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LucasArts closed, Star Wars 1313 and First Assault in limbo

Wednesday, 3rd April 2013 18:29 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Disney is closing LucasArts development studio, laying off a reported 150 staffers and according to a representative for the firm, development on Star Wars 1313 along with Star Wars: First Assault is in limbo.

A representative confirmed the news to Game Informer with the following 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.”

While the Game Informer article doesn’t list the number of people affected by the closure, Kotaku is reporting that 150 people have been laid off and Star Wars 1313 along with Star Wars: First Assault have been cancelled.

If the statement given to Game Informer is any indication, it looks as though other development studios will now be able to license the Star Wars IP helping to achieve the “broader portfolio of quality Star Wars games.”

This could pave the way for licenses for studios such as Obsidian, which earlier this year said it had pitched an idea to Disney on the matter.

This also means, that both First Assault and Star Wars 1313 could potentially be picked up by other studios, although nothing official has been said on the matter.

Regarding this subject, a LucasArts representative told Game Informer that “1313 was looking fantastic, the reception has been great,” as were the other unannounced titles the fiorm was working on.

“It just got to a point where from a business standpoint we couldn’t continue developing those internally and keep up with the direction that the company was going,” said the rep.

The representative also indicated that Disney is considering its options regarding currently in development projects. As we surmised above, these could be licensed out to external studios.

“It is worth noting that we are looking for proven external partners who can help us provide video games to our fans,” the reps continued. “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.”

Back in October 2012, Disney acquired Lucasfilm – and Lucaarts – for the reported sum of  $4.05 billion, according to multiple sources.

A representative for Disney, which had been moving away from games development, said that “for the time being,” the deal wouldn’t affect Star Wars: 1313 development, and that development on all projects was “business as usual.”

The first LucasArts game to be released was Ballblazer in in 1984 for Amstrad CPC, Apple II, Atari 8-bit, Atari 5200, Atari 7800, Commodore 64, MSX, NES, ZX Spectrum.

Other great titles from the firm included: Armed and Dangerous, Escape from Monkey Island, Grim Fandango, Lego Star Wars, Maniac Mansion, Star Wars: Battlefront, Knights of the Old Republic, and many more.

The last game released by the studio was Kinect Star Wars for Xbox 360.

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62 Comments

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  1. dex3108

    We are so proud that we will layoff 150 people

    #1 1 year ago
  2. Gheritt White

    I bet Activison picks up the license.

    #2 1 year ago
  3. EdNorton

    Star Wars 1313 and First Assault cancelled – http://kotaku.com/disney-shuts-down-lucasarts-468473749

    #3 1 year ago
  4. Stephany Nunneley

    Story is still developing folks. This happened over my lunch so give me a few.

    #4 1 year ago
  5. Edo

    Called it.

    #5 1 year ago
  6. Talkar

    So it has come to this…
    Next this will become Vaders job… http://youtu.be/opplsYSrIHc

    #6 1 year ago
  7. The_Red

    “150 laid off, 1313 and First Assault canceled”

    This is fucking sad. Way to go Disney. First ruin BlackRock and Junction Point studios. Then clone Skylanders and finally kill LucasArts.

    #7 1 year ago
  8. Talkar

    First Atari was the evil of the Gaming world, then Activision, then EA and now Disney has outdone them all.

    #8 1 year ago
  9. OlderGamer

    I still say Acti and EA are the worst. Maybe MS.

    Not because of their products quality or liklyness, but their mad biz skilz. They can sniff an untapped wallet or create a new revenue stream anywhere.

    #9 1 year ago
  10. Sylrissa

    Can’t say I’m surprised to see this happen, but I was really holding out hope things would be different this time around with Disney. sigh.

    #10 1 year ago
  11. YoungZer0

    Fucking Insanity.

    #11 1 year ago
  12. redwood

    the mouse ate it!! the fucking mouse ATE it!!!

    #12 1 year ago
  13. Belmont

    1313 looked really cool and promising. You idiots !

    #13 1 year ago
  14. zinc

    So although Disney owns the Star Wars franchise, all the games will be developed externally?

