Remember Maniac Mansion and The Secret of Monkey Island? The studio that designed those games is no more. The Walt Disney Company is closing the LucasArts game development studio, Paste has learned. LucasFilm publicist Barbara Gamlen confirmed that the company plans to transition to a “licensing model” for Star Wars games, and that all current projects have been put on hold. Layoffs have also been reported.
Founded as LucasFilm Games in 1982, LucasArts published some of the most successful and acclaimed point-and-click adventure games of the 1980s and 90s, including Maniac Mansion, Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders and The Secret of Monkey Island. LucasArts’ adventure games, as designed by Ron Gilbert, Tim Schafer, and others, are known for clever puzzles and an irreverent sense of humor. LucasArts also released less comical titles during its adventure game heyday, including Loom and two well-received Indiana Jones games.
LucasArts’ first Star Wars game was the original X-Wing for PC in 1993. Star Wars titles dominated the studio’s output for the last two decades, with LucasArts publishing and co-developing several games alongside other developers. LucasArts collaborated with Travelers Tales on the smash Lego Star Wars franchise and worked with Bioware and Obsidian on the popular Knights of the Old Republic RPGs. Other LucasArts Star Wars franchises included the popular Rogue Squadron, Battlefront and Dark Forces / Jedi Knight series.
Most recently LucasArts was developing a third-person action game for older players called Star Wars 1313. That project generated a lot of buzz after last year’s E3 trade show but is now on hold. Gamlen had no comment on any of LucasArts’ other intellectual properties.
Here’s the official statement from LucasFilm:
“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.”