The Mouse Claims Another Victim: Disney Closes LucasArts
First, Disney killed Lucasfilm Animation and any of Lucasfilm’s television aspirations by effectively internally cancelling The Clone Wars and Detours. Now, the Disney bosses have killed of Lucasfilm’s legendary video game development and publishing division LucasArts.
This is a sad day for both Star Wars fans and video game fans. While third-party developers have put out some good products like BioWare’s Knights of the Old Republic and Pandemic’s Battlefront series, LucasArts developed some great games. There’s the likes of X-Wing, Tie Fighter and X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter. There was also my personal favourite, the Dark Forces / Jedi Knight series. Apart from Star Wars offerings, LucasArts were also behind the cult hit Monkey Island games.
While the decision was based on money, it probably wasn’t helped by the number of bad games that LucasArts published over the last stretch. Their last three noteworthy releases were all critical flops to varying degrees. Star Wars: The Old Republic was liked by the big critics but MMO vets were a little cooler about the game and its general lack of innovation. Star Wars Kinect was among the worst games ever made, not just worst Star Wars games. And The Force Unleashed II was a terrible and rushed sequel to a much liked original.
Sadly, this means that we are likely to never see the very promising Star Wars 1313 and First Assault. Still, if Disney is looking to license to third-party devs, I would hope that there’s a KOTOR 3 from BioWare in the works. It would let everyone involved push the reset button on their last few years.
Disney’s official statement is as follows:
“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.”
You know, I thought that getting the might of Disney behind Lucasfilm would be a good thing and take Star Wars in a new and interesting direction. Since then, they’ve done nothing to justify my confidence and everything to make me think that George made a massive mistake in selling his company and his legacy to Disney.