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Disney Closes LucasArts 299

Posted by Soulskill
from the if-you-strike-me-down-i-shall-become-more-powerful-than-you-could-possibly-imagine dept.
An anonymous reader sends news that Disney is closing LucasArts. The game studio has been around since 1982, and brought us classics such as Labyrinth, The Secret of Monkey Island, X-Wing, TIE Fighter, and Star Wars: Battlefront. They also published Star Wars: Galaxies, Knights of the Old Republic, and Star Wars: The Old Republic. The company held a meeting today informing employees of the layoffs. "In some ways, the news is not a surprise. LucasArts had seemed directionless in recent years. The company's core business of games based on the Star Wars license have been largely disappointing in both quality and sales. While the company had some success with games like Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and the Battlefront series, both of those franchises seemed to have died on the vine. The cancellation of Star Wars Battlefront III was particularly ugly, which led to nasty public fingerpointing between LucasArts and developer Free Radical. ... LucasArt's other big franchise, Indiana Jones, has failed to make much of a dent in games in recent years, with the exception of Traveller's Tales LEGO Indiana Jones series that, once again, was not developed by LucasArts. Meanwhile, series like Uncharted and Tomb Raider, which are both heavily influenced by the Indiana Jones films, have thrived." If only they hadn't abandoned the X-Wing series of games. I would have bought a new one of those in a heartbeat. Update: 04/04 18:09 GMT by T : Dice.com's news service (Dice.com is the corporate parent of Slashdot) mentions one small silver lining for those employees who stuck it out to the end: the best kind of parting gift. "Soon after the acquisition, a number of people departed LucasArts, deciding the time was right to head out in search of a new job. Many others remained, encouraged to hang on as long as they could by talk of generous severance packages. Sources among those laid off say the packages were, indeed, generous."
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Disney Closes LucasArts

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  • First No! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @02:32PM (#43350371)

    Noooo!

    • by ackthpt (218170) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @02:41PM (#43350483) Homepage Journal

      Noooo!

      First I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.

    • Re:First No! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by pwizard2 (920421) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @03:05PM (#43350761)
      Seriously, fuck Disney!

      I remember the LucasArts games back in their heyday (titles like Outlaws, Dark Forces, Dark Forces II Jedi Knight, etc). One thing I liked about Lucasarts games is they tended to be very mod-friendly; I was part of a community that kept Jedi Knight alive long past its prime with everything ranging from simple weapon mods to custom maps to total conversions. The things that old game engine could do in the right hands were simply amazing.
      • by dimeglio (456244)

        Seriously, fuck Disney!

        Someone sold them to Disney. What did you expect?

      • Re:First No! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by DrXym (126579) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @05:05PM (#43351899)
        I think the key word is "heyday". LucasArts has been pretty blah for the last 5 years. I still own Tie Fighter and many of their early adventure games (this article prompted me to go over and check if I still had the CDs) and they were awesome. But at the end of the day it costs money to run a studio and if they're not making money to cover their costs, what's the point of keeping it going any more?
      • by magarity (164372)

        I remember the LucasArts games back in their heyday (titles like Outlaws, Dark Forces, Dark Forces II Jedi Knight, etc

        Rebellion.

      • titles like Outlaws, Dark Forces, Dark Forces II Jedi Knight, etc

        Maniac Mansion and Day of the Tentacle

      • Re:First No! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ExploHD (888637) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @08:02PM (#43353527)

        Seriously, fuck Disney! I remember the LucasArts games back in their heyday

        The article at Wired.com sums it up best: "The LucasArts that died today is not the one you loved, and it was never going to be again."

      • Re:First No! (Score:4, Interesting)

        by bfandreas (603438) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @09:40PM (#43354189)
        Although I do agree with you in principle all those 1st person Star Wars games you listed were NOT their heyday. In fact, that's when the rot set in and they became an exclusively Star Wars company. That's when all the creativity left the company. That's when they trew in the towel because they couldn't come up with some new IP. And new stuff they did create.

        Grim Fandango, Monkey Island, Sam&Max, the Maniac Mansions, Zack McCracken, Loom...

        Especially Grim Fandango had stronger writing than any of the Star Wars movies themselves.
        By the end of the 90ies if you couldn't come up with a good game mechanic you simply made an FPS. And by the mid 2000s when Lucas Arts couldn't come up with a new IP they simply made Star Wars.

        They created a couple of good Star Wars games. There was X-Wing(which was stupidly brilliant), Tie fighter(which was even better) and the awesome tech demo Rebel Assault(although not much of a game). Speaking of Rebel Assault, they NAILED the rail shooter with that one one hardware that was barely capable to pull it off!

        I remember playing Dark Forces for the first time and I remember being utterly unimpressed. It looked great. It had good level design. But it was just more of the same of what everybody else was doing. But like the RTS genre before that, that was what sold. And continues to sell.

