I will always remember the good times, LucasArts. The fear many people had when Disney acquired the Lucas brand last year has become a reality, with news that the mega-conglomerate has shut down the game studio division of 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,” Disney told Game Informer 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.”
This decision may not come as a huge shock, but it does sting. LucasArts was a pioneer in the game space and had a long history of developing quality titles. It has been reported that 150 people have been laid off.
Although the studio has been unable to make huge waves as of late, this round of layoffs will be the end of a creative force that produced quality titles like The Curse of Monkey Island, SW: Battlefront, Day of the Tentacle, Sam & Max, The Force Unleashed, Grim Fandango, Maniac Mansion and The Old Republic (among many others).
Even with the layoffs, the Star Wars machine will continue to chug along at as fast a pace as Disney can achieve, but the chance for any kind of growth in original IP’s will simply cease to exist. The fate of Star Wars 1313 has not been confirmed as of yet, but it is likely that we will not be seeing this title released.
The term “licensing model” will be ringing in my ears for the rest of the day as I think how profit-driven Disney is.
Of course, you cannot blame a corporation for looking towards their bottom-line, but we have seen a similar thing occur with Activision and EA as they focused too much of their efforts on bringing licensed (and annualized) games to the forefront…In doing so, they destroyed the creativity and originality of their portfolio by focusing on subjects they feel have the broadest appeal. This is a recipe for disaster when it comes to the discerning and independent game community.
Disney is nothing if not business-savvy, so hopefully they can salvage this tough decision by focusing their efforts on creating high-quality (externally developed) Star Wars titles. But we will not know until we receive an actual confirmation on their future direction. So until then, I will curse Disney under my breath (and over it occasionally) and hope that they know what they’re doing.
It was a good run LucasArts. Well played…