Within the last 24 hours, castrating Disney has become a fashionable pastime. The LucasArts closure announcement inspired a great deal of resentment, which makes sense considering the company’s place in gaming history. But let’s be honest; we all knew it was coming. In fact, it actually seems a little redundant.
Disney didn’t spend four billion dollars on George Lucas’s back catalog in order to keep dumping development money into the black hole that LucasArts has become. The last game that LucasArts actually developed was Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II, and that was released in 2010. Since then, Lucas has simply licensed their franchises to other developers and slapped their logo on the box. Disney doesn’t need a developer to do this.
In fact, the closure only really affects two titles: Star Wars 1313 and First Assault. 1313 made a huge splash at E3, but if you consider how quickly Disney’s pulled the plug after acquiring LucasArts, it’s probably safe to assume that the game wasn’t anywhere near completion. First Assault, on the other hand, was never even officially announced. We only knew that it existed because a couple of leaked videos found their way onto the Internet. So, it’s really hard for me to blame Disney for closing a studio that was working on two nebulous titles that might have made their way onto the market within the next four years.
However, their back catalog is actually worth mourning.
But sequels to games like Grim Fandango and Full Throttle would have never been made at LucasArts anyway. Their tiny development company only had enough manpower to churn out a Star Wars game every four years, so a risky adventure title probably wasn’t in the cards. However, now that Disney is primarily geared toward licensing their titles to other developers, we might actually get to see some of the sequels that fans have been hoping for.
Actually, if LucasArts had tried to make a Grim Fandango sequel without Tim Schafer, I would have personally asked Kim Jong-un to take his nuclear anger out on Disney. So, the closure was probably for the best.
It’s really hard for me to feel any sadness over the LucasArts closure. They stopped being the company that we loved a long time ago. And even though the status of their legacy titles is unresolved at the moment, they’ll probably end up in more capable hands.
I do, however, feel a ton of compassion for the 150 developers that are currently jobless. So, if you’re castrating Disney for that, keep it up.
Date: April 4, 2013