You read the headline correctly; Disney has closed LucasArts’ doors and released the staff. What does this mean? It means the future of Star Wars: Battlefront III is up in the air, the Star Wars 1313 and Star Wars: First Assault titles are canceled, and to writer: No chance of a Full Throttle sequel through the studio. Cue distraught music here, folks. How can the world go on with no chance of Full Throttle? Oh, and no Star Wars titles in sight. Let’s not forget about Star Wars.
It should be noted that that LucasFilms—the parent company of LucasArts—will be shifting from development to licensing. This is in an attempt at “…minimizing the company’s risk while achieving a broader portfolio of quality Star Wars games” according to a statement. Many within LucasArts saw that this was near after the game developer was halted in September as far as title announcements and staff activity were concerned.
Last year Disney scooped LucasFilms and related houses from George Lucas last year in a massive deal and the usual “This will be good for both parties and the fans” spiel was given. Of course there was panic and grumblings from the Star Wars fandom even with nothing concrete being announced outside of new films in the series—which will always get some grumbling. The studio managed to put out some strong titles in the 90s and 2000s with a slew of Star Wars titles—most of which are considered canonical—as well as the Sam & Max series and Full Throttle. The studio managed to get BioWare to work on its highly acclaimed Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic series and Pandemic on Star Wars: Battlefront.
The last title they had that got good reviews was Star Wars: The Force Unleashed which was released five years ago. Unfortunately, LucasArts will leave off on a pretty sour note with the dance game-craze title Kinect Star Wars on the 360—which again was a salty title with the bright light there being Meco’s Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk being in there.
The question that occurs is where does leave the extremely talented men and women that made up LucasArts? One could say that the gaming industry either just got a number of industry veterans entering the pool or they’ve got a new developing house or two on the rise. In reality, both will probably happen as it seems to be thing to do when departing a studio or when a studio closes its doors.