Disney closes LucasArts

Written by Edward Chester

April 3, 2013 | 19:06

Tags: #closes #licensing

Companies: #disney #lucasarts

Disney has pulled the plug on the legendary games studio LucasArts, mere months after it paid $4.05billion for it and LucasFilm.

"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," said Disney, speaking to Game Informer.

Disney also confirmed that the move to a licensing structure will result in job losses: "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."

Founded in 1982 by George Lucas as an attempt to broaden the portfolio of his LucasFilm company, LucasArts was both a games developer and publisher that released its first game, Ballblazer in 1984 in collaboration with Atari. It continued to steadily release games until it had its first major breakthrough with the 2D point-and-click adventure game The Secret of Monkey Island (1990).

This was followed by a string of successful 2D adventure games including Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge (1991), Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (1992) and the Maniac Mansion sequel Maniac Mansion: Day of the Tentacle (1993), as well as more latterly the 3D adventure Grim Fandango (1998). All were known for a quirky sense of humour which endeared the company to many gamers.

Following this it had huge success as a publisher with the very popular Star Wars: Jedi Knight series (1995-2003). However, more recently the company has struggled to find a big hit, with only the Lego Star Wars series making an impact. It also failed to ever find much success with any Indiana Jones games.

With its most recent title, Kinect Star Wars, also largely passing unnoticed, the writing was on the wall once Disney bought both companies from Lucas. Its upcoming third-person action shooter, Star Wars 1313, had been looking promising but this has now been cancelled.

It's a fair bet many of you have fond memories of at least one LucasArts game. Share your grief in the comments. Bagsy not telling Joe Martin.
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