REVIEW OF THE YEAR: Disney kills LucasArts

This year saw LucasArts, one of the industry’s best loved games studios, close its doors.

The firm still exists, but rather than developing its own titles, it now works as a licensing business.

The studio being disbanded was the result of Walt Disney’s $4bn purchase of LucasFilm at the end of 2012. All game projects not related to the upcoming Star Wars Episode VII were cut short, including the highly anticipated Star Wars 1313.

LucasArts has had a difficult few years, with a series of management changes, cancelled projects and titles that failed to live up to critical expectations. Meanwhile, Disney has also closed many of its owned games development studios and moved away from boxed game publishing (Disney Infinity is the notable exception).

But the move to licence out the Star Wars brand should be viewed as good news for fans.

The best Star Wars games of the last generation were handled by third party developers, such as Traveller’s Tales with LEGO Star Wars, Rovio with Angry Birds Star Wars, or EA BioWare’s galactic MMO, The Old Republic.

And it is EA that – as of May – has the exclusive rights to make Star Wars console games, and the firm is dedicating its biggest studios to creating titles based on the IP. A new Battlefront game– teased at E3 2013 – is being created by Battlefield creators EA DICE, while BioWare and Dead Space developers Visceral are also on board.

This should help ensure future Star Wars titles live up to their creative potential.

Meanwhile, the minds from LucasArts have found new homes at rising studios such as The Walking?Dead developers TellTale, Wargaming and Double Fine. AC

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