Disney have shut down the LucasArts game studio, unexpectedly cancelling all forthcoming games and sacking all employees, it is reported in the last few days.
Disney will still use the LucasArts name to license games, but the studio will not be producing any new games and all existing products are scrapped.
The multimedia entertainment firm, which purchased LucasArts, along with the movie business Lucasfilm in 2012 for $4.05 Billion, informed the employees of the decision this morning. The move is anticipated to force roughly one hundred fifty personnel into unemployment.
A spokesperson for Disney said, “After evaluating our stance within the games market, we’ve decided to shift LucasArts from an internal development to a licensing model, minimizing the corporation’s gamble while attaining a broader portfolio of quality Star Wars games.”
LucasArts was a prominent games maker, principally known for developing Star Wars tie-in games (two of which, ‘Star Wars 1313’ and ‘Star Wars: First Assault’ are high profile victims of this shutdown).
The company was moreover extremely influential in the expansion of the ‘adventure games’ genre within the 80’s and 90’s, producing such notable works as ‘The Secret of Monkey Island’, ‘Grim Fandango’ and ‘Maniac Mansion’.
Gamer response continues to be vocal and damning, with fuming blogs, Facebook updates and Tweets hitting the internet within hours of that decision.
In spite of the outcry, this move is not without precedent. Last September LucasArts blocked all employing and extra product announcements, an action which came right before the corporation’s sale to Disney the next month.
However, during the initial takeover, Disney had stated that all workers would remain in their current positions. Immediately following the changeover, a business spokesperson is reported as saying that “for the time being all initiatives are business as usual. We are excited about the many possibilities that Disney brings.”
Although the corporation’s previous few titles had acknowledged mixed reviews and only small sales achievement, hopes were high for their upcoming releases.
It can be conceivable that Disney will contract out the development of the products to other studios, but it seems more apt that the corporation will now put its efforts towards licensing a variety of tie-in titles for the as-yet unnamed ‘Star Wars VII’, movie scheduled for release in 2015.