After purchasing Lucasfilm last October, Disney has decided to shut down the company's video game development arm, LucasArts. In a statement released to GameInformer, Disney says that it's "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 part of the decision, the company will be laying off an unspecified number of employees across the company.
The shutdown doesn't come as a surprise to the industry. Beyond the state of LucasArts in recent years (which saw titles like Battlefront III canceled mid-development), Disney hinted it would be moving away from home console games when it first made the Lucasfilm acquisition, and it left the door open at that time for licensing the Star Wars properties and others to third-party developers. Most recently, LucasArts drew positive feedback for Star Wars 1313, which was intended to be a "mature" action title following a bounty hunter. The status of that title, in light of today's news, is unclear; Disney tells Polygon that it is looking into other options for releasing the game now that LucasArts will not be behind development any longer. The last game released by LucasArts was Kinect Star Wars. Full statement below.
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.