LucasArts was founded in May of 1982 as a division of Star Wars creator Lucasfilm, as a means for the film company to expand its range of entertainment products.
While games like Ballblazer and Rescue on Fractalus were some of the company’s first titles, LucasArts became primarily known as a leader in the adventure game market, with games like Maniac Mansion, Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle, the Indiana Jones series, Full Thottle and Grim Fandango, while classic action games like the X-Wing series, Star Wars: Dark Forces and Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II also became widely acclaimed.
Following Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm in October of 2012, LucasArts had a new owner, too, but with promising games such as Star Wars 1313 currently in development, and hints of other titles in production, it was assumed that the game division would be nurtured to continue developing titles to bolster the enormous Star Wars universe.
On April 3rd 2013, Disney shut down LucasArts as a game development studio.
A Disney representative recently confirmed the news in a 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.”
According to reports, at least 150 people have been let go as a result of this focus shift, and while it seems as though LucasArts hasn’t been shuttered completely, its days as a game developer are done.
“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,” the Disney representative continued.
Will We Ever See Star Wars 1313?
And what of the fate of Star Wars 1313, and another project that recently came to the surface, Star Wars: First Assault?
“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.”
It Ends With Kinect
After 31 years in the business of making classic, memorable games across multiple genres, the LucasArts we know and love is now gone.
What were some of your favourite LucasArts games and what do you think of this turn of events? Bound to happen, or could it have been avoided? Do you think the licensing model will help us get more (and better) Star Wars games in the future?