In an unprecedented move, Disney, new owners of the Lucasfilm brand, have closed down Lucasarts, the company’s game development wing. Around 200 jobs are to be lost and the in-development Star Wars 1313 has been cancelled.
Lucasarts was founded in the 1980s as Lucasfilm Games, and rose to prominence not only on the back of licensed Star Wars games, such as the Super Star Wars games for the SNES, but also the developer’s wealth of wonderful and creative adventure games. Some were based on existing properties, like Indiana Jones or Sam and Max, while others were creations of pure imagination from visionary designers. One particular luminary of Lucasarts is veteran creator Tim Schafer, who developed underworld epic Grim Fandango as well as biker adventure Full Throttle and Day of the Tentacle.
The news will no doubt bring sadness to gamers around the world, for though Lucasarts had long ceased its commitment to adventure gaming, they still marked the golden age, now past, where adventure games were the norm and bizarre, creative ideas flowed freely. It is no secret that I consider my favourite game to be Grim Fandango, and I would like to say that Lucasarts will be sorely missed.
Wii U is set to miss out on support for the Frostbite 3 and Unreal 4 game engines, according to Battlefield series executive producer Patrick Bach. Speaking with Eurogamer, the developer stated that the system simply had not been designed for, leading to some concerns about the platform’s third-party viability. The Wii U has met with poor sales figures recently, which are down to various factors such as the price relative to other consoles and the current lack of any headline-grabbing games.
Whether or not the Wii U does particularly well, Nintendo can at least rest assured that the 3DS will continue to enjoy strong sales, buoyed as it is by the recent release of the latest Luigi’s Mansion game, as well as the promise of the latest instalment of the immensely popular Animal Crossing series in summer.