The LucasArts video game development studio has been struck down by the almighty red light saber of Mickey Mouse, following Disney’s LucasFilm acquisition late last year.
The gaming subsidiary of th George Lucas-founded company, which has struggled in recent years, has now been deemed surplus to requirements by Disney, who is passing the buck to others to create games around the Star Wars universe.
In a statement given to GameInformer Disney said it would be licensing the Star Wars brand to other game developers and publishing houses in order to ‘achieve a broader portfolio’ of Star Wars games.
The news comes following the disappointing commercial performance of the big budget Star Wars: The Old Republic MMORPG, which struggled to maintain subscribers and became free to play not long after launch.
“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,” a Disney spokesperson said in the statement.
The studio had achieved some in-house success with The Force Unleashed and Battlefront series of games, but there seemed to be little happening in terms of further development of those franchises. Meanwhile the Star Wars: First Assault and promising Star Wars 1313 projects may be shopped around to other developers.
Reports have claimed that the closure will result in the loss of 150 jobs, with a LucasArts representative telling Gameinformer: “It’s super sad. It’s a terrible day. I want to make sure everyone realizes that there still will be Star Wars games out there.
“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.”
Which game developer or publishing house would you like to see get its hands on the Star Wars franchise? Like Disney’s acquisition of the movie rights, will this decision give the Star Wars gaming universe a new lease of life? let us know in the comments section below.