LucasArts Shut Down by Disney - Star Wars Games Up in the Air
Some very sad news in the world of video games, as Disney has shut down LucasArts and leaves the status of its current projets firmly up in the air. That means Star Wars 1313 could be canceled, however it sounds like Disney may try to find an external developer for it in order to complete it. Other projects could see the same fate, including a reported downloadable shooter called Star Wars: First Assault in the same vein as Battlefront or Republic Commando. As for why LucasArts was shut down, here's Disney's official stance:
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. 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.
Reports are coming in that 150 employees in total are now without jobs, so hopefully it isn't long before they find a new home. LucasArts hasn't been in the most stable hands over the past decade or so, with restructuring in 2004 and a revolving door of company president's since 2008. New members would join to try and bring new life to the studio, but even those didn't last long, like Clint Hocking. Some of the big projects, like the aforementioned Battlefront series and Republic Commando, plus The Force Unleashed, Rogue Squadron, and Jedi Knight series, seemed to drop out of the company's focus over the years, which didn't make much sense to the fans. The Old Republic tried to follow in the footsteps of Knights of the Old Republic albeit in MMORPG form, and it lasted barely a year before switching to a free-to-play model.
Many fond memories of LucasArts exist beyond just the Star Wars games. Some of the best adventure games were produced by the company, like The Secret of Monkey Island, Grim Fandango, and Day of the Tentacle, which are still high on the list of many gamers. The Indiana Jones series never really took off in video game form, but it did inspire the likes of Tomb Raider and Uncharted. The licensed LEGO games based on Star Wars and Indiana Jones helped give a whole new take on the classic films, even if Traveller's Tales handled everything.
No matter what had happened to LucasArts of late or what finally became of it, it's hard to say goodbye to a company who had a hand in the gaming memories of so many people. Our deepest sympathies to all those laid off from LucasArts today.