It may not be like having a million voices suddenly cry out in terror, only to be suddenly silenced, but for the few hundred people working at LucasArts, the effect was largely the same. Disney announced today that it had closed LucasArts, and that all production on games from that studio would be halted.
After Disney bought LucasArts, it began to bring the company more in line with the direction that Disney is taking in regards to the games market, which means almost all titles for consoles will be externally developed. Disney recently shut down Junction Point studio following the release of Epic Mickey 2, so the writing was likely on the wall for recently-acquired LucasArts.
‘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,’ said a statement from Lucasfilm. ‘As a result of this change, we’ve had layoffs across the organization.’
LucasArts representatives have unofficially stated that specific titles in development, like Star Wars 1313, which recently made a huge splash at last year’s E3 Expo, might continue to be worked on, just with an external company taking over the reigns. But other gaming news sites like Kotaku have also quoted anonymous sources, saying that LucasArts already shopped around Star Wars 1313 options and found no takers. For now, it looks like Star Wars 1313 may be the great game that will never see the light of day, other than a few demos which had already been released to the public.
LucasArts had stopped being a powerhouse developer in the game industry many years ago, when it used to publish a slew of games like the Sam and Max series, the Indiana Jones games and, going back even further, award winning titles like Monkey Island.
LucasFilm had been trying to revive its game arm’s fortunes for a while with different executives and creative types at the helm. It was widely believed among analysts that the 1313 game may have been the last chance for the studio to find redemption. Sadly for the LucasArts team, it may have been too little, too late for the likes of its new owners.