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Commentary: Disney closes down LucasArts, disappoints some fans

The Force Unleashed II' is a video game from LucasArts. Disney has closed down all operations of the video game developer and publisher LucasArts.

Wednesday started out as any other normal day. 

I woke up, went to class, went to work and then went to my house to turn on some television and relax. My relaxation was soon interrupted when I received a text from a friend that simply said “LucasArts :(“. I wondered what that could mean, so I did a quick search on the Internet only to find heartbreak. As of Wednesday, Disney has closed down all operations of the video game developer and publisher LucasArts

I simply could not believe it. The video game giant that brought us such classics as “Monkey Island,” “Star Wars: Battlefront” and the “Lego Star Wars” series was no more. 

Disney acquired LucasArts on Oct. 30, 2012, with its acquisition of LucasFilms in a multi-billion dollar deal. Since then, Disney has canceled the animated television show “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” announced plans for another “Star Wars” movie and shut down LucasArts.

While the days of LucasArts being a video game developer are over, LucasArts hinted it is not down for the count. According to Wired.com, LucasArts released this statement:

“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.”

What this means is LucasArts will be licensing off titles in order for third-party developers to create them. This has already been done with multiple “Star Wars” titles such as “Knights of the Old Republic” (I and II), “Star Wars: The Old Republic” and even “Lego Star Wars.” 

Although LucasArts had fallen off as of late on the developing of big-hit video games, it did have two games in the middle of development when this announcement came. “Star Wars: First Assault” and “Star Wars 1313” were both highly anticipated games from the developer. “First Assault” was an upcoming first person shooter game, while “1313” gave a gritty and dark view of the “Star Wars” underworld from the perspective of a bounty hunter. “1313” was so far in the development stage that there was game footage released during the most recent E3 conference.

The knowledge of no more Star Wars games from LucasArts is a hard enough pill to swallow on its own, but no more reboots of some of their other classic game titles is almost too much to handle. I remember playing “The Curse of Monkey Island” whenever my parents would go to Kroger and drop me off at the video game day care station they used to have. The “Monkey Island” franchise is just one of many titles that fans were hoping to see a reboot of. “Sam & Max” as well as “Day of the Tentacle” are other examples of early LucasArts titles.

Disney taking the licensing model stance on LucasArts instead of completely shutting it down seems to me that there will be more “Star Wars” games in the future, but not for a long while. I do not see other game developers having much interest in other LucasArts titles besides “Star Wars.”

Disney’s current projects of a seventh “Star Wars” movie and a live-action “Star Wars” series seems to be taking up most of their attention. I’m optimistic for the future but sad for the present. I feel as if I am Princess Leia watching the Death Star blow up her home planet of Alderaan. This might be a sad day for the “Star Wars” galaxy, but I’m still holding onto the trust that Disney will give us a show in the future.

So as I sit here wallowing in self pity over the loss of one of my favorite video game developers, I plan on celebrating the good times we had together by excessively playing LucasArts video games for the next couple of weeks. I can only hope that all of you are able to cope as well as I can. 

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