LucasArts, the game publisher and developer subsidiary of LucasFilm, was shut down today by its new overlords at Disney. The brand will remain as the company will look to licensing its crop of franchises out to other developers, but the development staff has been let go. Projects currently being worked on at the studio, like Star Wars 1313, have also been canceled.
Game Informer received the following statement regarding the closure of the development studio:
"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."
Unfortunately, the news doesn't come as too surprising as some thought Disney would at least downsize the studio when the company bought LucasFilm last year. At the time, Disney said it would be moving more towards a licensing model, and today's news confirms that reality.
As for the games LucasArts was working on, Polygon reports that Star Wars 1313 is no longer being worked on at the studio. The game could be licensed to an outside developer for completion, but an inside source speaking to Kotaku says that's unlikely.
Even if Star Wars 1313 never sees the light of day, it's not the end of Star Wars video games. Disney will undoubtedly have game tie-ins available alongside the release of the next film that's due in 2015. Under a licensing model, we're also likely to see more original projects that expand the universe, much like Knights of the Old Republic and Republic Commando did under LucasArts.
Aside from Star Wars games, gamers are also rightly concerned about LucasArts' stable of adventure games, like Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion. The developer dabbled in its roots a few years ago with remakes of the first two Monkey Island games, but nothing has been done with its other properties. Some are hoping that Disney will license out these properties to other developers for new entries.
As we say our goodbyes and wish all the talented people at LucasArts the best; let's look back on what made LucasArts so unique - it's awesome logo: