LucasArts Shut Down, Layoffs At ILM

And the crap continues to roll downhill.

Today comes the news that LucasArts is being shuttered, reduced to basically a brand name, a move I’d predicted would happen. Unlike “The Clone Wars,” which was a success, LucasArts has had a turbulent past 10 years or so. It has had a revolving door of honchos and staff and it hasn’t developed a big hit game since “The Force Unleashed.” Most of the recent hit Star Wars games were developed elsewhere. There were high hopes for “1313” but that my friends, along with “Detours” and the 3D re-releases, has been dumped in the trash bin of history. It was a troubled part of Lucasfilm and it’s not shocking or surprising that Disney would give it the hook. Besides that, I recall reading a while ago on The Bearded Trio that Disney has a penchant for eliminating gaming divisions of companies it acquires.

That said, LucasArts was a valued part of the Lucasfilm and Star Wars family and for its 1990s offerings, a legend to a generation of gamers. It’s really a shame.

Thanks to LucasArts and Lucasfilm Animation being dismantled, there were ripple layoffs today as well at ILM. Hundreds of people lost their jobs just like that today. And I doubt this is the end of “restructuring” at Lucasfilm. I joked today on my FB page that I hope nobody planning to attend Celebration Europe II bought non-refundable tickets or pre-paid for hotel rooms.

Dear Disney: if you’re trying to get Star Wars fans to trust you and get hyped for new movies, you’re doing it wrong.

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17 Responses to “LucasArts Shut Down, Layoffs At ILM”

  1. Kenny Kraly Jr Says:

    Sad that Lucasarts is shutting down I’m sad about the news a little bit but Lucasarts did not make any good games the last few years with exception of TFU 1 and 2 and SWTOR. Just my take on the news.

  2. peacetrainjedi Says:

    If Disney aims its guns at Skywalker Sound or ILM, my head will explode…

    It’s as if the historic 35+ year legacy of George Lucas and Lucas Ltd. is being dismantled in the span of less than half a year. Truly a dark day in a long line of dark days to come.

  3. Eddie Says:

    Whatever LucasArts has or hasn’t done in the recent past, the point is, Disney deserves NO trust or benefit of the doubt from Star Wars fans for their graceless demolition of George Lucas’ life’s work. I’m utterly baffled by these patronizing armchair financial analyst/fanboyGeek™ types telling us all to “calm down”, and to “trust Disney”. I don’t give a rat’s a** if this all works out financially for Disney. I still hope and pray that the ST has the “Lucas spark” due to it springing from his treatments (if Disney doesn’t just toss them out), but going forward, any other “Star Wars” I’ll like *in spite* of Disney…whereas for the past 36 years, I’ve just been predisposed to give anything LFL put out a chance right off the bat. I can’t look at this era of Disney culling Lucas’ Empire through reasoned lenses, it just FEELS wrong…and didn’t a great man once say, “Feel, don’t think, use your instincts”?

    When I was a really little kid, I loved Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, and the rest of them–and then I turned 4, and something 100 trillion times better came out called “Star Wars”. Screw you, Disney.

    LFL = Lucas For Life

    • peacetrainjedi Says:

      LFL = Lucas For Life

      I’d buy that T-shirt.

      I have plenty of love for earlier Disney (mostly Renaissance Disney and earlier, along with some Pixar productions), but I have most about 1138% of my respect for the mega-corporation.

      You’re absolutely right and it’s truly sad that we have to find a way to enjoy Star Wars despite Disney’s shenanigans. Never again will the whole new “Star Wars experience” be the same. I agree that no one should be advising trust in Disney in any way shape or form. But…Disney does not have to follow the dark path forever; there must be good in them, there must be. I feel the conflict within them. Lucas may have sold too soon or he may not have, but he must have felt some good existed in Disney’s corporate machine. We can only hope.

      • peacetrainjedi Says:

        **have lost about 1138% of my respect for the mega-corporation.

        Sheesh, it’s as if I was possessed by dark side Disney spirits to write I had over a thousand percent respect in their company. My mind is starting to unravel; no longer certain of my ability to post coherent thoughts am I.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      Oh I realize Disney has to make money and earn profits that will make its shareholders happy. And that’s fine. It’s the utter tone deafness in how Disney is carrying out its restructuring that is most disturbing to me. They don’t realize there’s a tradition and a certain culture around Star Wars that people find appealing, even admirable. It’s similar to what Walt Disney originally built around his company strangely enough. And these new guys are just bulldozing through all of that. The news about LucasArts isn’t even on starwars.com. Go figure for a company that’s been a big part of the Lucasfilm family for over 30 years.

  4. obi-rob-kenobi Says:

    At least Lucas retired formally and did this on his own terms. thats all I have to say. HIS track record is still clean and untouchable.

    I like to think of this whole thing as a boxer retiring before anyone could beat him. Not that anyone could “beat” lucas (whatever that means) but ya know what i mean.

    He did it with class (like he does everything) he got everything in line. He made it so SW will live on in history forever with Disney. And he got married to a beautiful woman to ride off into the sunset with right before donating another couple of BILLIONS to charity.

    not to mention his art museum.

    LOVE AND ART! Thats a nice way to live out the twilight of your life for ANY human being. So many people get sick and die in poverty or alone, well not this good man. LOVE AND ART! LOVE AND ART FOREVER!

    • lazypadawan Says:

      I’m actually more excited about Lucas’s art museum than anything else right now.

      • Eddie Says:

        I’m excited about the museum, and I’m over-the-moon excited about “The Star Wars” comics based on the 5/74 Rough Draft. J.W. Rinzler has earned my trust, and I can’t wait to see something visually presented that was so purely a product of Lucas’ mind. Then again, I’ve always loved bootlegs and demos of bands I’ve liked, so this sort of thing is right up my alley.

        And Obi-Rob, well-put!! Even through all of this Disney-made misery, I still feel that George deserved to move on. Yeah, I wish he had gotten a second or third wind and felt energized enough to carry on with the ST himself (and TCW and everything else), but I’m more thrilled if he’s happy and content at last. He’s brought joy to millions for decades (when he wasn’t rapaciously assaulting people’s childhoods–wtf), it’s the least we could wish for him.

  5. Louis Ghanem (@lgghanem) Says:

    If someone were to write a piece on Star Wars last year, it would have said something like, “George Lucas’s Star Wars empire has spawned numerous movies and stretched across films, television, video games, novels, and comic books.” It used to be a testament to how huge Star Wars is, how big a deal it is. Now it seems like Disney are turning it into just a film series, relegating to a level midway between, oh I don’t know, Pirates of the Caribbean and Marvel.
    I mean, by this point Lucasfilm is now smaller than Marvel, from a certain point of view. Marvel at least has several film series, a live-action TV show, several animated shows, and of course, comics. What does Lucasfilm have left?

    “They don’t realize there’s a tradition and a certain culture around Star Wars that people find appealing, even admirable.” <– 100% agreed.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      Right. The other stuff actually pulls in more money than ticket sales. My guess is Disney ultimately wants to control all of that stuff itself and not leave it to some non-Hollywood guys up in NorCal. Licensing czar Howard Roffman had retired in 2012 but Disney dragged him back. Is it for good or just temporarily? We shall see.

      It’ll be interesting and perhaps a bit disappointing for us long-timers to see Star Wars treated as just another brick in Disney’s wall for 2015 instead of The Big Movie Event Of The Year, Yo! So far Disney has on slate “The Avengers 2,” POTC 5, Episode VII, and now “Finding Dory,” the sequel to “Finding Nemo.” Lucasfilm never pit its films against each other and Star Wars was always Fox’s biggest hit of any year.

  6. lin Says:

    Someone design that shirt – Lucas For Life. I shared the logo on FB – skeletal remains on the abstract figure. A lot of very, very talented and creative people are now unemployed. I hate how Disney is cutting down, breaking down the legacy of Lucas – it’s abrupt, arrogant and incredibly selfish and self-serving. Repetitive? So be it..

  7. Adam D. Bram (The Nilbog) Says:

    I don’t know about anyone else, but if I built a giant series of companies around some art that I made, and I sold it to someone I thought I could trust only for something like this to happen…well, the first thing I’d do is call them out on it on any public stage I could.

    But that’s me.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      That is the question isn’t it? What does George think of all this? Of course if he complains too much they may toss his ideas into the trash and do whatever the eff they want.

  8. M. Marshall Says:

    I came across this article at Tosche Station which sheds more light on the LucasArts layoff: http://tosche-station.net/?p=4516#more-4516

  9. J. Reeves Says:

    Some very articulate thoughts here. We really shouldn’t be surprised by these developments, however. It’s what big corporations do. Even though George Lucas built his companies to high heights, they never got THAT high, and probably for the better, and now we’re seeing how quickly they’re being cut down to size and disposed of.

    LP had it right when she said, “They don’t realize there’s a tradition and a certain culture around Star Wars that people find appealing, even admirable.” Or ALMOST right. To paraphrase Batman, they probably do realize, they just don’t care. While never entirely “Garden Of Eden”, Star Wars had some protection previously, and did exist in something like an idyllic state, and it’s now been sold to Disney, eaten from the Tree of Knowledge, realized it’s naked, and been cast out to face the world and all the terrible exploitation that goes with it.

    “SSSSSSSSell your company to me, MiSSSSSSterrr LucccaSSSSS, we’ll take … *care* … of it” — Bob Iger

    Poor Star Wars. It’s like a sick, needy child that’s just stumbled into a sweat shop and been put to work. Whatever stuff emerges now, no matter how good, will have that corporate taint. It’s a shame, but it was probably going to happen sooner or later.

    And anyway, some people would call that analogy very naive, even offensive, since it’s plain that Star Wars has been exploited, and even had some of its merchandise made in extremely un-ideal conditions, for many years.

    The change is the loss of the unifying force, its original creator. That’s a real blow. But as long as people remember the way it once was, maintaining an understanding of history — as is true in all things — there will always be something to hold onto.

    And yes, what a way for Lucas to bow out! Wherever he goes, Star Wars goes. Or the principles behind Star Wars worth holding onto.

  10. Hunk a Junk Says:

    For those on the hypocrisy watch, Disney cancelled the 3D releases because they needed ILM to focus on Episode VI, but now they’re laying off ILMers because… what, they’re not needed on Episode VI??? It’s all lies and corporate BS.

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