LucasArts, the popular videogame arm of LucasFilm, was officially shut down on Wednesday by Disney. According to Kotaku, about 150 employees have been laid off and all current projects have been canceled.
“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,” Disney said in an official statement.
The move is sure to disappoint “Star Wars” fans, who have remained cautiously optimistic about the beloved franchise since Disney acquired LucasFilm in October. The studio rose to prominence in the 1990s with several successful “Star Wars” games like “Rebel Assault,” “X-Wing” and “Dark Forces,” as well as non-“Star Wars” hits like “Grim Fandango” and the “Sam & Max” series.
The closure is no surprise, however, for those in the video game community. Recent titles have been canceled in mid-development, and LucasArts announced a freeze on all hiring and product announcements in September. The last game it published, “Kinect Star Wars,” was unsuccessful, while hit “Star Wars” games were developed externally.
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The company will retain a small team to handle licensed products like the Lego “Star Wars” series. Disney could license LucasArts’ two remaining projects -- “Star Wars: First Assault” and “Star Wars: 1313” -- but they would become brand new games.
To remember this once-great game studio, The Next Web has a list of every game LucasArts ever published.