Well, this sucks. A move that’s been speculated about since the Disney/Lucasfilm merger last year has become a reality today, with word coming that Disney is shuttering the venerable LucasArts game company. According to Kotaku’s sources, around 150 employees were laid off this morning, and both of the company’s in-the-works projects — Star Wars 1313 and Star Wars: Final Assault — have been canceled. It’s part of an overall restructuring of all things Star Wars as Disney gears up for the new trilogy and the inevitable associated media avalanche.
That’s particularly disappointing in the case of 1313, a very promising-looking third-person shooter that was described as “Uncharted meets Star Wars,” and which would have cast players in the role of a bounty hunter blasting his way across the seedy underbelly of the city-planet Coruscant. Kotaku notes that there is a slim chance that either or both of the games could be outsourced and completed by other publishers, but Kotaku’s sources say that’s extremely unlikely. Balls.
Disney will still use the LucasArts name for licensing, and it sounds like any future Star Wars video games will be developed by third parties. It’s not necessarily a bad plan, it’s just a shame that it means an end to a developer whose name has been attached to tons of amazing games over the years, from classic adventure games like the Monkey Island series to many top-notch Star Wars games including Knights of the Old Republic (collaborating with BioWare). Hopefully Disney will license the Star Wars name out to other talented developers as the franchise becomes even more in the public eye than it has for years.
LucasArts’ parent company, LucasFilm, said the following in an official statement:
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.
Check out the trailer for Star Wars 1313 below and join us in mourning what could have been.