    Might this be a good thing? Obviously not for the staff affected at LucasArts, but in the sense of more Star Wars games being made…

    #14 1 year ago
  15. Froseidon

    I never really liked Disney in the gaming sector due to hating Kingdom Hearts (I mean, Disney characters do no belong in a game). This just reinforces that hate.

    #15 1 year ago
  16. GrimRita

    This is bad for gaming really. I feel really sorry for those losing their jobs and as for Disney – they never have and never will understand game development.

    #16 1 year ago
  17. Dark

    Fuck Disney!!!

    #17 1 year ago
  18. Erthazus

    But who cares? their last games were trash.

    #18 1 year ago
  19. aleschusta

    It won’t be good for the staff, but for us, it will be great. The games will be done external and they will launch more games, including Republic Commando 2, Battlefront 3 and many others.

    #19 1 year ago
  20. Hellhound30x

    Its kinda funny… first they say, that they’ll license out Star wars for better quality, and not just a couple sentences later, they say they are proud of the talent they had at Lucas arts? WTF?

    Hate to say it, but it was inevitable!

    #20 1 year ago
  21. Phoenixblight

    LucasArts made a really stupid decision by saying only they will make games internally when there is more money(and better games) to be out by licensing. THis decision is what caused them to lose 150 people. Disney is right in this case but 150 jobs is quite a loss.

    #21 1 year ago
  22. grizzlycake

    A giant has fallen. I still long for a new batch of quality adventures they put out during the 90s.

    #22 1 year ago
  23. Stephany Nunneley

    post updated

    #23 1 year ago
  24. YoungZer0

    @14: Well, if you look at it from this perspective then yes, it could mean more Star Wars games and especially good Star Wars games.

    Still a lot of people lost their jobs here.

    #24 1 year ago
  25. NeoSquall

    Holy shit!

    #25 1 year ago
  26. OnionPowder

    Please sell the LucasArts IPs to the developers that created them Disney! DoubleFine should be the rightful owners of Full Throttle and Grim Fandango

    #26 1 year ago
  27. mistermogul

    Sad times, LucasArts made some amazing games…

    #27 1 year ago
  28. MadFlavour

    Obama and Cartman are to blame.

    Should have let the Chinese have the license.

    #28 1 year ago
  29. makan.net

    disney just don’t cancel obsidian’s WIP project.maybe kotor 3

    #29 1 year ago
  30. Chockster

    Because licensing out Disney IPs has resulted in some excellent games, hasn’t it?

    Wait, what?

    #30 1 year ago
  31. Lewis247

    OH MY FUCK WHY DON’T THEY REALISE IF THEY ACTUALLY RELEASE GOOD GAMES PEOPLE WILL PLAY AND BUY THEM AND ACTUALLY PRAISE THEM FOR IT.

    LucasArts for a long, long time have been so fucking incompetent when it comes to releasing games. The license has literally been dragged through the mud.

    We NEED games like 1313 and Jedi Knight and Battlefront. Not Star Wars Kinect or *barfs* the clone wars republic heroes.

    Seriously why did they release shit like that?

    GOOD GAMES FOR FUCK SAKE, MAKE THEM.

    #31 1 year ago
  32. Beta

    Holy crap!

    And 1313 was looking quite promising based on the limited footage released. Especially compared to TFU2. Damn it Disney!

    Hope everyone finds re-employment soon.

    #32 1 year ago
  33. CaptPierce

    So glad they’ll outsource First Assault and 1313 are still intact largely. Those are some great looking games I’m looking forward to. Only think said about this affair is those who lost their jobs really. I hope those 150 or so find new ones soon. :(

    Other than that, I’m glad the studio itself went the way of the dodo. They haven’t released a quality game in years.

    #33 1 year ago
  34. CaptPierce

    @32 It’s still coming out, just been put on hold because of this. :) They’ll probably license it to another developer or what have you business wise.

    #34 1 year ago
  35. Beta

    I hope it does see release :)

    #35 1 year ago
  36. salarta

    WHAT?!

