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Disney shuts down LucasArts development

Disney shuts down LucasArts development

Wed 03 Apr 2013 5:59pm GMT / 1:59pm EDT / 10:59am PDT
DevelopmentJobs

Layoffs across Star Wars studio as focus shifts from making games to licensing brands

Last month, GamesIndustry International reported on the possible closure of Star Wars developer LucasArts. At the time, a representative said it was "one hundred percent not true" that LucasArts was headed for a shutdown, and that "everything is moving ahead."

That denial may have been rooted in semantics, as LucasArts today confirmed that it has brought its development business to a halt and instituted a round of company-wide layoffs.

"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," a representative said. "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 did tell us that a small number of staffers would stay on board to handle the licensing duties, and that some of the other affected developers will be moving to work elsewhere at Disney Interactive. As for in-development projects, the rep would not confirm cancellations, saying only that the company was "evaluating everything."

LucasArts has been licensing out its brands for years, with Star Wars: The Old Republic, Kinect Star Wars, and the Lego Star Wars and Lego Indiana Jones games among the most notable efforts from external developers. Internally, the company's production had slowed down in recent years. It developed both Star Wars: The Force Unleashed games and had been working on the next-gen Star Wars: 1313.

Today's move was foreshadowed in October, when Disney acquired LucasArts parent company LucasFilm. At the time, Disney executives said the plan for LucasArts was to focus more on social and mobile than console games, and to work more through licensing games to others than publishing themselves.

24 Comments

Joe Tay Senior Architect - Infra and Ops, Electronic Arts

10 8 0.8
Popular Comment
Good luck to all the folks in LucasArts. The games from LucasArts has brought much joy to me in my youth. It is sad that LucasArts is being viewed as just creative licensing of Star Wars whereas there was a lot of creative talents in the industry that came from LucasArts beyond Star Wars.

Posted:A year ago

#1

Andrew Clayton QA Weapons Tester, Electronic Arts

150 7 0.0
Good luck to everyone there. It's a tough job market right now.

Posted:A year ago

#2

Jeff Wayne Technical Architect

83 37 0.4
Awful news. Was hoping some day to see the legendary X-Wing Vs Tie Fighter series rekindled. Best of luck to all affected.

Posted:A year ago

#3

Christopher Bowen Editor in Chief, Gaming Bus

459 738 1.6
Awful news, and I hate to admit that it was inevitable. Disney really sold this hand years before, when they started shutting down other developers in favour of mobile; once they bought Lucas out, the writing wasn't just on the wall, it was in bright neon lights. Epic Mickey 2's failure cemented it; it proved to the suits that AAA isn't worth the risk. Now, LucasArts and Junction Point are both dead.

Posted:A year ago

#4

Adam Campbell Associate Producer, Miniclip Ltd

1,198 1,011 0.8
Tragic really.

Posted:A year ago

#5

K. Al-Hurby Producer/Designer

18 1 0.1
Thank you Disney...

Anything else you want to kill from my childhood?

All the best to those affected, I truly am gutted that your studio has closed - some of my most iconic and memorable gaming experiences came from Lucas Arts. So, so sad. :(

Edited 2 times. Last edit by K. Al-Hurby on 3rd April 2013 9:04pm

Posted:A year ago

#6

Tom Keresztes Programmer

691 346 0.5
Those people who worked on those games left LA a decade ago, released Star Trek : Bridge Commander as Totally Games. I feel sorry for the people affected, but this LucasArts had very little to do with any decent Star Wars games.

Posted:A year ago

#7

Tomas Roller Senior Development Manager, 2K Czech

8 19 2.4
LucasArts' line up-until the early 2000s was nothing short of stellar and is largely responsible for my career decision. It's a shame Disney did not try first to dispose management obsessed with the rabid milking of the Star Wars brand in the last dozen years or so. One kept hoping for reinvention of the bold spirit that made Grim Fandango, Monkey Island, Days of the Tentacle, Full Throttle, Maniac Mansion, X-wing and the likes possible. Thank you for the memories and inspiration.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Tomas Roller on 3rd April 2013 9:52pm

Posted:A year ago

#8

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,194 1,170 0.5
Popular Comment
Um... soooo, I guess any upcoming SW games based on those new flicks will be... social and/or mobile only?

Meesa gotsa beeeeeg hedake!

Shoot me now, Han. Shoot me now.

