BREAKING: Disney Shuts Down LucasArts; 150 Staffers Laid Off

The shake-out from Disney’s $4 billion acquisition of Lucasfilm continues. This morning, Disney shut down LucasArts, the 31-year-old gaming division of Lucasfilm. They gutted the whole division with approximately 150 employees losing their jobs.

The 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.”

The layoffs follow on the heels of the dozens of Lucasfilm Animation employees who were laid off after the cancellation of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The only question that remains is what inspiring piece of photography this Lucasfilm exec will post on his Tumblr to commemorate the shut down.

For commentary on the LucasArts shuttering, here’s a perspective from GameInformer.com.


  • Alex Vvedensky

    Phew! I read “Disney Shuts Down LucasFilms” first. What a relief. It was pretty predictable to shut down it as there was nothing successful released by it lately. Not a move I would ever care for.

  • http://pabster.tumblr.com/ Anonymous

    I grew up with being a pilot of an X-Wing (I was an awful gamer though) RIP Lucas Arts

  • http://twitter.com/mrcromartie1989 AC

    Damn. First Assault looked awesome.

  • http://dailygrail.com/ Red Pill Junkie

    I feel a great disturbance in the Force, as if thousands of artists suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly fired…

    • http://twitter.com/robertkohr Robert Kohr

      Epic

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=707344173 Harry Hairapetian

      That was spot on. “Remember Alderaan! “

  • Ben

    Drat. Guess it’s time to let that ‘Day of the Tentacle 2′ dream die.

  • http://twitter.com/coolTEENgoblin Russ BADPERSON Walsh

    So uh… I guess we can rule out a Grim Fandango sequel now?

    • http://twitter.com/KrisAsard Kris Åsard

      Quite on the contrary, now that the properties will be up for licensing, maybe we’ll FiNALLY get to return to the worlds of Fandango, Full Throttle, Maniac Mansion etc. Lets not forget it was Lucasart themselves who very publicly pulled the plug on that entire gaming genre a few years back.

  • Anonymous

    First off, these layoffs are as troubling as the hundred plus that occurred last month at Lucasfilm Animation.
    Second, you’re really going to double down on your bashing of, Colum, Amid?

    • illustration junkie

      Agreed and agreed

  • Francisco

    Lucasarts was already a big mess. A more in depth look at the situation instead of blaming the disney. acquisition. http://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/archive/2013/04/03/disney-closes-game-publisher-lucasarts.aspx

    • StarWars987

      Actually they were recovering star wars 1313 could’ve helped them get back up and star wars first assault could’ve helped also

  • Luke

    So no 1313?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matt-Sullivan/100001833542564 Matt Sullivan

    I believe this is only the start of what I call “The great-layoff-ening” This is going to continue. I think it’s time for all of us to take our work to youtube or vimeo or make our own studios because we simply can’t rely on the existing studio system. it’s dying, as you can plainly see.

  • http://twitter.com/ILikePetsDaily I Like Pets Daily

    Pretty straight forward and proper business move. Lot of talent so hoping for some indies to spring up.

    • DarylT

      A well informed comment.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Thoriun Adriano Alves da Rocha

    It’s something that i though it could happen, and it did. Anyway not a big suprise, Disney has their teams and all it wanted was the Star Wars brand, and it’s was the natural move, but it’s also the natural move of the fans not to see the new movies. even with the same old actors. at least i don’t see a reason to give money for Disney everything has an end, and when the dark horse licence is up, i’ll probably stop buying the comics.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brian.olson.56679 Brian Olson

    When a privately-held company is acquired by a publicly-held organization this is what you can expect. Shareholders call the shots where money, not creativity, rule.

    Not to say Lucas was perfectly without fault but relatively speaking he had the structure in place to foster development.

    • Shazbot

      Shareholders run Disney now, and that’s very scary if you’ve ever been to a shareholders’ meeting. :P At the last one, somebody griped at Iger about the parking lot signage at WDW’s Mickey and Friends parking structure, and one lady gave Iger a story she’d written about Mr. Toad and Donald Duck!!!! I mean, DAMN!

  • Natalie Belton

    Man, this is depressing. The sheer amount of layoffs throughout the animation and sfx industry has been jarring.