    No, I’m serious. What the actual fuck. Disney seals the deal to the rights of everything tied to Lucasfilm on December 21, 2012. In THREE MONTHS, Disney thinks they know enough about how Lucasarts and the video game industry operate to SHUT DOWN LUCASARTS COMPLETELY?! They think after a measly three months, of which I can absolutely guarantee they did NOT pour all their attention on the video game industry aspect, that they know with absolute certainty that closing a whole studio and laying off 150 people is the way to go?

    What kind of pompous, arrogant assholes does Disney have working for them?! I don’t care what kind of bottom line they think they’re saving, what kind of analysis they’ve done, this decision is asinine.

    I am very, very seriously considering swearing off future Disney games on the merits of this development alone. If they think that making a buck is so damned important that they think they need to put 150 people out of work without giving them a chance to prove their worth and abilities under new management, then Disney doesn’t deserve the money.

    #36 1 year ago
  37. misieque

    We’ll probably get more iOS/Android shit like Star Wars Pinball or Star Wars Chess instead.

    #37 1 year ago
  38. zinc

    @36, I think that considering Disney has no success in videogames & LucasArts success’s are way behind them, closing a studio that would have sucked money into a game that might not sell, made perfect sense.

    Can you really blame the House of the Mouse for cutting its losses & moving forward with what they do best?

    #38 1 year ago
  39. Gnosis

    Seems to me that they weren’t really interested in making games right from the beginning. If I recall correctly their announcement came before the purchase. Well, I hope those 150 ppl will be able to find new jobs quickly or get collected by other studios.

    #39 1 year ago
  40. salarta

    @38: Yes I can, because they didn’t provide the studio a fighting chance to save itself, nor did they consider that perhaps changing the way they do things or having new management could turn things around. Things can change very quickly and meaningfully if people are given a meaningful advance warning of what the consequences might be, AND it gives them a chance to better prepare for if things still turn out for the worse.

    No matter what kind of severance package the employees get, it’s absolutely no substitute for if they had the opportunity to prove their worth or some warning of what may come. No matter what kind of business logic Disney followed as reasons for shutting the studio down, the people that made this decision are assholes. I hope the person or people that decided to put 150 people out of work today get the exact same treatment they just dished out: laid off with no warning and no chance to turn it around.

    #40 1 year ago
  41. zinc

    ^ No. Disney have the good sense to admit their ignorance when it comes to videogames. They’ve tried & failed befor, so why risk millions again on a struggling studio?

    And those “assholes” you mention, are looking out for the interests of a few thousand Disney employees , so that risk was simply to high.

    Its not nice, but it is what it is.

    #41 1 year ago
  42. salarta

    @41: That’s kind of the point. Disney is ignorant about video games. Lucasarts is not. Disney is dictating that because they as a parent company don’t know how to work the video game market, they need to immediately shut down a studio among the companies they own that has at least some knowledge of the video game market. This is what makes them pompous and arrogant. They have decided that since THEY don’t understand something, they need to completely avoid it, and take apart anything they own involved in it.

    This is like a boss that doesn’t understand how to use a computer deciding that since he doesn’t know how to use a computer, computers are worthless to their work and shouldn’t be used. It’s self-absorbed, arrogant and completely inconsiderate to the employees that might actually know a thing or two about how to use computers to improve the company if given a chance to try things untried before.

    I sincerely have trouble believing that Disney is in such a position that letting Lucasarts continue to exist for one more year would have led to thousands of employees losing their jobs. If they were in a situation that dire, they wouldn’t have bought Lucasfilm in the first place; it would have been too much of a financial risk.

    #42 1 year ago
  43. zinc

    ^Disney has spent millions in the past trying & failing at making succesful videogames. They are not going down that path again.

    It would be ignorant of them to do so.

    LucasArts are far from succesful. It would be arrogant to assume their game would break even, let alone be a huge hit.

    Like it or not, Disney made the right call.

