Disney closes down LucasArts, marking today as a sad day for video game history

| April 4, 2013
Games By Apr. 3, 2013 3:21 pm

Day of the Tentacle

During fall of last year, Disney made a huge splash in the entertainment world and acquired LucasFilm. After the new ownership subsequently announced that it would complete the last Star Wars trilogy, people wondered what would happen to the merry band of game developers known as LucasArts. Disney isn’t averse to weird crossovers, as it showed with the Kingdom Hearts franchise, and they do also own Marvel. We’re sad to report, though, that instead of Wolverine’s claws being replaced by lightsabers in canon, Disney is simply closing down LucasArts instead.

In a statement today, Disney said that it had evaluated the games market, and decided it would be better to “shift LucasArts from an internal development to a licensing model.” What this seems to mean is that LucasArts will no longer develop games, and instead simply be a license monkey, handing out Star Wars (and whatever else it owns) to other developers.

Though the LucasArts name was involved in some of your favorite modern-day titles, such as Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, the team didn’t actually develop those games, and simply licensed them to prominent developers. LucasArts was, however, responsible for semi-popular games such as Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and the Battlefront series, but they weren’t popular enough to warrant keeping the operation going in Disney’s eyes.

Though we feel for the developers that have been laid off, you as a gamer most likely won’t be affected too much by the closure. In the gaming world, LucasArts is best known for pioneering the adventure game genre, with luminaries like Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert leading the way. The Secret of Monkey IslandGrim Fandango, and Day of the Tentacle are what many gamers look back fondly on when remembering LucasArts, but those games are long gone, along with the overall popularity of the point-and-click adventure genre.

Unfortunately for those looking forward to Star Wars 1313, the gritty third-person action game where players assumed the role of a bounty hunter, the game has been canceled. However, it’s entirely possible another studio will pick up the license and give the game a second chance.

Though LucasArts hasn’t had even a fraction of the impact it once had, it’s still a sad day when such an important factor in the rise of the video game industry ceases to be.


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Category: Tech

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