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.”
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.