Reports are coming out that Disney has shut down LucasArts this morning and laid off its 150 employees, and that the next big LucasArts game, Star Wars 1313, has been canceled - although it may have a future release as an outside licensee-developed game. The writing has been on the wall with LucasArts ever since the Walt Disney company bought Lucasfilm and its subsidiaries late last year - first through a hiring freeze, then talk of games being developed by other studios, and now through LucasArts and Disney representatives.
GameInformer has received this 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."
Star Wars 1313 was being developed as the next big Star Wars game, taking on the role of a bounty hunter delving down to Coruscant's depths - level 1313 specifically, which got a bit of a preview in the last few episodes of The Clone Wars cartoon where it visited nearby levels. The game was shown to have a lush look and gameplay style akin to the popular "Uncharted" game series of action adventure platformers, a promising region of gaming for Star Wars to move into.
Disney's representative said of 1313 to GameInformer: "There's always a possibility that it [Star Wars 1313] can still come out via licensing."
The closing of LucasArts comes on the heels of Disney shuttering Lucas Animation and the Star Wars The Clone Wars team. LucasArts was founded in 1982 and produced many Star Wars games, and also other titles such as Maniac Mansion, Sam & Max Hit the Road, and the Monkey Island series.