In November of 2012, Disney shocked the world by announcing that it had bought Lucasfilm, and with it, the rights to the Star Wars franchise – a franchise loved by millions the world over, including me.
The move surprised many, and the impact was heightened when, almost instantaneously after acquiring Lucasfilm, Disney announced that it would immediately begin production on a new Star Wars trilogy, granting Star Wars fans the sequel (to the sequel) trilogy we’d been hoping for. But the move was subject to much criticism, with fans hoping that Disney wouldn’t render the series too childish or stray from the storyline that has already been set by volumes of literature in what is referred to as the Expanded Universe, the written stories now accepted as canon regarding events long before, during, and after the events of the six Star Wars movies.
But today, the gaming world was taken by surprise when Disney announced that it was officially closing the LucasArts division of Lucasfilm, which was focused on making video games. In its heyday, LucasArts pioneered some of the most popular games of its time, both Star Wars and non-Star Wars related, including (but not limited to) the Secret of Monkey Island series, the Jedi Knight series, and collaborated with video game developer BioWare to create the massively successful Knights of the Old Republic (KotOR for short) games.
The decision to shut down LucasArts makes financial and business sense, but is a bitter pill to swallow for many gamers who were anticipating the launch of Star Wars 1313 and Star Wars: First Assault, which were already far along in development and looked to be promising titles. Allegedly Disney made the decision to focus more of its resources on developing Episode VII, which itself is already generating quite a buzz with rumors that it will bring back Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher as their beloved characters Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa.
Will the move pay off for Disney? I’m not sure. I was skeptically optimistic (if that’s possible) about the plausibility of Disney creating an Episode VII, but as a die-hard Star Wars fan, I can’t help but be upset by the decision to close LucasArts.
Rest in Peace, LucasArts. You will not be forgotten.