Disney Shutting Down LucasArts, Future of Game Properties Uncertain
Disney has officially shuttered LucasArts, its recently-purchased (and somewhat struggling) game publishing subsidiary most known for its licensed Star Wars titles and renowned adventure games like The Secret of Monkey Island and Grim Fandango. The studio has also reported substantial, organization-wide layoffs as a result of the shutdown.
This news comes out of Game Informer, who received an email from a Lucas Arts representative that reads:
“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.”
According to a statement released to Polygon from LucasArts, as a part of the company’s switch to a licensing model, internal game development will no longer be an option. Instead, that job will be sourced out to external, third party development teams. This means that (and has been confirmed as such) LucasArts will no longer be handling the development of the hyped Star Wars 1313, and is exploring other options for releasing the game.
However, an updated post on Game Informer indicates that Star Wars 1313 and the much-rumored Star Wars: First Assault may be salvageable, even though a post on Kotaku reports that the games are canned.
“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.”
Ron Gilbert, creator of The Secret of Monkey Island series and ninth employee of LucasArts’ game division back in the day, reached out on Twitter to clarify that the Monkey Island IP is still with Disney, and “doesn’t change” its status.
LucasArts shutting down doesn’t change the status of the Monkey Island IP. Disney bought all that months ago.
— Ron Gilbert (@grumpygamer) April 3, 2013
Aside from the awful, always, always awful layoffs, the worst part of it is…Kinect Star Wars is the last game LucasArts will have published.