Times are changing in the world of games, and it seems like those clinging to last-gen consoles are being left in the dust.
RIP LucasArts: What Next For The Star Wars Video Game Franchise?
The news came today that LucasArts had been closed and reformed into a licensing company. This was the end of the famous company that had given us such classic games as The Secret of Monkey Island and Grim Fandango, among many other well loved games. This sis the same company that had given us Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and was, up until its closure, working on the superb looking Star Wars: 1313.
This leaves a bleak future for the Star Wars franchise. 1313 was looking good, and by good I mean genuinely amazing. The game, if well received, would have surely led the way for new IPs set in the Star Wars universe. But now, with Disney’s decision to take LucasArts in a new way, 1313 could be dead. Gameinformer had a response from Disney “1313 was looking fantastic, the reception has been great. Our other unannounced titles are fine, it just got to a point where from a business standpoint we couldn’t continue developing those internally and keep up with the direction that the company was going.” They also added “There’s always a possibility that it [Star Wars 1313] can still come out via licensing.” But sources from Kotaku have reported that this is unlikely”With the teams now basically being dispersed I think both games are effectively dead forever.” This sad news effectively kills the wave of hope that followed the reveal of 1313. I had personally hoped that this game would lead to Battlefront 3 being revived. But this is also looking unlikely.
As previously reported, Star Wars: First Assault was created to be a predecessor to a potential Battlefront sequel but with the recent announcement, that will be killed off too. This is cause for concern because, this was being used to test the water for Battlefront to enter the market again. With this no longer being a possibility will we see other companies come in and take over the reigns of the franchise as a whole?
With a new set of films coming from Disney featuring numbered entries that follow on from the current set of six films and also non-numbered spin-offs that are apparently character focused, giving them prequel stories or filling in gaps in the character’s history. By turning LucasArts into a licensing only company, Disney have afforded themselves the luxury of getting well known movie-tie in developers and use them to cash-in on the newest steps of Star Wars. Expect Star Wars 7, 8 and 9 video games at the very least. If they wanted true quality, Disney could entice companies known for deep storytelling and character development to set a whole new chapter themselves in a similar vein to what Bioware did with their Knights of the Old Republic and The Old Republic MMO.
Despite Star Wars: 1313 and First Assault being cancelled, I am sure if the quality of the games were at a high standard they will be picked up by an external partner. What do you think of the LucasArts closure and the cancellation of its games?
I'm hoping that as the company moves into a licensing scheme, they'll be more willing to release the rights to other companies rather than trying to develop internally. I'm sure there are a number of developers that would love to have a crack at developing the next Battlefront game, especially given the fan outcry.