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Disney Just Closed Game Publisher LucasArts

By - Source: GameInformer | B 49 comments

The popular publisher/developer behind a plethora of Star Wars titles in now no more thanks to the Mickey Mouse Club.

Talk about a string of bad news for PC gamers. First Bethesda admitted that three years of Doom 4 development was dumped for a rebooted version, and now Disney reports that it has closed LucasArts Entertainment Company LLC, the popular game development studio of LucasFilm Limited. Seriously, what the heck.

"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," Disney said in a statement submitted to Game Informer. "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 became highly popular in the late 1980s and all through the 1990s with its adventure games and its Star Wars-based titles like the TIE Fighter, X-Wing and Jedi Knight series. It also thrived on a number of Indiana Jones adventure games, and non-mainstream IPs like The Secret of Monkey Island, Full Throttle, Grim Fandango and Sam & Max. Its footing resided in all platforms, ranging from the Amiga to MS-DOS to Windows to the GameBoy to the Sega CD and beyond.

But looking at its portfolio of titles over the last two decades, the company has understandably relied on the Star Wars property to generate revenue. It's a highly-valuable Lucas product, yet in 1998 alone, there were five Star Wars products released, and five separate titles released in 2000. The last game published by LucasArts as a company was Kinect Star Wars for the Xbox 360 in 2012. Talk about heavy market saturation.

Perhaps then that falling sales -- despite hits like Star Wars Battlefront, The Force Unleashed and Knights of the Old Republic -- stem from sheer boredom of Star Wars in the gaming arena as seen with BioWare's The Old Republic MMORPG. Even the franchise itself was hit by a backwash of angst from fans over the prequel trilogy, and the succeeding games only remind them of that disappointment. Too much of a good thing could end up being a bad thing.

In 2002, the company realized that it had gotten a little crazy with the Star Wars license and admitted that this quick-fire mode reduced the overall quality of its products – critics agreed. Thus the studio said that at least 50-percent of future releases wouldn't be related to Star Wars. Unfortunately, those titles either failed to gain any traction, or where cancelled before they even hit retail stores. LucasArts thus caved in and resumed producing more content in the all-too-familiar Star Wars territory.

In 2004, VP of Marketing Jim Ward became president of LucasArts and decided to perform a top-to-bottom audit of the company's infrastructure, saying that its current state was a "mess". He then created a five-year investment plan, and focused on making the internal development team more efficient and easily adaptable to a changing game industry. After that, LucasArts went on to churn out quality, popular titles like Star Wars: Battlefront, Star Wars: Republic Commando, Mercenaries with Pandemic Studios, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, Fracture, Thrillville and more.

Now it appears that Star Wars 1313, which impressed gamers and press alike at E3 2012, has now been cancelled. Star Wars: First Assault has likely suffered the same fate. With Disney now going into full licensing mode with the Star Wars franchise, it may be possible these two games will be resumed by third-party developers.

George Lucas founded LucasArts back in May 1982 as part of LucasFilm branching out into other areas of entertainment. The company was transferred over into the Disney collective when the House the Mickey Built acquired the Empire that Lucas Built in a surprising $4.05 billion purchase in 2012. The seventh Star Wars film is expected to arrive in 2015 although there's talk that it may be pushed back into 2016.

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Top Comments
  • 27 Hide
    Dupontrocks11 , April 3, 2013 3:16 PM
    Lately, I've died a little inside every time I read tech news... farewell LucasArts.
  • 25 Hide
    spartanmk2 , April 3, 2013 3:16 PM
    Yet another great company gets canned... thanks a lot Disney :( 
  • 21 Hide
    xpeh , April 3, 2013 3:22 PM
    If I don't get my Battlefront 3 soon...
Other Comments
  • 25 Hide
    spartanmk2 , April 3, 2013 3:16 PM
    Yet another great company gets canned... thanks a lot Disney :( 
  • 27 Hide
    Dupontrocks11 , April 3, 2013 3:16 PM
    Lately, I've died a little inside every time I read tech news... farewell LucasArts.
  • 21 Hide
    xpeh , April 3, 2013 3:22 PM
    If I don't get my Battlefront 3 soon...
  • 5 Hide
    Chibinho , April 3, 2013 3:25 PM
    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Everyday, i see less reasons to live. The best are all going down. Everything good is going down. :(  Must Fight It. and I swear this: I will revive It. I will recreate the Great Games. Even if i start small and alone. But I will. I will recreate the Good Games. Battlefront, Empire at War, wait for me. I will Bring Glory back to the Star Wars Franchise.
  • -7 Hide
    Chibinho , April 3, 2013 3:30 PM
    Remember My Name. CHIBINHO, or DANIK LIMA, REMEMBER MY NAME. YOU WILL HEAR FROM ME SOON. WITH A BATTLEFRONT!
  • -4 Hide
    NightLight , April 3, 2013 3:38 PM
    ChibinhoNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Everyday, i see less reasons to live. The best are all going down. Everything good is going down. Must Fight It. and I swear this: I will revive It. I will recreate the Great Games. Even if i start small and alone. But I will. I will recreate the Good Games. Battlefront, Empire at War, wait for me. I will Bring Glory back to the Star Wars Franchise.


    ever heard of kickstarter projects?
  • 10 Hide
    NightLight , April 3, 2013 3:39 PM
    oh, how i loved that x-wing lucasarts startup screen with the *ping* on the end :) 
  • 2 Hide
    dalethepcman , April 3, 2013 3:39 PM
    Disney's video to LucasArts employee's..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EW-2Im4OiE0
  • 10 Hide
    bin1127 , April 3, 2013 3:42 PM
    Can we get luke skywalker and indiana jones in the next kingdom hearts?
  • 1 Hide
    jhansonxi , April 3, 2013 3:42 PM
    I suppose that means no Full Throttle sequel. :( 
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Full_Throttle_%281995_video_game%29
  • 0 Hide
    spentshells , April 3, 2013 3:45 PM
    RIP .....

    RRTANGENTABACUS
  • 0 Hide
    Jay-Z , April 3, 2013 3:50 PM
    This is probably an April Fool's joke
  • 0 Hide
    tbq , April 3, 2013 4:06 PM
    I guess I won't keep my hopes up for another Monkey Island game anytime soon.
  • 2 Hide
    hijaxhfx , April 3, 2013 4:18 PM
    Wow this sucks, what is gonna be next to go
  • 7 Hide
    balister , April 3, 2013 4:26 PM
    The saddest part of this, no Star Wars 1313.
  • 0 Hide
    DXHHH18 , April 3, 2013 4:40 PM
    I love Lucasarts as much as the next guy but this has been a longtime coming. They are simply no longer the great publisher they once were and the quality of their games has been declining for some time.
  • 2 Hide
    Dax corrin , April 3, 2013 4:45 PM
    I spent way too much time flying Tie fighters in XWing vs Tie Fighter... I had always hoped LA would release another flight sim...my hopes are now dashed.
  • 7 Hide
    aevm , April 3, 2013 4:47 PM
    "We are incredibly appreciative and proud of the talented teams who have been developing our new titles."

    But they fired them all anyway. :( 
  • 5 Hide
    smeezekitty , April 3, 2013 4:56 PM
    Disney sucks.
  • 15 Hide
    dimar , April 3, 2013 4:58 PM
    hijaxhfxWow this sucks, what is gonna be next to go


    EA
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