts’ older IP, such as Grim Fandango and Day of the Tentacle.
Disney bought LucasArts late last year, thus acquiring the studio along with all of its IP, including the biggest one - Star Wars. Judging by how the studio managed Marvel, it was speculated last year that Disney wouldn't tamper with the studio and the Star Wars franchise.
"They've been pretty clearly hands-off in terms of letting the creative minds of those companies do what they do best," said Todd Juenger, an analyst with Bernstein Research. "Universally, people think they pulled it off."
Published Date: Apr 04, 2013 09:37 am | Updated Date: Apr 04, 2013 09:37 am