    #43 1 year ago
  44. zinc

    Can’t believe i’m defending Disney… That spoonful of sugar must of been spiked! o_O

    #44 1 year ago
  45. matirishhh

    I’d say someone must have cursed Lucasfilm and Lucasarts…that is why we haven’t seen anything decent in Star Wars universe since Battlefront II…and that also must be the reason why George sold it… This is madness! 1313 looked so awesome! I love Disney BUT!! WHAT DA FUCK?

    #45 1 year ago
  46. Dark

    Avalanche Studios founder claims that Star Wars 1313 needed another two years to be completed

    http://www.dsogaming.com/news/avalanche-studios-founder-claims-that-star-wars-1313-needed-another-two-years-to-be-completed/

    #46 1 year ago
  47. MadFingerz

    “…we’ve had layoffs across the organization. We are incredibly appreciative and proud of the talented teams who have been developing our new titles”

    *Scratches head* If that’s being appreciative…Note to self: Never ever ever provoke Disney’s wrath. Ever.

    #47 1 year ago
  48. ActionGameKing

    Disney is about profits, nothing else.

    #48 1 year ago
  49. xino

    it makes no sense to me!
    they bought the Lucasart and now getting rid of them.
    wtf!?

    #49 1 year ago
  50. Gnosis

    @49: They bought the entire studio. Lucas Arts is only one part of it. The one that is responsible for game development. Otherwise it would be just plain stupid of Disney to invest that much money into something they were going to close anyway. They’d rather try to resell it, to get at least some of their expenses back.

    #50 1 year ago
  51. DevilsAdvocate

    So what’s the point? Truly, what do they have to gain from this?

    #51 1 year ago
  52. Lengendaryboss

    @51 No money having to be wasted on them, most likely the reason. Don’t know why Disney bought them, never even published a single game under the Disney banner and to me it didn’t seem like the match made in heaven.

    #52 1 year ago
  53. TD_Monstrous69

    Kinda sad that LucasArts last developed game released was Kinect Star Wars, but even sadder they’ve closed. My heart goes out to the 150 this move impacts, hope they land on their feet. Also, hope a right partner is found to continue Star Wars 1313, it looked like it had potential to be something really good.

    #53 1 year ago
  54. Phoenixblight

    @53

    Uh Lucas Arts didn’t develop that game, they co-published it.

    http://www.lucasarts.com/games/kinectstarwars/

    LucasArts last developed game was Force Unleashed 2.

    #54 1 year ago
  55. silkvg247

    After Epic Mickey 2 and now the trashing of one of the industries best loved developers.. I think Disney are losing the bloody plot.

    #55 1 year ago
  56. Phoenixblight

    @55

    Not really LucasArts hasn’t developed a good game since pre-2000. Disney is completely right in making money off the license.

    #56 1 year ago
  57. Lengendaryboss

    @55 Well Disney aren’t really experienced in the games section and with the amount of money its takes to fund the games projects they had in development, not guaranteed to be successful/profitable games and sadly in the end it was most likely more cost effective to close them.

    #57 1 year ago
  58. silkvg247

    @56 I didn’t say they were the best, heck I didn’t even say they were good, I said they were loved. It’s a known and established brand which gave us some of the finest games seen by man back in the day. It could have been saved. It could have had TLC. But instead they’ll probably outsource games over to india or something. Hooray for corporations and their shitty greed system.

    #58 1 year ago
  59. Phoenixblight

    @58

    THe brand was already dead and those that made LucasArts have left and made their own studios. Hell I know a few of them and communicate with them daily. Hey if you want something kept for nostalgia thats your business but its not helpful to Disney to keep a studio that hasn’t produced anything good in a decade. Surprised they were kept alive this long.

    #59 1 year ago
  60. Digital Bamboo

    If this results in 1313 not being finished I will be CRUSHED…but not as crushed as the 150 people Disney laid off. I hope they are snatched up by other studios, are able to launch their own indie studios, or otherwise get back to work making games ASAP.

    #60 1 year ago
  61. Phoenixblight

    @60

    Disney has already looked into selling the assets and concept to the game and no one is biting and sources from LucasArts are saying the chances of it getting picked up are slim to none so best bet is to think that its shelved.

    #61 1 year ago
  62. manamana

    Mad World.

    #62 1 year ago