Disney has laid off the staff of LucasArts and possibly cancelled all current projects.
Here is what was said in the statement released today:
“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.”
Disney acquired Lucasfilm, Ltd in for $4.05 billion in October 2012. The acquisition included Lucasfilm Animation and the long-running video game development studio, LucasArts, which has worked on classic titles like The Secret of Monkey Island, Grim Fandango and a slew of Star Wars games. More recently, LucasArts caused a stir at E3 2012 with an impressive looking demo for a new Star Wars project entitled Star Wars 1313. However, in the months that followed, the project seemed to lose steam, and rumors circulated that the game had ceased production.
So what is really happening with Star Wars 1313?
No one really can be sure but as of now it looks like it is definitely not completely shut down.
Earlier today GameInformer spoke to a LucasFilm representative to talk about the recent shut down and the future of current projects. This is what the rep had to say:
“All of these things happened at once. Naturally, as any company that goes through a big announcement like this, you have to look through your whole portfolio and realign some things. 1313 was looking fantastic, the reception has been great. Our other unannounced titles are fine, 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.”
It was reported that some 150 LucasArts employees have been laid off, and that the games Star Wars: First Assault and Star Wars 1313 have been cancelled. However, the representative that was spoken to said that the company is also evaluating its options regarding projects currently in development, which could be licensed out to external development and publishing partners:
“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.”
Keep your eye on this post as we will update it as new information arises.