Yesterday's Biggest Bummer of the Day was the announcement that LucasArts is no more. In a brief statement delivered to Game Informer, Disney revealed that it has all but closed the studio, switching its model from internal games development to just straight-up licensing.

"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."

We weren't kidding about the size of this bummer. LucasArts has a storied history as a developer, pumping out greats like Secret of Monkey Island, Full Throttle, Zombies Ate My Neighbors, and a bunch of Star Wars titles. Of late, the studio seemed a bit ... directionless as executives kept shuffling in and out, so maybe this isn't that much of a surprise in hindsight.

On iPhone and iPad, LucasArts managed to release its two brilliant Monkey Island re-releases, as well as a Monkey Island soundboard. As a licensor, we imagine that we'll see a lot more mobile activity as Disney is definitely keen on phone and tablet games. We guess that's the silver lining, maybe.

[via Joystiq, via Game Informer]

  • wildperson

    Honestly, this isn't as awful as it sounds. Lucasarts was very disorganized the past few years, and had few good titles. This way, their identity is more set as simply a sub-company to hand out licenses for their franchises. Hopefully that'll work in their favor.

    • con4224

      "hopefully that'll work in their favor"

      I wonder who 'they' is in this.
      This looks like one of these sad stories were management fails to give a company a direction, or a company's structures are changed in a paralizing way, and finally it goes all down the river. But the franchise is still a good way for its owner to get rid of all risk and still get the money...
      sad. I wish all laid off people good luck with their new jobs (and with finding one)

      • kindx

        "They, " is Disney. With two recent blowouts in gaming, I doubt management in any form was too eager to jump onto that train again. Gaming is going through a hard spot right now with the mobile market on the rise, and the economy shifting focus from top-class AAA titles to lower budget games. It's simply more a financially sound decision than the lack of motivated management.

    • Karzay

      Not as bad as it sounds if you don't care for the studio or the people who were laid off.

      • Sunshine

        As awful as it sounds, this is not always a bad thing, even for the people involved. Sometimes an organization is just poisoned, flawed on some level that isn't going to get fixed. Not can't be fixed, but not likely to be. Organizations like that can often shamble along for years on borrowed money and bad promises.

        When you're in a mess like that, it's often hard to see that you'd be better off getting out of dodge. Think of it as an abusive relationship. You can be convinced that it'll all be good if you can just get to that next milestone, get to the next holiday and regroup, just waiting for the lucky break everyone knows is just 6 months away.

        I don't exactly know what Lucas Arts was like, but their recent history sure sounds familiar. Here's hoping that releasing a bunch of talented people into the wild will result in good finds for other studios, or entirely new companies being formed. Young, agile companies where these people can shine properly.

  • kindx

    Other than the loss of jobs, I see only positives in this move. Disney is terrible when it comes to the development of games. Hopefully they will be relatively careful with the license, and not so dramatically expensive to inhibit experimentation. I look forward to seeing what yet can do with the license, honestly. Beforehand, I was just terrified to see another developer failing to uphold on his end of the bargain; Epic Mickey 1&2.

  • B30

    So the doors are open now, for e.g. Electronic Farts to make some AAA Star Wars titles with a crapload of micro-transactions and iap, yay!! :((

    • Aventador

      I wouldn't mind Gameloft re-releasing Star Wars : Battlefront with multiplayer though

  • Praymettin

    I hope Disney drops dead. No, wait... He is already dead! Aww man, an undead army is leading the company now! Ruuun! Or they'll take take over and terminate us too :(

  • Shadowking2214

    The people who helped make KOTOR are gone? Ear muffs kids...

  • ratsinheat

    Couldn't care less. If the developers and designers make such a great games they'll land on their feet somewhere else.

  • ramon31

    Maniac Mansion on iPhone and iPad would be tops...
    Get to it Mickey Mouse!

  • Hiraether

    Dizknee boycott, go.

  • chriscambell

    No!

  • Gamer_Kev

    Lucas Arts was one of my favorite companies for producing computer games every since I first played Ballblazer on my Atari 800xl back in the eighties. Even though the company of recent times little reassembled the company that once was one of my favorites, it's still sad to see them go. Besides the Monkey Island games, I fondly remember many others like Rescue on Faculas, The Edilon, Full Throttle, the X-Wing series, Kronos Rift, Maniac Mansion and of course my personal favorite Lucas Arts game of all time, Day of the Tentacle. Now that they're been officially dissolved, it almost feels like the end of an era.

  • Shiro

    It can't be...it was alive, I felt it! *ground shakes all around everyone as he busts loose from the tray holding him down* AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH...NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!