Disney acquired LucasFilm and LucasArts back in October 2012 and has now decided to close down the ailing game publisher (LucasArts).
Game Informer has received official statement from Disney:
“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.”
The immediate question raised is on what will happen to in-development Star Wars: First Assault and the impressive Star Wars 1313 which was first shown at E3 2012 – the only compelling gaming prospects to come from LucasArts for quite some time.
Speaking to Game Informer during an interview, an unnamed representative of LucasFilm clarified that the closure of LucasArts was not done in haste and had been evaluated since October 2012. There is also hope for gaming titles in development.
“All of these things happened at once. Naturally, as any company that goes through a big announcement like this, you have to look through your whole portfolio and realign some things. 1313 was looking fantastic, the reception has been great. Our other unannounced titles are fine, it just got to a point where from a business standpoint we couldn’t continue developing those internally and keep up with the direction that the company was going.”
“It is worth noting that we are looking for proven external partners who can help us provide video games to our fans. We still believe in the video game industry, we still will provide Star Wars games, we’re just looking at different models rather than internal production… They’re evaluating everything. There’s always a possibility that it [Star Wars 1313] can still come out via licensing.”
“It’s super sad. It’s a terrible day. I want to make sure everyone realizes that there still will be Star Wars games out there.”
A report over on Kotaku acknowleges these public statements from LucasFilm but tempers them with a report from a “reliable Kotaku source” who says there is little hope for either Star Wars 1313 or Star Wars: First Assault.
“With the teams now basically being dispersed I think both games are effectively dead forever,” said Kotaku’s source.
Another Kotaku source backed this up by saying that the chances of Lucas licensing out 1313 are very slim – effectively zero.
Game Informer paints a picture of a publisher struggling with management since 2004, beginning with large-scale restructuring and lay-offs and four different leadership teams changing places up to the 2012 acquisition by Disney.
Kotaku reports that 150 employees have been laid off at LucasArts.