Last week entertainment powerhouse Disney closed the doors to LucasArts, and its in-development projects along with it. LucasArts’ parent company, LucasFilm, was purchased by Disney just six short months ago. According to Kotaku, Disney held a meeting in which Lucas employees inquired about the fate of LucasArts. According to Kotaku’s source, Disney CEO Bob Iger stated that it would be “business as usual”. Apparently that means putting everyone out on the street.
Still, on the brighter side, LucasArts had been plagued by mediocre games, cancellations, and just a general lack of releases in the past few years. The role of President of the company changed five times in 10 years, and during that time very few quality games were released. Things dropped off the deep end following the last of the great LucasArts-published games, LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga. While both Force Unleashed games were quite good for a playthrough, they did not in the end live up to the hype train surrounding them.
Since then it’s been a string of disappointments for fans. A few years ago when G4TV hyped a “new LucasArts game reveal” we all watched, sure that it would be the announcement for Star Wars: Battlefront III. It wasn’t. It was instead a poor XBLA game known as Lucidity. Battlefront III had, in fact, been canned. It was in development at Free Radical entertainment, who were cut loose due to several dramatic factors and could not afford to remain open any longer. And now the fates of Star Wars: 1313 and Star Wars: First Assault look grim. Rumors persist that Disney is willing to shop these games around for completion, but most every sign points to the death of these two games.
But perhaps there is hope. Given that Disney will be seeking outside development for future ex-Lucas IPs, perhaps we’ll see some great studios step up and develop new, better Star Wars titles. Maybe Raven Software will finally get the chance to get away from making Call of Duty map packs and return to make new titles as amazing as Jedi Outcast and Jedi Academy. Maybe a studio will step up to start on Grim Fandango HD. Who knows. All we can say at this point is that the dust will need to settle before we see new, great games that game from the properties of our dearly departed LucasArts.