Disney shuts down LucasArts, Star Wars 1313 and First Assault development in question
Disney has decided to shut down the LucasArts division of the recently purchased Lucasfilm Ltd. Disney acquired LucasArts last year as part of a deal worth $4.05 billion. The news via an email sent to Game Informer from a LucasArts representative. The statement reads:
"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. 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."
The real mystery here is what now becomes of Star Wars 1313 and Star Wars: First Assault, two highly anticipated titles that dropped off following the acquisition. We've heard mixed rumors regarding Star Wars 1313, the "mature" action-adventure that had you play as a bounty hunter beneath the surface of Coruscant. While we initially heard the game had been unaffected, it was then later reported that it was put on hold. If canceled, it'd be a sad ending for what looked to be a very promising game.
The story is basically the same for Star Wars: First Assault, a first-person shooter that was supposedly for Xbox LIVE Arcade. Unlike Star Wars 1313, First Assault was never really confirmed; rather, the game was first discovered last October from a trademark filing. While I was never shown official footage, we have been teased with leaked gameplay clips. It seemed a little rough around the edges, but more importantly, First Assault was thought to be the stepping stone to Battlefront 3.
Kotaku is reporting that 150 LucasArts employees have been laid off, and that both Star Wars: First Assault and Star Wars 1313 have been canceled. However, Game Informer's source claims that the company is "evaluating its options regarding projects currently in development, which could be licensed out to external development and publishing partners."
"It is worth noting that we are looking for proven external partners who can help us provide video games to our fans. We still believe in the video game industry, we still will provide Star Wars games, we're just looking at different models rather than internal production... They're evaluating everything. There's always a possibility that it [Star Wars 1313] can still come out via licensing," the representative said. "It's super sad. It's a terrible day. I want to make sure everyone realizes that there still will be Star Wars games out there."
But will they be the AAA blockbusters we expect? Or are we looking a future filled with Star Wars mobile and web browser games? We'll be sure to keep you updated with whatever we hear from Disney.