LucasArts has been shut down and staff laid off, as Disney moves its property to a purely licensing-based model.
The move was announced earlier today, and was not entirely un-foreshadowed; following the company’s $4.05-billion acquisition of LucasFilm late last year, CEO Robert Iger stated that that Disney was “likely to focus on more social and mobile than we are on console.”
Whether or not this means that Disney will look to create further games within the franchise in any form is, at present, an unknown. A statement on the closure of LucasArts highlighted efficiency as the motive:
“After evaluating our position in the games market, we’ve decided to shift LucasArts from an internal development to a licensing model, minimising the company’s risk while achieving a broader portfolio of quality Star Wars games.”
Aside from the staff that will now be searching for new roles elsewhere, the studio’s IPs are also up in the air. As of writing, anticipated titles including Star Wars 1313 and Star Wars: First Assault are presumed cancelled, though there is still the possibility that they could be licensed by outside studios. In a statement to GameInformer, a representative from LucasFilm was very tentatively optimistic:
“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… There’s always a possibility that it [Star Wars 1313] can still come out via licensing.”
Though it may not be the end of the road for the highly-anticipated 1313, the closure still marks the end of an era in the industry:
“It’s super sad. It’s a terrible day. I want to make sure everyone realizes that there still will be Star Wars games out there.”