        In my book Lucas and Disney are a perfect match. And Lucas Arts was dead as a dodo for the last 15 years.

        RIP Lucasfilm Games
        • by tehcyder (746570)

          Especially Grim Fandango had stronger writing than any of the Star Wars movies themselves.

          Much as I admire Grim Fandango, that is setting the bar pretty low.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by wisnoskij (1206448)

      http://nooooooooooooooo.com/ [nooooooooooooooo.com]

    • by Haoie (1277294)

      Nice impression of Darth.

      I also would've accepted "do not want!".

    • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @03:51PM (#43351257)
      If it makes you feel any better, eventually the official story will be that LucasArts shot at Disney first.
  • Swtor (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Billly Gates (198444) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @02:33PM (#43350385) Journal

    I am a subscriber. Will the servers shutdown?

    • Re:Swtor (Score:4, Informative)

      by Rinisari (521266) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @02:35PM (#43350423) Homepage Journal

      I think SW:TOR is a BioWare thing, with LucasArts just owning the IP.

    • Re:Swtor (Score:5, Informative)

      by will_die (586523) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @02:36PM (#43350427) Homepage
      Run by Bioware and EA so not affected. Probably the thing of the future instead of developing in house Disney will sell the Star Wars license to whoever wants to pay.
      • Re:Swtor (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ackthpt (218170) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @02:38PM (#43350455) Homepage Journal

        Run by Bioware and EA so not affected. Probably the thing of the future instead of developing in house Disney will sell the Star Wars license to whoever wants to pay.

        Which will probably result in better games anyway.

        • Re:Swtor (Score:5, Insightful)

          by wo1verin3 (473094) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @02:39PM (#43350459) Homepage

          > Run by Bioware and EA ...

          >Which will probably result in better games anyway.

          Said no one ever.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            i like how you decide to cut out the big section of one of your quoted post, that reffered to Disney selling out the licenses, or disney themselves developing
            ah internet~

          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward
            Yup, not even the person you "quoted" said it!
          • Re:Swtor (Score:5, Funny)

            by wisnoskij (1206448) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @03:27PM (#43351021) Homepage

            Ya, because they have been doing great things with the universe recently. -> Angry Birds: Star Wars

          • Bioware and EA both make good games

            (ducks)

            No, seriously, they do (ducks again). EA has done some unforgivable things with DRM, that's what's despicable about them, not quality. Bioware and especially EA have made some hit and miss games, but this is true for almost every other company out there, except maybe for Valve. Their failures are only spectacular because of how much money they pumped into developing them. Sim City the recent one, Spore, they were huge games that were utter crap when delive
            • EA doesn't make games, they make money-collecting Rube Goldberg applications. Any similarity to games is entirely intentional.

              Whatever they offer you, don't feed the plant.

            • Re:Swtor (Score:4, Interesting)

              by Bobfrankly1 (1043848) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @06:40PM (#43352853)

              Bioware and EA both make good games

              Bioware and especially EA have made some hit and miss games,

              EA made Dead space, Mirror's edge, burnout, Timesplitters future perfect, rock band, Dragon age, walking dead, and Alice Madness Returns, all of which I enjoyed.

              Quite wrong.
              Bioware makes games. EA publishes games. EA may at times purchase development houses, but viewing EA as anything more then a publisher with a heavy hand for deadlines and DRM is giving them way too much credit. Some of Bioware's best games were either released or largely finished before EA got involved.

              EA is a festering boil on the video game industry, and it's destruction would be followed by an ewok party an Endor moon.

      • by DocSavage64109 (799754) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @02:46PM (#43350559)
        They should outsource to Rockstar Games [rockstargames.com]. GTA set in a Star Wars universe could be fun.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @02:51PM (#43350615)

          That way I can always shoot first.

        • by Ken_g6 (775014)

          They should outsource to Rockstar Games [rockstargames.com]. GTA set in a Star Wars universe could be fun.

          Grand Theft Android? I might buy that.

        • GTA set in a Star Wars universe could be fun.

          I was going to make a joke involving the Hot Coffee incident, Natalie Portman as Padme, and hot grits, but I decided that was way too much nerdiness for one post.

          So I'm simply going to say that I'd prefer vice versa, Star Wars set in a GTA universe.

  • by csnydermvpsoft (596111) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @02:33PM (#43350393) Homepage

    Sad day. Everyone be sure to raise a grog in their honor.

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      Sad day. Everyone be sure to raise a grog in their honor.

      In the "Do or do not, there is no try" department, Disney didn't "Do"

    • Re:Sad day (Score:4, Interesting)

      by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @02:49PM (#43350589)

      That sad day came a long time ago.

