LucasArts Lays Off Staff, Halts Game Production

LucasArts Lays Off Staff, Halts Videogame

Company to keep small team to handle licensed games.

Lucasfilm is getting out of the videogame-making business.

LucasArts has laid off all its game development and support staff, with a small team remaining to handle licensed products like the Lego “Star Wars” franchise.

Company declined to disclose just how many individuals were pinkslipped or will be involved in the layoffs, but it had around 150 on staff.

“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,” LucasArts said in a statement. “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.”

LucasArts opened its doors in 1982, and while it’s produced games like “Manic Mansion,” “The Secret of Monkey Island” and several based on the “Indiana Jones” franchise, it’s succeeded more with its “Star Wars” titles including “Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic,” “Star Wars: The Force Unleashed” and “Star Wars: The Old Republic,” a massively multiplayer online role-playing game that was the most expensive game produced when it launched in 2011, with a $150 million pricetag, but has struggled to generate a large fanbase.

With the layoffs, LucasArts is no longer working on “Star Wars 1313,” but still hopes to finish the game with another developer. “Star Wars: First Assault” has also been canceled.

The layoffs are taking place as Disney is focusing its interactive business on social media and mobile games. After paying $4.06 billion for Lucasfilm last year, it was only a matter of time before the home of “Star Wars” also took that approach. Games group’s next high-profile release is “Disney Infinity,” which bows August and is the Mouse House’s answer to Activision’s “Skylanders,” incorporating action figures that interact with a videogame.

It also comes as LucasArts has seen its revenue from games rapidly decline over the years. It collected $173 million from sales in the U.S. in 2006, but just $55 million last year, NPD Group said.

Disney also has been quick to work with Lucasfilm’s other divisions, hiring J.J. Abrams to direct a seventh “Star Wars,” dated for 2015, and pulling the plug on its “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” ending its run on Cartoon Network, so that Lucas’ animation team can start producing new shows for Disney XD.

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  1. Hans Olo says:

    I loved LucasArts in its early years. Having said that – the guys who were responsible for games like Monkey Island left a very long time ago and since then it seems like the main goal was to squeeeeze every single last drop of money out of the Star Wars license. They had more than enough time to fix their strategy and reinvent their awesome point&click adventures on iPads and pods and make a hell of a lot more money with them. (And I’m not talking about TellTale games)

    Epic fail in strategy!
    Seems to be very common in aaa studios…
    We all know that Disney doesn’t hesitate to make brutal but logic business decisions… I just wish that in this case they would have forced a change in strategy onto the studio rather than closing it down.

    All the best to the team! (I know you couldn’t have changed a thing)
    May the Fo….. ah scrap that ;)

  2. Luke says:

    Were watching the beginning of the next video game crash

  3. JT says:

    not the way to win fans over

  4. Warren Lee says:

    Boo!! Lucasart’s best games were the unlicensed ones: Monkey Island series (not that Telltale garbage), Day of the Tentacle, Mercenaries 1, Sam and Max (not that Telltale garbage), and Full Throttle. We’ve been waiting ever since for Lucasarts to come back and tell original stories through the gamic medium.

    • bip says:

      But they didn’t really produce great games in the last years. As far as I know Old Republic doesn’t have enough players, Star Wars Kinect was rubbish and Force Unleashed 2 was, despite being good on the technical side, way too short.
      It’s a business decision, of course, but I kinda understand it. I’m not too happy about it. But that’s the way our economy works.

  5. Kelly says:

    How many employees did/does LucasArts have? How many were laid off? Did LucasArts comply with the provisions of Federal and State WARN laws?

  6. Suzanne Levison says:

    What this means is that there are talented artistic professionals on the job market.

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