Walt Disney plans to shut LucasArts, the computer game studio it inherited with George Lucas' film company last year.
The closure will involve an unknown number of layoffs despite a "small team" remaining to handle licensing partnerships according to Miles Perkins, a spokesman for Lucasfilm Ltd, but all in-house development has been halted, including the 30-year-old studio’s much-anticipated title Star Wars 1313.
The Lucasfilm spokesman yesterday said Disney will focus on licensing its "Star Wars" brand externally but declined to disclose the number of employees currently at LucasArts or those affected by the shutdown. A source close to the company said that affected workers will be informed on Wednesday.
The studio was founded in 1982 by film producer, screenwriter and director George Lucas, best known as the creator of the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises.
Disney, which last year announced it would pay $4.05bn for Lucasfilm and has its own interactive games division, is several months into an internal cost-cutting review.
The decision to shutter LucasArts comes as the developer and publisher, once known for humor-tinged adventure games like Day of the Tentacle and Secret of Monkey Island, has struggled in recent years to produce a hit in an industry increasingly dominated by action-oriented games.
In a statement handed to Australian website Kotaku Australia Raven Software announced they had released the source code for vintage third-person Star Wars action games Jedi Academy and Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast, which it developed for LucasArts, in tribute to the studio.
"Raven is sad to hear about the closing of LucasArts today, we respected them and enjoyed working with them over the years," the statement read. "We wish the best for all the talented people who were let go and hope they find good work in studios in the industry.
"We loved and appreciated the experience of getting to make Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast and Jedi Academy for LucasArts. As a gift to the persistently loyal fanbase for our Jedi games and in memory of LucasArts, we are releasing the source code for both games for people to enjoy and play with.”