Disney will be closing LucasArts, part of its recent acquisition of Lucasfilm. 150 employees were sadly laid off this morning. The official statement 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.”
The last game published by LucasArts was Kinect Star Wars, but the company is perhaps most well-known for its beloved adventure games of the 1990s (some of my first and most favorite games ever played), including the Monkey Island series, the Sam and Max series, Full Throttle, Grim Fandango, Maniac Mansion, Day of the Tentacle, and many more. LucasArts, of course, also put out Star Wars and Indiana Jones games – the Indiana Jones adventure series, Jedi Knight/Dark Forces, Knights of the Old Republic, and many more.
As for games in development, Star Wars 1313 was shown at E3 in 2012. A representative from Lucasfilm stated:
“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, who worked on many of the adventure games, wrote a very touching blog post about the closing of the company. He writes, “I still have hope that I might get the rights to Monkey Island back someday. LucasArts shutting down doesn’t change anything since Disney bought them back in Oct. Maybe there will be less of an emotional attachment to it for them. Who knows. Not me.” The silver lining of this shut down is that the licenses for these games might now be made available to companies who want to either bring some series back – or, at least, be able to distribute them. Here’s to hoping.