Disney closes LucasArts - may the Force be with them
Disney has closed the doors on LucasArts, and shuttered their Star Wars: First Assault and Star Wars 1313 projects. Rumors regarding LucasArts and the number of layoffs began circulating some time ago, but the studio's closing was confirmed yesterday when Disney sent Game Informer the following statement:
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.
Kotaku was told by a “reliable source” that around 150 staff were laid off, and many other sites are re-publishing that figure, but the number has yet to be confirmed. The Wall Street Journal reported that fewer than 10 employees have been retained.
Game Informer also reports that the closing has been in consideration since the Disney/LucasArts deal came down in October of last year. While all of LucasArts' projects were closed down, Game Informer interviewed a LucasFilm representative, who had this to say regarding the future of games like Star Wars 1313:
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.
Many fans and sites are looking back on their favorite LucasArts games and moments in wake of the news. Raven Software, developers of Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast and Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy, have released the source code for both games in memoriam. You can download Jedi Outcast here, and Jedi Academy here. There is no support or documentation for either game.