Disney Closes LucasArts, Dumps Games And Cause Lay Offs At ILM – But Star Wars Movies Are Piling Up


Patrick Dane writes for Bleeding Cool

While I have always written about movies here at Bleeding Cool, I can be found elsewhere writing about games. And writing about games is making me sad.

Just recently we have seen lay offs at deveoper High Moon, Square Enix lost its CEO, as well as sufferin lay offs, and EA’s CEO has left his position too – although I don’t think too many people are upset by that. Hell, even the major publisher THQ went under recently, causing several developers to shut down as a result.

So it is to my deeper disappointment that Disney have announced that they are closing the game developer LucasArts. A representative told 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.

The news isn’t wholely unexpected as LucasArts had been struggling for years. Following a rather nasty fall out over the failure to complete Battlefront III, the company never quite got back on its feet. The Force Unleashed series was one of the only company’s recent success, but even that failed to set the world’s cash registers on fire .

But what of the studios current games in development like the hotly anticpated Star Wars 1313? A representative said:

1313 was looking fantastic, the reception has been great It just got to a point where from a business standpoint we couldn’t continue developing those internally and keep up with the direction that the company was going.

It is worth noting that we are looking for proven external partners who can help us provide video games to our fans…They’re evaluating everything. There’s always a possibility that it [Star Wars 1313] can still come out via licensing.

So it looks like 1313 might just make it out one day. Perhaps.

Even while the demise of Lucasfilm was expected, it’s still a sad day – and there are further repercussions.

Variety are reporting that because LucasArts and ILM shared resources, there will be an unfortunate ripple effect. A spokesperson said:

It’s impossible for ILM to absorb all of those resources, so with this change came the necessity for ILM to align itself and take responsibility for its own resources.

Or, in other words, there will be lay offs.

An interesting move considering that the studio will surely now be moving into one of its busiest ever production periods. The Clone Wars TV show is winding down, but there’s another animated series in the works. With that and what Variety call “at least one Star Wars movie a year” I can’t imagine there will be a lack of things to make and do at Skywalker Ranch.

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