Disney have shut down the LucasArts game studio, abruptly cancelling all upcoming games and laying off all workers, it is reported in the last few days.
Disney will still take advantage of the LucasArts name to allow games, however the studio won’t be producing any new games and all existing titles are scrapped.
The multimedia entertainment firm, which purchased LucasArts, along with the film business Lucasfilm in 2012 for $4.05 Billion, informed the employees of the verdict this morning. The move is anticipated to force around one hundred fifty workers into unemployment.
A spokesperson for Disney said, “After evaluating our position within the games marketplace, we have decided to shift LucasArts from an internal development to a licensing model, minimizing the company’s gamble while achieving a broader portfolio of quality Star Wars games.”
LucasArts was a distinguished games maker, principally recognized for developing Star Wars tie-in games (two of which, ‘Star Wars 1313’ and ‘Star Wars: First Assault’ are high profile victims of this shutdown).
The corporation was also highly influential in the development of the ‘adventure games’ genre within the 80’s and 90’s, producing such notable works as ‘The Secret of Monkey Island’, ‘Grim Fandango’ and ‘Maniac Mansion’.
Gamer response has been vocal and damning, with irritated blogs, Facebook updates and Tweets hitting the web within hours of the announcement.
Despite the outcry, this move is not without precedent. Last September LucasArts blocked all employing and extra product bulletins, an action which came right before the company’s sale to Disney the next month.
However, through the preliminary takeover, Disney had confirmed that all employees would remain within their current positions. Immediately following the changeover, a business representative is reported as saying that “for the time being all projects are business as usual. We are excited about all the possibilities that Disney brings.”
Although the company’s last few titles had acknowledged mixed feedback and only limited sales achievement, hopes were high for their upcoming releases.
It is conceivable that Disney will contract out the development of the products to other studios, but it seems more apt that the company will now put its labors towards licensing various tie-in titles for that as-yet unnamed ‘Star Wars VII’, film scheduled for release in 2015.