Dark day indeed for Star Wars games fans and fans of LucasArts in general, as GameInformer has confirmed that Disney has closed the LucasArts game publisher.
The following is the official statement from Disney:
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.
It's no secret that LucasArts has been struggling over the years, but many were very excited about LucasArts' announcement of Star Wars 1313 at E3 2012. Even though not much had been heard about the project since then, and the studio released a, uh, horrible Kinect Star Wars game in the meantime, many still had hope for the project, and it seemed that if it was a great as what they showed at E3, the game could turn the studio around.
Well, the game will not ever get that chance. All games have been cancelled, and the staff at LucasArts has been let go.
Disney has been doing a lot of cleaning house since acquiring George Lucas' franchise. Just before this announcement, Disney cancelled Lucasfilm's long-running The Clone Wars cartoon that ran on Cartoon Network. Could it be that Disney wants a completely clean slate for when they start releasing their own Star Wars products?
UPDATE: New statements from Disney have been released, giving some hope that these titles from LucasArts, like Star Wars: 1313, could be saved.
It is worth noting that we are looking for proven external partners who can help us provide video games to our fans. We still believe in the video game industry, we still will provide Star Wars games, we're just looking at different models rather than internal production… They're evaluating everything. There's always a possibility that it [Star Wars 1313] can still come out via licensing.
So basically, Disney could outsource the unfinished products, but they have no interest in producing the titles themselves.
For me personally, I'm not that optimistic. Disney may be saying they could do this, but whether they actually do it is a different story.