  • michael

    Disney’s Crankiest Veteran is Still Cranky and he is right….yeah…artist’s …take your beautifull artwork and leave all those big studio’s….if you keep workin’for them….the time will come….they fire you someday….keep the art for youself….in the end you’ll be glad you did……don’t let them use you……

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1043631958 James Nethery

    “The shroud of the Mouse Side has fallen… begun, the layoffs have”.

  • Hulk

    I believe Yoda said it best: “Oy vey”.

  • Nicole

    I agree with whats said above, artists should try and start up their own studios now. Especially since crowdsourcing has been very successful to a lot of independent projects lately.

  • Seni Oyewole

    This deal is getting worse all the time

  • AmidAmidi

    Don’t know him from Adam. But commemorating employee layoffs by posting dopey platitudes on Tumblr is repellent behavior even by animation exec standards and will be noted here.

  • David Blackwell

    I’m really enjoying Cartoon Brew holding Disney to task on all these layoffs. Sure it’s ‘business’, but that doesn’t mean it’s good, or even progress. People who only care about Disney/Lucasfilm because of the star wars license, won’t know how this news affects animators who grew up playing Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle… Grim Fandango…

  • http://twitter.com/robertkohr Robert Kohr

    A lot of big media companies go this route, using vendors for game development as opposed to a cutting edge internal team, so its not surprising. In the end it does suck.

  • http://twitter.com/robertkohr Robert Kohr

    Also the only reason to keep an internal team is if you are offering up something cutting edge. If you are just turning IP into games its not worth it.

  • Marvin

    George Lucas was really the world’s most successful Disney fan. He delivered “Star Wars” and co-delivered “Raiders of the Lost Ark” at a point when Disney had forgotten how to make such content itself, (partly inspiring the Touchstone pictures division in the early 1980s) incubated the seed of what would later become Pixar, then greatly abetted his personal retirement fortune by selling his company lock, stock and barrel to Disney in his old age. Lucas’s Disney worship resulted not only in vast enrichment of the corporate Disney brand but he also provided a private company model of a creative farm team operation, which is the element in which the Walt Disney Company in 2013 is arguably least interested. At least Brenda Chapman knew when to jump while the jumping was still good, well aware of what having Disney as the parent company of any operation really means. The hundreds of other artists may not be quite so lucky.

    • http://twitter.com/BongBong BongBong

      Steve Jobs also had aspirations to be the next Walt Disney, you know.

  • Ivan

    Somebody never played X-Wing, TIE Fighter or Dark Forces.

  • Walt

    The time has come…execute order 66.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pete.mcevoy.3 Pete McEvoy

    Iconic logo, it will be missed

  • z-k

    Following the links on GameInformer about the whole Star Wars Battlefront III dust-up between LucasArts and Free Radical.

    The follow-up from Free Radical’s Ellis about why SWBIII didn’t make the shelves is interesting. On the one hand, he says that “In 2008, LucasArts was a company with problems”, and places the blame – maybe rightfully so – on LucasArts’ revolving door of management. Yet before this he states that “it was the best publisher relationship we had ever had” – and I’m assuming this is prior to the revolving chair situation at LucasArts in mid ’08.

    Upshot seems to be that Free Radical took on too much when offered to do a part IV while still working on getting part III out the door (Ellis admits as much elsewhere), and were thrown for a loop when management at LucasArts didn’t jibe with working out/with any further delays or push-backs on release dates 2 1/2 years in. In fact, even though Ellis states “The suggestion that we kept our difficulties to ourselves is also false”, he belatedly admits in the very next sentence:

    “We may have been guilty of this in our earlier publisher relationships, believing that we could quietly deal with our problems by ourselves and not have to risk instigating a situation where the publishers response added further risk to the project or our company. However, with LucasArts this was absolutely not the case…”

    So, though you admit to playing fast and loose with scheduling promises to paymasters in the past, it didn’t happen this time. No; but yes; but no, really.

    Seems a case of Messerschmitt (or any of the other weapons contractors at the time) promising the Fuhrer yet another one of his coveted jet propelled interceptor and bomber projects. All rolled into one!, the weapon that’ll turn the tide of war; nevermind the Allies advancing on all fronts.

  • http://twitter.com/BongBong BongBong

    I sort of agree. I’ve never been satisfied with the flying/fighting games from LucasArts.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003834121809 Anu Nigul Guptill

    BOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

    LUCASARTS HAS MADE SOME OF THE BEST GAMES OF HISTORY!

  • Gabriel Lemos

    What about Star Wars the Old Republic??????