LucasArts, the video game developer known for its Star Wars titles but also famous for old-school classics like The Secret of Monkey Island, has been shut down. Any projects currently in development, including Star Wars 1313 and Star Wars: First Assault, have been canceled. According to Disney:
“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.”
LucasArts has had a somewhat troubled history in the past, but the studio was still responsible for many great games. News of the studio’s closing is disappointing to many fans, who were excited for 1313 and hoped to someday see sequels to hits like Republic Commando, Battlefront, and The Force Unleashed. But while this is unfortunate news, it isn’t very surprising. Many game development studios have been shut down over the past year or two, and Square Enix experienced layoffs today as well.
There is, however, a small possibility that 1313 could make the jump to a different developer. According to a LucasArts representative:
“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.”
While news of LucasArts’ shutdown is heartbreaking to fans of Star Wars and videogame fans alike (the Xbox community manager said that “it still feels like a bit of the spirit of games died today”), it isn’t the end of Star Wars games. Knights of the Old Republic, one of the best Star Wars games of all time, was licensed to BioWare, so there is still hope for the future. Sadly, LucasArts will not be a part of it.
EUCantina would like to offer our condolences to the 150 people who lost their jobs today.
William Devereux also contributed to this report.