In an official statement from Disney which recently acquired LucasFilm and LucasArts stated that: “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 organisation. We are incredibly appreciative and proud of the talented teams who have been developing our new titles.”
Recently the company’s core of games based on the Star Wars license have been 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 off.
The cancellation of Star Wars Battlefront III was a big upset, which led to nasty public finger-pointing between LucasArts and developer Free Radical. Star Wars: The Old Republic, the BioWare developed MMORPG (which was co-published with EA), won strong reviews but failed to maintain that momentum, and was unfortunately, for the company, forced into instituting a free-to-play business model.
LucasArt’s other big franchise, Indiana Jones, has failed to make much of a dent in games in recent years, maybe due to the bad connotations between film based games. There was one Indiana Jones 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.
More recently, LucasArts caused a stir at E3 2012 with an impressive looking demo for a new Star Wars project entitled Star Wars 1313. However, in the months that followed, the project seemed to lose steam, and rumours circulated that the game had ceased production.
The last game published by LucasArts as a company is the sub-par Kinect Star Wars. Ironically, many of the games for which LucasArts is best remembered for are not Star Wars games. Its genre-defining ’90s adventure games created by Ron Gilbert and DoubleFine’s Tim Schafer like The Secret of Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle, and Grim Fandango are all still celebrated by fans to this day. That said, there were good Star Wars games over the years, including the X-Wing series, Jedi Knight/Dark Forces series, Knights of the Old Republic, Rogue Squadron, Battlefront, and others.