The Star Wars video game company LucasArts has been closed down and is in the process of being broken apart by Disney. As Disney owns LucasFilm and the rights to all media therein, the video game subsidiary LucasArts is (or was) part of what they purchased. With this breakup of the company, Disney will be moving from an internal development model (with LucasArts) to a licensing model, this allowing companies from across the market their chance at developing video games in the Star Wars universe.
LucasArts created a collection of games over the past couple of decades including such mega-hits as X-Wing vs TIE Fighter and Dark Forces and some relatively lesser-known titles that will effectively fizzle. According to a statement provided by Game Informer, layoffs are imminent, if not already in-effect.
“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.” – Disney
Reports today suggest that every single one of LucasArts remaining 150 employees have been laid off this month. This is the last wave, it would seem, of a series of layoffs that span back several years. According to Ars Technica, LucasArts employees numbered closer to 500 back in the mid-2000s. This also isn’t the beginning of LucasFilm’s LucasArts licensing out the rights to games without in-house development.
• Star Wars: The Old Republic – Bioware
• Star Wars: Battlefront – Pandemic
• Lego Star Wars – Travellers Tales
Though it’s always difficult to report news of layoffs in any of the industries we report on, this information can be seen as a positive force for those interested in the further adventures of the characters inside the Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and several other LucasArts title universe. Though we’ve not heard specifically about anything beyond Star Wars titles at the moment, we’re certainly all for developers from all over the wide world of gaming taking their crack at A Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far, Far Away!