Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm and the Star Wars empire has now claimed its second victim: that of LucasArts. After shuttering production on the popular Star Wars: The Clone Wars cartoon, Disney has announced that they will be closing as an internal development studio LucasArts effective immediately.
Signs of the studio’s closure may have been obvious based on recent reports that have been shared, but it’s still a bit shocking that Disney has decided to entirely close the gaming division rather than salvage it. The closure of LucasArts will sadly see around 150 employees lose their jobs along with two things that will likely make gamers cry: both Star Wars 1313 and Star Wars: First Assault have been cancelled.
The track record of LucasArts may not have been encouraging in recent years with efforts such as Star Wars Kinect. Though the company was poised to make a comeback based on their recent efforts that were finally set to cater to an older and more core oriented crowd.
With Star Wars 1313 wowing people immediately when it was unveiled prior to E3 2012, the game could’ve been a huge hit on the next-gen consoles but now it’s yet another “what-if”, “could’ve been” game that often is present in the industry these days.
Just like 1313, the yet to be officially revealed XBLA/PSN FPS Star Wars: First Assault has also been sacked. Unveiled in the past few weeks via Kotaku’s sources, First Assault once again was a game that had potential since it was a Battlefield/CoD clone that gamers likely would’ve eaten up due to the Star Wars basis.
It’s unknown if we’ll learn about either of the shuttered Star Wars projects in the coming weeks via leaks from former employees as is sometimes the case in these instances. Sadly, the only one definitive thing is that Disney has opted to completely kill both games instead of farm them off to external studios to be finished and arrive on retail.
Even though this news does suck as it officially ends LucasArts era as a developer, hope isn’t entirely lost for future Star Wars games. As noted in the official announcement made by Disney, LucasArts will now be shifting to the license business model i.e. they’ll sell/allow other devs/potential publishing partners to make games based on the Star Wars universe.
Disney’s move to end internal development in LucasArts and kill two projects may be baffling, but the company isn’t so idiotic that they wouldn't release a new Star Wars trilogy sans tie-in video games. Though we shouldn’t expect Star Wars Battlefront 3 to pop up in the near future since there’s still a chance Disney will decide to focus their Star Wars gaming license on mobile efforts rather than giving us a major triple-A size video game.
All together this news is profoundly disappointing since it’s yet another blow to the video game industry as we know it.