LucasArts was closed down by its new parent company, Disney, yesterday. My initial reaction was one of horror that such a venerable studio could be so mercilessly shuttered by the money-grabbing suits at Mickey Mouse Inc.
However, after thinking about it a little bit, I’ve realised that basically the story was “studio that used to have some people there who made some games I loved 15-20 years ago closed down.” The LucasArts that was shut by Disney wasn’t the LucasArts that made Monkey Island and Grim Fandango, it was the LucasArts that made Star Wars Kinect. So while I hope everyone involved lands on their feet, I doubt I’ll personally miss that studio’s output too much.
But wait, I was pretty excited for Star Wars 1313. The as-yet Jedi-less action game that turned heads when it was demonstrated at last year’s E3 looked gorgeous and seemed to have an interesting approach – it followed a bounty hunter as he worked in the underbelly of Coruscant’s crime-packed walkways. And it’s very likely that this will never see the light of day (the studio is closed and the people are job hunting).
Again, that’s initially very disappointing. But, according to Christofer Sundberg of Avalanche Studios (Just Cause 2), his friends within the development team of 1313 said they needed another 2 years to finish it.
— Christofer Sundberg 🧨 Game dev on a battle-break (@CHSundberg) April 3, 2013
So, while the E3 demo was incredibly impressive, it was probably the only bit of the game they’d actually built at that point. A lot can happen in what would surely have been roughly three years since that first sighting and the game’s release and mourning the loss of something that had so many potential outcomes seems fruitless.
Let’s hope that Disney’s new approach for Lucas properties – to sell rights to make games for their IP – means that some great studios get some great properties to work with. Who knows, maybe someone will want to pick up the idea of 1313 and finish it?
Oh, and if they’re not making games at all any more, can Disney just give the Monkey Island rights to Ron Gilbert, please?