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.

Rumor mill: Is LucasArts facing a shutdown?

Unlike the ending of Clone Wars, reports of a possible LucasArts shutdown in the works are anything but surprising. While Kotaku’s report on the future of 1313 was mostly based on sources, the absence of the game – perhaps LucasArt’s hottest upcoming property – from any recent industry events is rather telling.
LucasArts
This week, another report from GamesIndustry International has been making the rounds. LucasArts told them that the speculation of a shutdown is “one hundred percent not true” and that “everything is moving ahead.”

Ex-employees are less optimistic, echoing much of what you’ll hear from gamers themselves these days:

The studio’s performance in recent years has not impressed former LucasArts employees. One ex-LucasArts employee had this to say: “The ‘business’ has been on life-support since the Star Wars license and subsequent development for their best title went to Bioware/EA. I’m frankly amazed that they’ve stayed in business this long. No stomach for truly original product, and slender means to produce their previous cash cows – Indy and Star Wars.”

Given Disney’s history with their gaming divisions, along with some other hints, you can’t blame anyone for worrying about the future of LucasArts these days.

The (completely unofficial) Star Wars style guide: Terms every fan should know how to use correctly

Every time I see someone use the term ‘Jedis,’ I sigh.

Maybe it’s petty, but few things drive me battier than glaring Star Wars typos, particularly when they come from professional and semi-professional news outlets. Here are a few Star Wars terms and spellings every fan (and entertainment journalist) ought to know and use correctly in the years ahead.

Continue reading “The (completely unofficial) Star Wars style guide: Terms every fan should know how to use correctly”

How to get a job at Lucasfilm (in the 80’s)

A peek at Tim Schafer's infamous cover letterGame designer Tim Schafer shares the tale (and scans) of how he got his first job in the industry, at Lucasfilm Games. (The LucasArts name didn’t join the party until 1990.) There’s some quality hilarity here:

I called David Fox right away and scribbled all the notes you see while I was talking to him. I told him how much I wanted to work at Lucasfilm, not because of Star Wars, but because I loved, “Ball Blaster.”

“Ball Blaster, eh?” he said.

“Yeah! I love Ball Blaster!” I said. It was true. I had broken a joystick playing that game on my Atari 800.

“Well, the name of the game is Ball Blazer.” Mr. Fox said, curtly. “It was only called Ball Blaster in the pirated version.”

Gulp.

But the best part may be his cover letter – which is in the style of a text adventure.