LucasArts is dead!
Disney has shut down LucasArts game studios and laid off all their employees. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for six months, you should know that George Lucas not too long ago sold LucasFilms and all associated properties to the Disney corporation. One of these, of course, was LucasFilms’ official game studio LucasArts (previously known as LucasArts Entertainment Company and LucasFilm Games). Apart from creating and releasing numerous Star Wars-titles, a long-long time ago, the company was also responsible for releasing some of the greatest adventure games of all time such as Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, Day of the Tentacle, Sam & Max Hit the Road, Full Throttle, Grim Fandango and the Monkey Island series.
The reason for the closure, in case anyone is curious, is that Disney wants to licence out the LucasArts and its own properties to different developers and is not so concerned with developing games internally. Being Disney, that makes sense, but I can understand why suddenly losing their jobs is gonna suck majorly for all the LucasArts staff. And yet, at the same time, I’m not really too sad about this move. LucasArts stopped making adventure games after Escape from Monkey Island in 2000 (cancelling sequels to both Sam & Max and Full Throttle) and the most recent ventures into adventure games they have made were back in 2009 and 2010 when they came out with the Special Editions of the first two Monkey Island games.
Not to mention that pretty much the only Star Wars games that I’ve given a considerable crap about since (Jedi Knight, KOTOR etc.) were all developed by other companies. So, I’ve been rather uninterested in the company’s current state. The only upside here is that the company will still technically exist as a licence holder for all the LucasArts properties. The good news, there may yet be hope for a sixth Monkey Island game if those guys over at TellTale ever get around to it – but this pretty much dashes any hopes of further Special Editions of older LA games into the wind.
So yes, for anyone waiting for the newest Star Wars title out there, my condolences, but at the same time I hope Disney wont let LucasArts’ other properties just sit and rot as they prepare for the inevitable merchandising wave of the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII.