There had been various rumours at the end of last week suggesting that there were going to be some major staff cut-backs at Lucasarts, and indeed, today that prophesy has been realised. Jim Ward, who had been appointed as the company’s new President in May this year, made the following statement – reflecting a solid financial reasoning – “ I’ve come to the conclusion that to make LucasArts thrive, and to position ourselves for the long-term future, we need to make some fundamental changes.”
Unfortunately for some, those fundamental changes have come in the form of job losses, with 31 staff members being shown the door. This cost-cutting also follows the cancellation of prospective sequels for the much-loved LucasArts adventure games Full Throttle and Sam and Max. In fact, the only game now left for LucasArts’ internal studio is Star Wars Republic Commando.
With fewer projects and a variety of outsourced development teams on the books, LucasArts’ future successes will be largely dependent on the work of others. Pandemic is working away at Star Wars Battlefront, Obsidian has the joyous task of building KOTOR 2, and now The Collective has also got in on the act and will be handling the game of Star Wars Episode III. LucasArts, presumably, will just be lurking in the background – waiting for some substantial returns before it plans its next move.