Disney Closes LucasArts, Lays Off Staff, Cancels All Games
by Lucas Siegel, Newsarama Editor
Date: 03 April 2013 Time: 02:19 PM ET
Disney has closed down LucasArts, the video game division of Lucasfilm. All employees, approximately 150, were laid off, and both current games in development, Star Wars 1313 and Star Wars: First Assault are cancelled.The news was first reported by video game blog Kotaku citing a reliable source, and Newsarama has obtained independent confirmation of its veracity. The LucasArts name will remain trademarked by Disney and used to license Star Wars and other Lucasfilm properties to outside developers, but the studio itself no longer exists. In a statement, Lucasfilm said that the shift to licensing only is a move meant to "minimize the company's risk while achieving a broader portfolio of quality Star Wars games," seemingly indicating that some video game uses of the property are still planned. "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."
A LucasArts representative, speaking to Game Informer, did give some hope to 1313 and other games in various stages of development at the studio, saying "They're evaluating everything," and assuring fans of Star Wars games that they will "still be out there." Disney also shut down their Junction Point studio in late January after a disappointing launch for Epic Mickey 2. The most recent successful Star Wars game, of course, was a licensed title developed by BioWare, Star Wars: The Old Republic, which too saw struggles with a move to free-to-play coming only months after release. Star Wars 1313 was reportedly using assets from the stuck-in-development-hell live action Star Wars series meant to take place in the "Dark Times" era, between Episodes III and IV of the films. Its cancellation falls in line with the cancellation of the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which takes place in the time period between Episodes II and III. Lucasfilm is reportedly trying to focus their efforts - and consumers - onto the new era of films that begins in 2015 with Star Wars: Episode VII from director J.J. Abrams and writer Michael Arndt. Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!