Rumors that LucasArts were facing problems have been swirling around for months now. The company put in a strong showing last year when they revealed Star Wars 1313 at E3 which got a lot of people, myself, included. However, once Disney announced that they had acquired all things Lucisfilms the studio went quiet, leading many to wonder if it was only going to be a matter of time until Disney announced its closure.
Official word of the studios closure came through yesterday:
“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.”
In all honesty the closure of LucasArts doesn’t come as much of a shock. Despite my love of the studio there track record in recent year has been far from exemplary. Their core business model of producing Star Wars titles has been flailing thanks to mediocre quality and poor sales. Both the Force Unleashed and Battlefront franchises died a sad death, with the cancellation of Battlefront III being a partricuilarly ugly affair. This sadly leaves the awful Kinect Star Wars as LucasArts last published game – hardly a fitting goodbye for a company which has played a major role in the history of games.
Still, things were looking up for LucasArts after they showed off Star Wars 1313. Both gamers in general and the press were hugely excited for the game, and so naturally the question of what will happen to Star Wars 1313 now that LucasArts has closed down is on everyone’s lips. Sites such as Kotaku are reporting that it has been canned, but GameInformer is reporting a little differently after they spoke to a LucasFilms representive who had this to say:
“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.”
Let’s hope that they do indeed find a company to take on Star Wars 1313 as it was deeply promising.
And lets not forget about the people that have lost their jobs because of this. Hopefully they all manage to secure positions at other companies.