      LucasArts has not done anything that great in a long time. I guess at least we can hope TellTale can get most of the franchises.

  • Not shocking. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kenja (541830) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @02:34PM (#43350411)
    It's now a redundant (meaning duplicated) department. This does not mean the games will stop, it means that they will be made by Disney.
    • by polar red (215081)

      I don't see disney developping good games like monkey island ...

      • by polar red (215081)

        the star-wars bullsh*t however ...

      • by MrEricSir (398214)

        Which raises the question: what happens to Telltale Games? Will they be allowed to keep making games based off the old LucasArts franchises?

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Which raises the question: what happens to Telltale Games? Will they be allowed to keep making games based off the old LucasArts franchises?

          Plural? Their ONLY game based on a LucasArts franchise is Tales of Monkey Island. Sam & Max are owned entirely by Steve Purcell, not LucasArts, and I've yet to hear news of new Telltale releases based on Maniac Mansion, Loom, Full Throttle, Grim Fandango, etc, etc...

      • by Kenja (541830)
        Depends on if they get Pixar to make the movie first.
      • Just Google Stunt Island, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stunt_Island [wikipedia.org]

        That was Disney. They make more then shovel ware movie license games. Well, they used to. Same as Lucasarts really.

        • by bfandreas (603438)
          Lucasfilm Games made the excellent Secret Weapon of the Luftwaffe. SWOTL as in it's day only matched by the excellent Dynamix combat flightsims that followed. There was literally a decade when Lucasfilm Games could do no wrong. They had Larry Holland(X-Wing, SWOTL, Their Finest Hour), Ron Gilbert(MM), Brian Moriarty, Tim Schafer, Steve Purcell and we all still can hum the music of Michael Land.

          Whatever they touched, they mastered. And they did very little Star Wars because that franchise was not yet revit
      • disney produced some ok stuff back in the day.. experimental even.

        now I'm just wondering why the fuck lucasarts is referred to as a games studio in this article when they haven't been a games studio in ages? a games studio makes games.. a publishing company publishes and a middleman just skims money from the deal because they own the ip. now there was a time in the nineties when lucasarts was the developer and someone else was the publisher but lucasarts switched that around about the time lucasarts stopped

        • by SirSlud (67381)

          The Force Unleashed titles were seen as above average (although not spectacular) games and they were developed by LucasArts internally. So really, they have been a games studio, albeit one with a pretty spotty track record over the last 13 years. (The outsourced games you mention of course have been in varying degrees of quality, but it doesn't invalidate that they had an internal development team.)

    • by Hentes (2461350)

      The games have already stopped, this just makes it official.

    • Actually Disney had announced recently that they would stop making games after the poor sales of w.e Mickey game they had released last. I was hoping they wouldnt take the axe to LucasArts, but i guess that was too much to hope for.
  • Grim Fandango (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @02:40PM (#43350473)

    No mention of Grim Fandango in the list of classics?

  • Good (Score:4, Interesting)

    by arekin (2605525) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @02:42PM (#43350509)
    Now other developers can buy into the star wars license and make good games without the license holder holding back out of fear of competition. Waiting for someone to license and start production on a good star wars mmo.
    • Waiting for someone to license and start production on a good star wars mmo.

      There have already been two of those, and I don't think either of them did as well as was planned. I wouldn't expect another one to pop up for at least 5 years.

  • Loom (Score:4, Informative)

    by ygtai (1330807) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @02:46PM (#43350551)
    IIRC, there's this classic Loom.
  • by BenJeremy (181303) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @02:47PM (#43350561)

    I would have paid full price in a heartbeat for a new X-Wing series and a season Pass for the first 4 major DLCs.

    What a cash cow that could be - selling E-Wings or Pirate Frankenfighters for .99 and eventually tying everything back to an MMO. LucasArts should never have ignored the fan's outcry for the past decade for a new reboot of that series on modern desktops.

    I would just hope they would make sure not to piece it up too badly, as many games are these days... but the X-Wing series would have been a natural for the trend. Major DLC to add new missions and fleets would be a no-brainer.

    • by JThundley (631154)

      I grow a massive boner when I fantasize about a new X-Wing [vs Tie Fighter] game. That's the only game I've ever used a DOS emulator to play.

    • by JTsyo (1338447)
      Hopefully, the games can still be made. Disney paid for the IP, I hope it wasn't just to make movies.
      • by gl4ss (559668)

        Hopefully, the games can still be made. Disney paid for the IP, I hope it wasn't just to make movies.

        lucasarts hadn't been actually making any games in years .. disney will still license the ip or produce games - that much is certain. they just don't need a bunch of suits sitting in an office labeled lucasarts. lucasarts track record for the past 10 years is publisher, publisher, publisher and the development houses they chose to make the games almost all were never heard no history development houses they paid bottom dollar for.

