LucasArts laying off staff as LFL moves to ‘licensing model’ for video games; report says ILM also affected

LucasArtsKotaku reported and GameInformer confirmed with Lucasfilm that the company is in the process of shutting down LucasArts. Kotaku says that 150 have been laid off and both Star Wars: First Assault and Star Wars 1313 have been canceled. Variety is reporting that the layoffs are spilling over to Industrial Light & Magic as well.

Here’s part of the official statement:

“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.”

This has expected for a while, and there was plenty of speculation that LucasArts was headed for the bin even before Disney was in the picture.

Ron Gilbert, creator and co-creater of several of the company’s most iconic games, says goodbye to Lucasfilm Games.

19 thoughts on “LucasArts laying off staff as LFL moves to ‘licensing model’ for video games; report says ILM also affected

  1. Annalee

    :(.

    I know there are complex things involved in moves like this and that we don’t see what-all goes into the decision. But right now, all I’ve got is: :(.

    Reply
  2. Doublesith

    It breaks my heart seeing how Disney has now fired hundreds of people from the various Lucasfilm companies.

    Episode VII better hit it out of the park.

    Reply
  3. Lane

    It kills me to see such an important part of my life growing up close down, but the writing has been on the wall for Lucasarts for years. They’ve been an absolute mess of a development studio that seems like it’s just been on life support.

    This one isn’t on Disney. It’s on Lucasarts.

    Reply
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  5. Jason Ward

    This really sucks. They’ve cut everything… I’m going to miss them. They made some stinkers but they also made some of my favorite games of all time.

    I just hope we don’t end up with really bad games now no matter what.

    Reply
  6. Ryan M.

    Most liscensed material has been on a verifiable upswing, though there are still stinkers, like Activision’s Walking Dead, but they are becoming the exception, not the rule.

    Reply
  7. Doublesith

    Sadly, I don’t think the future is bright for Star Wars video games. Disney has made misstep after misstep on their own video game endeavors.

    I mean, look at all those great Marvel video games that have been published since their own acquisition!

    Reply
  8. Aaron

    Are you sure they’re shutting it down? The way I read it, LucasArts will continue as a license administration company. Sure, they won’t develop games anymore but that’s not necessarily a new thing: Didn’t they shut down their development branch before? I’m thinking ca. 2002 to 2007 here, after Force Commander and before The Force Unleashed.

    And let’s be honest here: The last great LucasArts game was released in the 90s (take your pick between Grim Fandango, X-Wing Alliance or even Dark Forces II). I somewhat doubt that anyone but George Lucas kept LucasArts alive these past years, so Disney is doing little more now than what should have been done 10 years ago. Without the Star Wars licence and Lucasfilm they would have long since gone broke.
    And I’m sorry to see LucasArts go, too, but this isn’t coming out of the blue. It’s just a shame that they never managed to bring the company back on track.

    Reply
    1. Dunc Post author

      I have no idea what they’ve done with development in the past – not my area. I’m reporting this because it’s Lucasfilm, not as a gamer.

      And yeah, the name may live on, but from all accounts it’ll be a shell of what it was. Though some say it already was…

      Reply
  9. jawajames

    I’m a bit disappointed, but not surprised here. Though the licensed games have been hit or miss – The Old Republic (from Bioware/EA) had a very rough start, while Star Wars Angry Birds seems to have taken wing.

    Reply
  10. Lane

    As far as licensed games go, TOR is the biggest miss. They’ve been largely successful on that front over the years. X-Wing, TIE Fighter, XvT, Knights of the Old Republic.

    Reply
  11. Doublesith

    I think you’re confusing externally developed with licensed. KOTOR 1/2 and the X-Wing series were fully funded and published by LucasArts.

    SWTOR and Angry Birds Star Wars are examples of licensed games, on which LucasArts didn’t pay a dime and just get a cut on the sales.

    Reply
  12. Doyle

    Unfortunate. I had kind of hoped that they would pull 1313 off and yank themselves out of their nose-dive. Lucasarts games were a not-insubstantial part of my childhood, but I guess this was kind of inevitable.

    On the other hand, I’m now kind of glad they never called me back after my interview last year.

    Reply
  13. SarahK

    Sad. Years ago, they made most of my favorite point-and-click adventures. Full Throttle. Day of the Tentacle. Sam & Max Hit the Road. …alas, those glory days have been over for a long while. I’ll never forget you, LucasArts! *sniffle*

    Reply
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