When Disney purchased LucasFilm for $4 billion, adding it to their list of iconic additions, we figured there would be good things in store for all involved. However, Disney has already made some big decisions, which includes the shutdown of LucasArts.
Disney has stopped internal development at the studio, which should mean the end of Star Wars 1313 and Star Wars: First Assault. This all is happening due to the company wanting to shift to a licensing model instead of having in-house game development. A lot of people are obviously very upset over the termination of the popular studio and possible franchise titles. Disney had this to say about the decision,
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.
On the business side, the move makes a lot of sense, as it both cuts costs and makes money at the same time through its licensing deals. Also, with LucasArts' latest creations of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and Battlefront, we haven't seen much forward movement in the studio and the titles didn't really gain as much popularity as the team initially had hoped for. The good news is that we've been informed by a LucasArts rep that perhaps Star Wars 1313 might not be done for, after all. The rep said,
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.
So maybe they will keep some people onboard for current and upcoming titles, or maybe they will all be spun off into external teams who solely focus on the games and then are terminated; it's all up in the air at this point other than our knowledge of the studio itself no longer housing internal production. Sources are reporting that 150 employees have been let go and that the entire studio has been, obviously, not in the best morale. The rep did take time to also mention, though, that regardless of the shutdown, we should "realize that there still will be Star Wars games out there."
With a myriad of closures happening in development studios across the country, as always, the PLuGHiTz Coporation extends our deepest sympathies and thoughts out to all of those who are now seeking other employment. That said, I'm off to go play Monkey Island. I'll never forget.