    • Totally agree. I never had much free dough, back in the day. But I scrimped and saved to buy each X-Wing game as it was released. I'd also buy a new flight stick - as I'd worn the last one out playing the previous versions.
  • Give me KOTOR 3! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Aboroth (1841308) on Wednesday April 03, 2013 @02:53PM (#43350643)
    Regarding Star Wars titles, Knights of the Old Republic was great, part 2 was clearly rushed and unfinished, but still very enjoyable. Somebody (not EA) should put some effort into a part 3 (and not involve EA in any way whatsoever) and I'd buy that! (Did I mention I wouldn't buy it if EA had anything to do with it?)
    • by xhrit (915936)
      TOR is a horrid mmo, but a decent enough RPG. In fact, I think if TOR had been released as single player console game it would have gotten GOTY. The game lost more then it gained in the transition from single player to mmo. For example, the main story is actually quite good, but the pacing is way off, due to the need to stretch out the story through a typical mmo style grind. If there was no grind the story would be way better - not because of content, but pacing.
  • LucasArts hasn't *created* anything in nearly a decade. It's been a licensing wing of Lucas for years, and Disney's being financially smart to roll it into their other licenses. However, it's a strong name in the gaming industry for a reason, and for historical reasons, they'd have done better to keep the name while rolling it into another division.

    • by Trepidity (597)

      It did do a lot of licensing, but they also had an in-house development division, which is the ~130 people who were laid off today. The last game I can think of that game from them was Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II [wikipedia.org] (2008), which didn't do that well, though. They were also in the process of developing two new in-house titles, Star Wars 1313 and Star Wars: First Assault, both of which are presumably now cancelled (unless they shovel the in-progress work over to a licensee).

  • I bought x-wing when it first came out, but ended up abandoning it due to the poor targeting graphics. The target would turn a dark red, and like many males I have red/green colorblindness, which caused the targeted object to pretty much disappear. Had they left the object brightly lit and put a bracket around it, like Wing Commander or Comanche, I would have been more interested. I liked the degree of control of your ship's resources (something nobody else had at the time) and really wanted to like the

    • by PhxBlue (562201)

      I bought x-wing when it first came out, but ended up abandoning it due to the poor targeting graphics. The target would turn a dark red, and like many males I have red/green colorblindness, which caused the targeted object to pretty much disappear.

      To be fair, you would also have a hard time with being an actual pilot. That said, it would be nice if more companies gave some thought to the colorblindness issue: I remember Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri had problems as well.

      • by roc97007 (608802)

        I bought x-wing when it first came out, but ended up abandoning it due to the poor targeting graphics. The target would turn a dark red, and like many males I have red/green colorblindness, which caused the targeted object to pretty much disappear.

        To be fair, you would also have a hard time with being an actual pilot. That said, it would be nice if more companies gave some thought to the colorblindness issue: I remember Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri had problems as well.

        Agreed. But I didn't want to be a pilot necessarily, just wanted to play the game. And interestingly enough, I didn't have the same problem with Falcon 4.0 or Strike Commander.

        You're absolutely right. There's cool looking, and then there's playability. and the second is more important.

    • Honestly, "Tie Fighter" was vastly superior to the older "X-Wing" game.

      Better graphics, a decent story (in comparison), better targeting, more controls (match speed), etc.

      While I look at "X-Wing" somewhat fondly, it's "Tie Fighter" that really steals my heart. That game is literally in my top 3 favorites video games of all time.

      "X-Wing Alliance" was alright, but it still wasn't as fun as "Tie Fighter"

  • Jar-Jar vs. tie-fighter
    Interplanetary Karaoke with Jar-Jar Binks
    Jar-Jar Dance Revolution
    Jar-Jar's Cajun Cuisine Database
    Typing Tutuorial Featuring Jar-Jar Binks with Free McDonalds Happy Meal

  • For me, they'll always be the firm that produced incredible Atari 800 games, Ballblazer, Behind Jedi Lines and The Eidelon. Fractal games in 1982, Hell yeah!
    • Okay, that cracked me up.
      (It was 'Behind Jaggy Lines'. Or, on ports to other systems, 'Rescue on Fractalus'.)

  • I remember absolutely loving Day of the Tentacle.

    I had always hoped they would bring out more such games.

  • I can't say I'm surprised at this announcement. Really, what has LucasArts done in at least 10+ years that has been good?

    They used to be known for not only their movie-related games, but also creative original ones like Grim Fandango, Full Throttle, etc. But they stopped doing all of that when Episode 1-3 came out. At that point it was just a string of shovelware Starwars games. Even their once successful space-sim games like Xwing and TIE Fighter were abandoned.

    Can you imagine how awesome a modern Starwars

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