What Disney’s Acquisition Means For LucasArts

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The big story of Tuesday was, well, a little too big.  There just wasn’t enough hours in the day to pore over what it all meant. One such division of Lucas’ former empire, LucasArts, has an uncertain future, and people are getting concerned.

Obviously, the big acquisition news and announcement of a new Star Wars movie in 2015, with Episodes 8 and 9 coming out in two-to-three-year production cycles, was the story of the day that got nerd boners a-ragin’. However, after listening to an investors call post-announcement yesterday, I and now a lot of others are starting to wonder about the future of LucasArts.

Disney’s not one to develop very many games in-house. They have a tendency to license out to other developers. The Kingdom Hearts series, for example, is developed by Square Enix. Epic Mickey was farmed out to Warren Specter’s studio.

What games they do develop in-house are not triple-A console and PC titles. They’re typically mobile — iOS games. LucasArts is not built for that, nor are their developers. If they were to suddenly become Disney’s mobile studio, LucasArts would be unchanged in name only — they’d have to hire a completely new staff.

For the time being, their current development is not changing. They’re working on a new game called Star Wars 1313, which has been followed with increasing curiosity by games journalists. You’ll be in the boots of a bounty hunter on level 1313 of Coruscant’s underground. It’s set to be a darker, more mature look into the Star Wars universe, and gamers were getting excited for it. LucasArts had began development with a fully integrated approach — Industrial Light And Magic, LucasFilm Animation, and Skywalker Sound were all involved in Star Wars 1313′s design.

Bob Iger didn’t comment on LucasArts’ future, but it seemed to be made clear that right now, development was not going to be changing.

For the long term, though. Iger made it clear that licensing out to other developers would continue as usual, suggesting that they had no intentions of making LucasArts their Disney in-house development team.

We’ll just have to wait and see. But for now, things are moving forward unchanged.

Question: What LucasArts game property would you like to see revived?

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