Wednesday, April 3, 2013

LucasArts closing its doors

Disney announced today the closing of recently acquired LucasArts, publisher of games such as the Monkey Island series, Grim Fandango, and all Star Wars video games.

In a statement to Game Informer, Disney said, “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.”

The shift from internal development to licensing means more studios will have opportunities to work on previously LucasArts owned titles, most notably Star Wars games. The most recent LucasArts-developed game was Star Wars: The Force Unleashed in 2008, and the last published game was last year’s Kinect Star Wars, developed by Terminal Reality.

Star Wars 1313, unveiled at E3 2012, along with the recently uncovered downloadable shooter, Star Wars: First Assault, are still up in the air whether they will see release. A Disney representative did note, “There's always a possibility that it [Star Wars 1313] can still come out via licensing,” but with the recent cancelling of The Clone Wars TV series, it seems Disney and Lucasfilm are focusing all their efforts on post-Return of the Jedi content.

When Disney acquired LucasArts back in October as part of the $4.05 billion deal for Lucasfilm, Disney CEO Bob Iger noted, “We're likely to focus more on social and mobile than we are on console. We'll look opportunistically at console, most likely in licensing rather than publishing, but we think that given the nature of these characters and how well known they are, and the storytelling, that they lend themselves quite nicely, as they've already demonstrated on other platforms.”

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