Jim Ward unexpectedly leaves videogame publisher

LucasArts prexy Jim Ward has ankled, leaving the vidgame publisher without a top exec.

Move doesn’t appear to be related to the company’s performance, as the vidgame division of Lucasfilm is riding high on the success of three “Lego Star Wars” titles and has highly anticipated games — “The Force Unleashed,” “Lego Indiana Jones” and original property “Fracture” — coming out this year.

A 10-year Lucas vet, Ward transitioned from senior VP of marketing for Lucasfilm to become prexy of LucasArts in 2004. He has pushed the publisher to expand its portfolio of original titles while still maintaining a slate of “Star Wars” games. He has also overseen layoffs in order to lower costs.

“I am so proud of all the people and the work we’ve done together at LucasArts over the last four years,” Ward said in a statement. “Together we’ve rebooted the company.”

Howard Roffman, head of Lucas Licensing, will serve as interim topper of LucasArts until a new exec in charge can be found.

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