From Sky News

Disney has shut down LucasArts, the videogame business that it bought last year as part of the deal to buy the rest of the George Lucas empire.

That deal last October was worth more than $4bn (£2.6bn) and saw Disney announce a new series of Star Wars films.

But it seems that the games market is not a priority.

A “small team” will remain to handle licensing partnerships but all in-house development has been halted, including its much-anticipated title “Star Wars 1313”, a spokesman for Lucasfilm Ltd said.

A statement said: “After evaluating our position in the games market, we’ve decided to shift LucasArts from an internal development to a licensing model, minimising the company’s risk while achieving a broader portfolio of quality Star Wars games.

“As a result of this change, we’ve had layoffs across the organisation. We are incredibly appreciative and proud of the talented teams who have been developing our new titles.”

It is thought that although LucasArts will halt development of its two major projects, Star Wars 1313 and Star Wars: First Assault, those games could still be released.

Games blogs are speculating that LucasFilm will allow the Star Wars games to be developed either by third-party studios or by Disney Interactive.

LucasArts was founded in 1982 and first released Ballblazer before its major breakthrough – The Secret of Monkey Island, which is still seen as one of the best games ever, more than 20 years after its release.

The announcement of the closure of LucasArts, with the loss of around 150 jobs, is likely to further anger fans of the movie series, after Disney decided to cancel the hit cartoon show, Star Wars: The Clone Wars last month.

The company also produced a series of military simulators like Strike Fleet and Their Finest Hour: The Battle of Britain, combat games like X-Wing and Rebel Assault, before focusing on Star Wars games like Dark Forces, the Jedi Knight series and the Lego series.

By Adam

Adam has been a fan of Disney since he was small. He runs the Disneybrit Podcast. He is also the author of several Disney books.

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