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Wednesday, April 03, 2013

End of an era: Disney closes LucasArts

LucasArts, Disney, closing down
LucasArts is no more.

Disney laid off the entire staff and shuttered the studio this morning.  There had been speculation that LucasArts might be liquidated after Disney acquired Lucasfilm and the other companies beneath its umbrella five months ago.  The video game studio had been flailing in recent years despite moderate successes like LEGO Star Wars.  On the other hand there were turkeys like Kinect Star Wars.  It had been hoped that games like the upcoming Star Wars: 1313 would have increased its fortunes.

But now it's official: LucasArts has been closed down.  Disney has stated that future games will be licensed to other studios for development.  Some like Star Wars: 1313 may never get released at all.  The "LucasArts" name will continue to exist but the firm itself and its development staff has been disbanded.

I can see that as an appropriate measure.  The Star Wars: The Old Republic massive-multiplayer online game was practically developed entirely by BioWare anyway.  This is the way the wind had been blowing for some time...

Even so, a little bit of my youth died today.  Star Wars: X-Wing was the very first computer game that I bought, way back in winter of 1994.  The sequel TIE Fighter consumed most of my summer a few months later.  When I played Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (still one of THE BEST computer role-playing games ever) I obsessively went through all three of the "paths" that Indy could take.  To say nothing of the creatively offbeat games like Full Throttle and Sam and Max Hit the Road.

(I would be remiss if I didn't mention also Rescue on Fractalus: a game that some swear remains one of the most terrifying and fright-inducing more than a quarter century after its release.)

Well, the studio may be gone.  But the memories it evoked will ever burn bright.

Farewell, LucasArts.  And thank you for all the good times you gave us...