After buying Lucasfilm 154 days ago, Disney has closed LucasArts, laying off 150 employees. This is on the heels of cancelling The Clone Wars animated TV series on Cartoon Network and laying off animators at Lucasfilm. This means we will not be seeing the darker and edgier next-gen shooter game, Star Wars 1313, featuring higher quality performance-captured animation from Lucasfilm Animation and VFX from Industrial Light & Magic.
“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,” according to a LucasArts statement. “As a result of this change, we’ve had layoffs across the organization.”
The move is consistent with Disney cancelling internally-developed console games from Warren Spector’s Junction Point after the release of Epic Mickey 2.
It’s also in line with Disney farming out Interactive Studio game titles to THQ (Disney Princess: Enchanting Storybooks) or acquiring and then shuttering Propaganda Games (Tron Evolution) and Black Rock Studio (Split/Second).
So, while Disney is moving more toward social and mobile gaming, expect to see more Star Wars console games tied to the upcoming Episodes VII, VIII, and IV and the standalones features, only produced by external developers. Yet don’t expect these will be as daring and adventurous as 1313.