Report: Disney Could Be Eyeing a LucasArts Shutdown

Between the uncertain fate of "Star Wars 1313" and rumors that hiring has been all-but frozen, things aren't looking great for the 31-year-old game developer, according to a Game Industry piece.

The article, published yesterday, loops back on several things that we either suspect or know that are going on at LucasArts right now, including the potentially stalled production of the third-person shooter "Star Wars 1313," whose promising E3 trailer last year had us all salivating for a new game set in that universe for the first time in a while. However, with the new trilogy from J.J. Abrams on the horizon, Disney might be concerned that a gritty shooter could cause some brand confusion depending on which direction they decide to go with their take on the franchise.

What's new is that Game Industry is Game Industry's sourced assertion that the studio has put on a hiring freeze as parent company Disney tries to figure out precisely what to do with the current batch of employees. Last month, Kotaku reported that the studio was beginning to bleed talent as employees uncertain about their prospects began to jump ship for more stable opportunities. This brain drain--with no new influx of talent--could ultimately be what spells the end for LucasArts.

But does that really matter at this point? Could Disney simply be trying to figure out a way to dump the studio altogether? Again, it may seem myopic to drop a group that knows how to make games, but outside of "Infinity," Disney has been giving off the impression of a company that really wants to be out of games that don't involve toys that it can push to consumers (they get toys, I'm not entirely certain their recent misadventures indicate that Disney gets games, though).

For the record, LucasArts has denied any truth to the rumor that they're going to be shuttered, but their future seems murky right now. Here's hoping that Disney realizes that with "Star Wars 1313," they at least have a game that fans of the IP are finally really excited about.

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