Well it appears the honeymoon is over for Lucas and Disney. Shit got business real today when Disney laid off 150 employees at LucasArts and said that it would become a “licensing model” and stop internal development and publishing. Effectively this means that Disney just killed LucasArts, makers of games like Rebel Assault, Rogue Squadron, Jedi Knight, Shadows of the Empire and Battlefront.
Here is the official statement from Disney:
“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,” LucasArts parent company LucasFilm said in a statement. “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.”
This news especially sucks for Star Wars: 1313 and First Assault which were essentially cancelled. Since LucasArts will be used in name only for future Disney/Star Wars releases these two in house games will most likely never see the light of day.
It has been a joy ride so far between Disney, Star Wars and fans with high hopes of the new trilogy directed by J.J. Abrams, but this is not going to go over well in the already cynical nerd community. I know Disney is a business and honestly will not give two shits about how fat guys like myself feel about this, but I know that I was looking forward to 1313, more so than any Star Wars game in a very long time and have a little bitterness that it may never surface. I also feel bad for those 150 people that lost their jobs today. Hell, you would think that LucasArts would be a safe place to work after the Disney acquisition. Your job is the job of making Star Wars for a digital medium. If that is not safe, what is?