Disney Shuts Down LucasArts, Shifts to Licensing Model

Paul Lilly

Farewell LucasArts, and Thanks for the Grog

Today's a sad day for any old school graphic adventurer (such as myself) who grew up wandering every inch of Maniac Mansion looking for that damned can of gas, and then finally finding it on Mars while playing Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders. For those of you who know what the hell I'm talking about, understand we're a dying breed of gamer, but I digress. The real story here is in the headline. Disney, less than five months after prying Lucasfilm from George Lucas' hands for $4.05 billion, has decided to close the LucasArts game studio. Go ahead and tip your grog glass over the pavement.

Game Informer broke the news on its website and provided the following official statement from 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."

Call it the end of an era if you will, though as Maximum PC Senior Editor Josh Norem reminded me, "What has LucasArts done in the last, I don't know, 10 years? Same as Lucas. You just want them to stop ruining our childhoods." Fair enough, and while I have fond memories of the adventure games Ron Gilbert and company created, the gaming landscape has changed dramatically in the past 20+ years.

In recent times, LucasArts focused its attention on Star Wars games, like Force Unleashed and the upcoming Star Wars 1313 title. Now that LucasArts is no more, what will become of that game? It's hard to tell.

Gaming site Kotaku reports that the LucasArts staff has been laid off and the Star Wars: First Assault and Star Wars 1313 are both cancelled. However, the rep Game Informer spoke with left the door open, saying "there's always a possibility that [Star Wars 1313] can still come out via licensing."

How do you feel about Disney's decision to close down LucasArts?

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