Disney shuts down LucasArts game publisher

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LucasArts-screenshots-1Disney has shut down the video game publishing arm of LucasArts, it has been confirmed today.

A LucasArts representative confirmed the news in a statement to Game Informer:

“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 reports that staff were informed of the closure this morning, April 3, and around 150 people were laid off.

It also claims, citing ‘a reliable source’, that both of the studio’s projects have also apparently been cancelled outright – Star Wars 1313 and Star Wars: First Assault.

But a LucasFilm rep has suggested that LucasArt’s projects may yet be rescued via a licensing deal with an external developer. “It is worth noting that we are looking for proven external partners who can help us provide video games to our fans,” they told Game Informer.

“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.”

This comes just five months after Disney’s $4 billion acquisition of George Lucas’s Lucasfilm last year.

Doubts were cast over the future of Star Wars 1313 when Disney CEO Bob Iger announced that Lucasfilm will focus on mobile and tablet games as opposed to console projects.

The title was recently rumoured to have been put on hold, despite assurances that the acquisition wouldn’t have an immediate direct impact on the game’s development.

As well as games in the Star Wars universe, LucasArts was famed for being a leading developer of point-and-click adventures, which reached the height of their popularity in the early ’90s with titles in the Indiana Jones franchise and Rob Gilbert’s The Secret of Monkey Island.

In more recent years, the studio focused on Star Wars projects with Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and its sequel, which received mixed reviews, and it’s latest game, Kinect Star Wars for Xbox 360, which was released to mostly negative critique response.

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