Disney have closed up the LucasArts game studio, immediately cancelling all upcoming games and sacking all staff, it is reported in the last few days.
Disney will however use the LucasArts name to license games, however the studio will not be working on any new titles and all accessible products are scrapped.
The multimedia entertainment company, which purchased LucasArts, along with the film business Lucasfilm in 2012 for $4.05 Billion, informed the employees of the decision this morning. The move is expected to force about a hundred and fifty employees into unemployment.
A spokesperson for Disney said, “After evaluating our situation within the games marketplace, we have decided to move LucasArts from an inside development to a licensing model, minimizing the company’s risk while attaining a broader portfolio of quality Star Wars games.”
LucasArts was a outstanding games maker, principally acknowledged for developing Star Wars tie-in games (two of which, ‘Star Wars 1313’ and ‘Star Wars: First Assault’ are high profile victims of the shutdown).
The company was moreover extremely influential to the expansion of the ‘adventure games’ genre within the 80’s and 90’s, producing such notable works as ‘The Secret of Monkey Island’, ‘Grim Fandango’ and ‘Maniac Mansion’.
Gamer response has been vocal and damning, with angry blogs, Facebook updates and Tweets hitting the web within hours of that announcement.
In spite of the outcry, this move isn’t without precedent. Last September LucasArts blocked all hiring and new product bulletins, an action which came right before the corporation’s sale to Disney the next month.
However, throughout the preliminary takeover, Disney had affirmed that all employees would remain in their current positions. Immediately subsequent the changeover, a business representative is reported as saying that “for the time being all initiatives are business as usual. We are excited about the many possibilities that Disney brings.”
Although the company’s previous few games had acknowledged mixed feedback and only limited sales achievement, hopes were high for their upcoming releases.
It’s conceivable that Disney will farm out the development of the products to other studios, but it appears more probable that the corporation will now put its hard work towards licensing a variety of tie-in titles for the as-yet unnamed ‘Star Wars VII’, film scheduled for release in 2015.