Not even Obi-Wan Kenobi could have saved this game studio.
When Disney (NYSE:
the entire Star Wars franchise
last fall, many wondered what would become of the beloved
The studio quickly announced that three new Star Wars films
were in development. JJ Abrams, famous for directing two Star
Trek films and for creating a number of hit TV shows, will helm
the new trilogy.
Other directors are expected to take on a handful of Star Wars
spin-offs, TV shows and other projects.
While this may not sound like the most productive way to use
the Star Wars license, consumers will have to wait until the
projects are finished before they can fully judge Disney's
Unfortunately, there has already been one casualty. Lucasfilm
may be in full production mode, but LucasArts -- George Lucas'
game division, which was acquired as part of the buyout last fall
-- has been shut down.
, LucasArts still exists as one of the many divisions at Disney.
However, Disney has halted production of all games at the studio,
indicating that LucasArts' days are numbered.
Lucasfilm spokeswoman Barbara Gamlen told Computerworld that
"no decisions have been made yet" regarding the studio's future.
"We've moved to a different structure and are considering whether
we market under the LucasArts brand name."
At this point that seems very unlikely. According to
, the studio has been shut down. While it is not yet known how
many individuals will lose their jobs, layoffs are expected
across the board.
Disney reportedly intends to use third-party developers to
develop fresh Star Wars games.
This is a very different strategy from the one Disney employed
last decade when it acquired Climax Racing and other studios to
beef up its game lineup. Disney also pulled Pixar game
development away from THQ to publish those games internally.
The studio took things one step further when it acquired
Junction Point Studios from Warren Spector, a man best known for
the Deus Ex franchise. Spector was famous for creating dark,
adult-oriented video games, but he was overjoyed to be working
"I believe that the creative talents of our two companies and
our shared ambition to bring distinctive, compelling experiences
to gamers make this an ideal alliance," Spector told
in 2007. "We look forward to bringing exciting, innovative, and
entertaining new experiences to gamers and Disney fans
After releasing two Epic Mickey games, Disney shut down
Junction Point Studios. Disney also shut down three other studios
-- Propaganda Games, Climax (known as Black Rock Studios) and
Fall Line Studios, which was merged into a remaining
Disney eventually caved and moved Pixar game duties back to a
third-party developer. In 2012, the studio turned to Behaviour
Interactive to develop the video game based on Brave. Disney also
enlisted in the help
of Activision to produce and promote the Wreck-It Ralph video
Observers suspect that by closing LucasArts, Disney will cease
production of Star Wars 1313, one of the most anticipated games
to bear the Star Wars name. However, a Lucasfilm representative
that the title could be saved and "come out via licensing."
Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer
of Benzinga. You can reach him at 248-636-1322 or
firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him
(c) 2013 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment
advice. All rights reserved.
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