RIP LucasArts – Thanks, Disney!

Posted on April 4, 2013 2:50 PM by J.D. Kane

Disney has pulled the plug on LucasArts. Consequently, LucasFilm’s erstwhile video games development arm becomes the second significant casualty of Disney’s purchase of George Lucas’ family of entertainment companies. The first to die by Disney’s hand, of course, is the excellent Clone Wars animated series.

With LucasArts’ shutdown, around 150 members of its staff were laid off and all current projects, including Star Wars: First Assault and Star Wars 1313, were canceled with immediate effect.

LucasArts Large Logo

Instead of developing video games in-house, Disney announced through LucasFilm that it will “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.

Perhaps signaling Disney’s ultimate plans in the video game market, Disney Interactive, the company’s video game development arm, said that it “looks forward to working with Lucasfilm on new games opportunities that leverage their incredible IP (intellectual property) and brings it to life across gaming platforms.”

LucasArts was founded in 1982. In its more than three decades of existence it spawned and published classics such as the Star Wars-inspired titles X-Wing, Rebel Assault, Knights of the Old Republic, and The Force Unleashed, as well as non-Star Wars titles such as Grim Fandango from 1998 and the Monkey Island series of games.

  • Rob Williams

    Some people are trying to make this sound like a good thing… and from a business perspective, perhaps it is. But to see a company like LucasArts shut down is beyond unfortunate, and seems a little hasty. I hope that these 150 people find themselves with new work swiftly.

    I haven’t played many LucasArts games through the years, but the ones I -have-, I hold fond memories of. SW: Dark Forces was the first I believe… it was quite polished and a lot of fun. Almost felt like you were playing a movie (way back then). I also enjoyed Shadows of the Empire for the N64 a LOT. It was a wonderful-crafted game. After that, Star Wars Racer was also fantastic. Really gave you a sheer sense of speed and excitement. I believe that to be the last LucasArts game I’ve actually played.

    RIP, LucasArts.

  • Joe Sullivan

    I really enjoyed the Monkey Island series, although I haven’t played them all.

  • JD Kane

    I wasn’t a fan of George Lucas selling his empire off to one of the most soulless corporations out there (Disney). A move like this only reinforces my feeling.

    LucasArts gave me a ton of pleasure, specifically with Knights of the Old Republic. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve played this game; in fact, it’s my gateway into PC gaming beyond the racing sims I favored.

    Not too long ago I told a few buddies that I wish the X-Wing/TIE Fighter space combat games could be remade with today’s tech. If that had ever happened, I’d lose so much sleep and would never have thought twice about doing so.

    Perhaps I’ll run through KotOR one more time in the next few weeks, just to refresh my memories of just how awesome LucasArts can be.

    • Jamie Fletcher

      KotOR was developed by Bioware, it was licensed from LucasArts. The number of games actually made by LucasArts is quite small, so Disney disbanding the studio is not such a huge deal – apart from the historical value of course. Many great Star Wars games were third-party studios.

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