Posted:A year ago

#9

Anthony Chan Analyst, CPPIB

99 96 1.0
I agree with Tom. LucasArts after 2000, designed games that were grand in concept, but the end product never really delivered.

Posted:A year ago

#10

Eric Pallavicini Game Master, Kabam

329 223 0.7
Popular Comment
This is not the news I am looking for.

May the luck be with you to all guys now in the dark side.

Posted:A year ago

#11

Andreia Quinta Creative & People Photographer, Studio52 London

228 631 2.8
This is not the news I am looking for.
May the luck be with you to all guys now in the dark side
And the best comment award goes to!

It's a shame to see these guys go, Monkey Island was one of the best experiences I've had with games. I can't say I had much respect for what Lucas was in the past 10 or so years, but they've contributed a lot to gaming during their golden era, best wishes to the ones affected.

Posted:A year ago

#12

robert troughton UK General Manager, Epic Games

222 96 0.4
Really sad news - but I know that my friends there will all find good homes.

Anyone there who hasn't found a home yet - drop me an email...

Posted:A year ago

#13

Adam Jordan Community Management/Moderation

119 70 0.6
Sad to say but I assumed this would happen as soon as news hit that Disney bought Lucas Arts

These days it seems studios are seen as extra baggage or a free bonus thrown on the side when you buy the premium version of an IP/Franchise. I'm quite surprised the studios auctioned off by THQ are still in one piece but only time will tell I suppose

Best of luck to those affected.

Posted:A year ago

#14

Paul Jace Merchandiser

945 1,433 1.5
Well theres goes my hope for a proper Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic 3.

Posted:A year ago

#15

Stephan Schwabe Multichannelmanagement, Telefonica

74 34 0.5
So sad that so many companys in this business take zero responsibility for ther employee's..

Posted:A year ago

#16

Benjamin Crause Supervisor Central Support, Nintendo of Europe

83 40 0.5
I think this could backfire for the Star Wars IP. On the one hand they might have cancelled this stuff to streamline everything with the upcoming movies (characters, setting, story, canon, etc). However if Disney studios messes up any new game they'll greatly damage the IP. We all know how horrible almost all Movie to Game adaptions turned out. The new games need to have a high level of quality and should be properly split between casuals/family and high entertainment/hardcore games. Knowing Disney games I am of low hope. Movie wise they have done many good things in the recent past

Posted:A year ago

#17

Sandy Lobban Founder and Creative Director, Noise Me Up

315 208 0.7
Good luck to all who lost their jobs. In the short term it sucks, but the medium to long term will be much brighter. Look forward to seeing some of the guys start their own companies from this as well.

Posted:A year ago

#18

Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D

863 707 0.8
Very sad. Here's to all those affected. There WILL be light at the end of that tunnel, however long it takes.

Posted:A year ago

#19

Joseph Harvey Department head, Firelight Technologies

13 2 0.2
"Semantics?" I find it incredible that such a drastic difference between that "100% not true" announcement and this outcome could have originated in a difference of word interpretation. I'd thought that kind of discrepancy would require a lack of communication, or deliberate deception, but I guess neither is particularly likely.

Posted:A year ago

#20

Saehoon Lee Founder & CEO, Pixellore

60 41 0.7
"NOoooooooooooooooooooooo"

Posted:A year ago

#21

Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game

1,254 421 0.3
I didn't understand why Disney bought the game studio, when they have shown every indication of getting out of traditional games. Clearly they wanted full rights on Star Wars and Indy secured, but that could have been handled by licencing the IP for the games already in production, with full rights reverting to Disney afterwards.

It is tragic, but unfortunately not surprising.

What are the chances of them selling Monkey Island to Double Fine for a song? I'm guessing very small.

Posted:A year ago

#22

Dean Hulton Founder & Creative Director, BlueBlaze Studio

3 0 0.0
I hate studio closures, It always sucks to hear that talented people are out of work and I was personal looking forward to 1313.

Our first title is about to go into development at BlueBlaze Studio, a small Indie start up in the UK. If any of you guys that are affected by the closure fancy a complete change of scenery I would be happy to hear from you.

DeanHulton@BlueBlazeStudio.com

Edited 4 times. Last edit by Dean Hulton on 9th April 2013 10:42pm

Posted:A year ago

#23

Gjorevski Saso Graphic Designer

2 0 0.0
I still remember Jedi Academy, Dark Forces and some other cool great games. I think LucasArts had some good success in gaming industry but with time they ignored what made them great in the first place,totally.

Posted:A year ago

#24

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