Disney have shut down the LucasArts game studio, abruptly cancelling all forthcoming games and laying off all employees, it was reported in the last few days.
Disney will however use the LucasArts name to license games, however the studio won’t be working on any new titles and all existing products have been scrapped.
The multimedia entertainment business, which obtained LucasArts, along with the film company Lucasfilm in 2012 for $4.05 Billion, informed the staff of their verdict this morning. The move is expected to force roughly a hundred and fifty workers into unemployment.
A spokesperson for Disney said, “After evaluating our stance within the gaming marketplace, we have decided to move LucasArts from an inside development to a licensing business model, minimizing the company’s gamble while attaining a broader portfolio of quality Star Wars games.”
LucasArts was a prominent games designer, principally known 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 extremely influential to the development of the ‘adventure games’ genre in 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 fuming blogs, Facebook updates and Tweets hitting the net within hours of the decision.
In spite of 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 corporation’s sale to Disney the following month.
However, during the preliminary takeover, Disney had affirmed that all employees would remain within their present positions. Immediately following the changeover, a business spokesperson is reported as saying that “for the time being all projects are business as usual. We are excited about the many possibilities that Disney brings.”
Although the company’s previous few games had acknowledged mixed reviews and only small sales success, hopes were high for their upcoming releases.
It is conceivable that Disney will outsource the development of these products to other studios, but it appears more probable that the corporation will now put its labors towards licensing a variety of tie-in titles for that as-yet unnamed ‘Star Wars VII’, movie scheduled for release in 2015.