The game of the week for this week's Retro Weekly is one that is very close to my heart: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
LucasArts is Being Shut Down By Disney Shortly After Acquisition
[UPDATE]: New information has been revealed confirming that Star Wars 1313 is most definitely dead. In speaking with the BBC, LucasFilm spokesperson Miles Perkins confirmed, “Both current Star Wars games projects have been halted.” This referring to Star Wars 1313 and the unannounced Star Wars: First Assault. Lastly, a LucasArts representative had told Gameinformer there was a possibility of Star Wars 1313 being licensed out to another developer:
“It is worth noting that we are looking for proven external partners who can help us provide video games to our fans. We still believe in the video game industry, we still will provide Star Wars games, we’re just looking at different models rather than internal production… They’re evaluating everything. There’s always a possibility that it [Star Wars 1313] can still come out via licensing.”
However, a source told Kotaku that the games are “effectively dead forever,” and the chances of them being licensed out are “effectively zero.” From this same source Kotaku learned that over 150 employees were impacted by the closure, and while there is no longer anyone working there Disney will continue to use the name for licensing deals.
Disney has released a statement announcing the closure of its recently acquired game publishing subsidiary LucasArts. Reports from GameInformer confirmed the announcement with several employees at LucasArts.
Disney released the following statement:
“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.”
While this may come as a surprise to some the writing has been on the wall for a while, even before the purchase by Disney. LucasArts’ two biggest Star Wars franchises Battlefront and The Force Unleashed both vanished from existence. Just last year we learned the ugly truth of Battlefront III’s development, which resulted in a week long blame game between developer Free Radical and publisher LucasArts, in regards to how complete the game was. Free Radical suggested it was 90% complete, where LucasArts claimed it was a bug ridden mess that had failed to meet a significant chunk of negotiated goals. All the while, LucasArts’ foray into the MMO space, co-publishing Star Wars: The Old Republic with Bioware, was met with critical praise, but was unable to tread water with consumers announcing it would be switching from a subscription model to a free-to-play model shortly after release.
LucasArts’ other property Indiana Jones hasn’t made any attempt at jumping into the market aside from some licensed LEGO games. Even if they had attempted a game Sony and Naughty Dog had pulled the rug out from under them with the extremely successful Uncharted series
In addition to a number a staff changes high up in the company over the last year the last nail in the coffin seemed to have been rumors leaked from inside LucasArts that production of Star Wars 1313 had ceased. The game had been highly praised at E3 and Gamescom and if this couldn’t right the ship then it wouldn’t bode well for LucasArts. It is quite unfortunate the the very last game to have been published by LucasArts is the notoriously bad Kinect Star Wars.
Our thoughts are with those affected by the closure, may you find new positions quickly.