Speculation. I generally stay away from this sort of thing, but Mike Cooper’s piece on JJ Abrams, Jesse Plemons, and the best-case scenario is a good read based on some of the things we’ve heard. (I still hope that Plemons isn’t in the mix for a Skywalker, though.)
Report. The Albuquerque Journal’s ReelNM blog says the the reports of Episode VII filming in Mexico are false. “New Mexico was never on the list for the film,” their source says. The New Mexico rumor started by a local film blog, with Latino Review narrowing the location down to Las Cruces.
Gaming.IGN unleashed a bunch of stuff on 1313, the video game that may or may not have been canceled in the post-Disney shakeup. A source tells TFN to lean heavily on the ‘may not.’
With the official word that Lucasfilm’s video game division, LucasArts, was being effectively shut down this week, there’s been a lot of reminiscing of the great titles that LucasArts had developed and some investigation for why the closing happened, and the search for a silver lining.
With the company’s re-alignment to solely focus on licensing Lucasfilm’s intellectual property to outside game developers, in-house game development has been shut down, finally cancelling Star Wars: 1313 and First Assault games. (See our guest column from Paul Ens suggesting that Dark Horse could turn these game projects into graphic novels.) I’ve rounded up some of the views on the closure, with a look at LucasArts’ recent history, and some tributes to the game company that started in 1982 and the people who worked there, as well as my own nostalgic look at some of the games that were part of my life.
Wednesday, it was announced that Disney is closing down LucasArts, the video game division of Lucasfilm. This news did not come as a surprise to me, nor likely to many who follow the storied company closely. In the process, an estimated 150 employees have been laid off, including friends and former colleagues of mine. To they who worked very hard everyday to bring interactive Star Wars entertainment to the fans, we wish the best of luck.
Like every aspect of Star Wars fandom, the pros and cons of this move will be hotly discussed and contested among fans, and perhaps I will join you when the wound has healed somewhat.
Meanwhile, for those who lament that they will never see cancelled LucasArts projects Star Wars: 1313 and Star Wars: First Assault, might I suggest that you may one day have a rescuer in Dark Horse Comics?
Kotaku 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.
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.
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.
Brace yourselves, people. You not only have me reporting your Star Wars news instead of Dunc, but it’s video game news. So you’re kinda doomed. But let’s see what we can piece together, because it sounds kinda interesting. (And 13 is my favorite number.)
Well, something is on the horizon, but I’m not even going to begin to guess. Lucasfilm has filed for a trademark application for Star Wars: 1313, and registered various domains utilizing various permutations of Star Wars and the number.
Blastr theorizes it may have something to do with Boba Fett, who uses ‘CT-1313’ as an alias in a 2003 YA novel, but I’m not sold. Or, it could be a video game. (Play me once…)
In fact, all that comes to mind for me is Cleopatra 2525, a silly-awful ’01 syndicated series from the makers of Xena: Warrior Princess that starred a pre-Firefly Gina Torres. And clearly has nothing to do with this outside of a brain full of random pop culture dribblings.