Still think Disney buying Star Wars was a good idea?
That noise you just heard was the other shoe dropping: Lucasfilm said today that it will cease internal game development at LucasArts, following the company’s acquisition by Disney in November.
“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,” read a statement issued by Lucasfilm. “As a result of this change, we’ve had layoffs across the organization.”
Reached for comment by Wired, a representative said that internal development on announced games, like the next-gen shooter Star Wars 1313, had been ceased but that the company was evaluating its options as regards having those games completed by an outside developer. However, Kotaku quoted an anonymous source inside the company that said such options had already been explored, and Disney found no takers. So it’s looking quite unlikely that 1313 will ever come out.
Even though Disney said at the time of its $4 billion acquisition of the Star Wars company that it would “focus more on social and mobile than on console,” a Lucasfilm representative did say to Wired that future Star Wars console games were not off the table.
It’s hard to be surprised at this turn of events when Disney spelled it all out at the time of the acquisition. It’s moving away from internally-developed console games, having shut down Warren Spector’s studio Junction Point following the release of Epic Mickey 2, and towards social and mobile. There will still be Disney and Star Wars console titles, but these will be produced by external developers. Lucasfilm has been trying to turn the struggling LucasArts division around for many years now, with a musical-chairs game of ever-changing creative leads and executives.
I can see why Lucas, as a standalone company, would want to fix its games division. But Disney has no such need. It has a games division already, it doesn’t need to try to fix LucasArts’ problems. It’s sad when hundreds of people lose their jobs, but organizations that are no longer competitive need to die to make room for ones that are. If it’s Star Wars games you’re after, there’s no reason an external developer can’t handle them.
And if you’re nostalgic for the great old Lucas games of old, like Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion, this is good news for you. First of all, the people who made those games are already working at Telltale or Double Fine making exactly what you wish Lucas was still making. If you want a new Grim Fandango, a shift to a licensing-only model makes it more likely that Disney will look to cash in on that latent demand.
Again, if you’re in that latter group, the LucasArts you’re so nostalgic for died a long, long time ago when the company cancelled its Sam & Max sequel and laid off the whole team. And then that team formed Telltale Games and eventually made The Walking Dead. The LucasArts that died today is not the one you loved, and it was never going to be again.
Answer by momto2boys973 at 2:08 PM on Apr. 4, 2013
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