Game over for LucasArts

LucasArts has been shut down by its new arch-mouse overlord at Disney.

Disney recently acquired LucasFilm and now it seems that LucasArts has told GameInformer that it decided to shift LucasArts from an internal development to a licensing model.  In other words, stop making stuff.

This minimises Disney’s risk while achieving a broader portfolio of quality Star Wars games, apparently. As a result of this change, there have been layoffs across the organisation among those who did any actual content creation.

Lately, LucasArts’ core business had been based on Star Wars and were largely disappointing. While there had been some success with games like Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and the Battlefront series, they were over. Star Wars Battlefront III was canceled. The BioWare developed MMORPG Star Wars: The Old Republic won strong reviews but failed to maintain subscribers. Fans of the franchise will go glassy-eyed with nostalgia thinking about Knights of the Old Republic – great extended universe games published by LucasArts that nothing could quite live up to since.

Gamers will fondly remember LucasArts’ golden era of point and click titles, ranging from Maniac Mansion to Loom to Sam and Max, to the hugely popular Monkey Island series. Grim Fandango is still widely considered a masterpiece in its genre.

LucasArts’ other big franchise, Indiana Jones, has not done much either, other than Traveller’s Tales LEGO Indiana Jones series which was not developed by LucasArts.

A new Star Wars project entitled Star Wars 1313 was looking good but that lost steam fast.

In  2004, LucasArts president Jim Ward led a restructuring of the company, laying off many development staffers in the process. He left in 2008, to be replaced by EA’s Darrell Rodriguez who left after two years and was replaced Paul Meegan. Until it was bought by Disney, the company was co-led by Kevin Parker and Gio Corsi and did not seem to be going anywhere.


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