The news vine is abuzz today with the news that Disney has shut down long-time game development company, LucasArts, looking to move the name into a licensing model to “[minimise] the company's risk while achieving a broader portfolio of quality Star Wars games,” says Kotaku's source. With this announcement has also come the news that Star Wars 1313 and Star Wars: First Assault have been canned.
According to Gameinformer, Disney is saying that they will license out these two current LucasArts titles, but Kotaku's source says this is unlikely. Here's a quote:
“Our source says Lucas has pursued the option for 'one or both games,' but nothing happened. 'With the teams now basically being dispersed I think both games are effectively dead forever,' our source said.”
This was confirmed by another source who said the odds of Star Wars 1313 being licensed out are “effectively zero.”
Star Wars 1313
Apparently 150 staff have been laid off. LucasArts was acquired last year by Disney, when it acquired LucasFilm from George Lucas. It's sad news in the world of gaming as not only are we losing some anticipated titles in the Star Wars universe but we're also losing a company that has been a major contributor and innovator in game development over the last thirty years.
LucasArts (then LucasFilm Games) first burst onto the scenes with its classic point-and-click adventure, Maniac Mansion, in 1987. It leveraged off of its game engine to develop classics in the 90's such as The Monkey Island series (from Ron Gilbert and Tim Schafer), its Indiana Jones series (The Last Crusade, the Fate of Atlantis), Day of the Tentacle and, later on, Sam & Max, Full Throttle (another Schafer title) and the cult-classic The Dig.
On the Star Wars front LucasArts did an amazing job with its X-Wing series and titles such as Dark Forces and Rebel Assault. In the 2000's we saw Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Star Wars: Battlefront, as well as Star Wars: The Force Unleashed which was very well received.
As far as this writer is concerned, it's legacy now dies at the hands of bean counters and executives who are culling 30+ years of amazing creativity. As per the report on games.on.net, Disney wants to rather focus on mobile and social gaming. Yay. Good times.