updated 07:23 pm EDT, Wed April 3, 2013
LucasArts IP to be farmed out, two newest titles cancelled mid-development
[Update: Raven releases source code for its Star Wars titles] Following its acquisition of Lucasfilm, Disney has shuttered the venerable video game-producing arm of the company, LucasArts. Formerly known as LucasFilm Games, the dissolution of the company will throw approximately 150 people out of work. Rather than develop titles itself, the company is moving to a licensing model with no internal development taking place, and existing titles -- including Star Wars: First Assault and Star Wars 1313 being cancelled.
Disney is saying that the current intellectual property lineup could be licensed to other developers, but Kotaku sees that as unlikely. The gaming news site's source said regarding the outstanding titles in development that "with the teams now basically being dispersed, I think both games are effectively dead forever."
LucasFilm said in a statement that "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."
The move comes a week after the annual Game Developer's Conference, which has not gone unnoticed by industry pundits. Other game developers are noting positions that need to be filled on Twitter, and inviting ex-employees of LucasArts and other developers cut from Square Enix to apply.
The company was originally founded in 1982, when Star Wars creator George Lucas wanted to expand his organization into other venues of entertainment. A policy shift in 2002 required the studio to make 50 percent non-Star Wars titles, most of which were not well received.
Update: Raven Studios, which developed the well-regarded Jedi Outcast and Jedi Academy games in the Star Wars franchise, released the source code for the two projects "in memory of LucasArts." The code comes without any documentation, but should allow savvy developers to create modifications and expansions for the games if demand warrants. The Jedi Outcast source code is downloadable here, while the Jedi Academy game's code is available here.