LucasArts to entirely kill off internal development?

LucasArts to entirely kill off internal development?
Michael French

By Michael French

June 9th 2008 at 9:45AM

New report says 100 more staff will cry out in pain and get silenced (i.e. lose their jobs)

After last week laying off 100 staff at its San Francisco HQ, fresh reports say LucasArts will fire its remaining 100 staff as the company prepares to withdraw from internal development completely.

Shacknews says a 'reliable source' has told the site that George Lucas' games development studio will move towards external development only once Star Wars: The Force Unleashed ships for PS3, 360 and PC.

Force Unleashed is the first internally-made LucasArts game since Star Wars: Republic Commando, released in 2005.

On Friday, it emerged that the company had made half its workforce, including VP of product development Peter Hirschmann, redundant as it looks towards moving operations to contractors.

A statement given to Develop confirmed that LucasArts "a workforce reduction" yesterday, but a spokesperson said the company's slate of games "is not affected". "Lego Indy was just launched on seven platforms to really positive reviews. The Force Unleashed and Fracture are on the horizon for Fall," the spokesperson added.

But the latest report would be a blow to Lucas' aspirations towards games development - the firm had re-built its internal team over the last few years to make next-gen games based on the Star Wars and Indiana Jones IPs. It even forged key relationships with technology firms NaturalMotion and PixelLux for cutting-edge technology.

Transitioning to a completely external-development focused company, however, will not be difficult for LucasArts. It already works with a number of third-party studios, including Traveller's Tales, Rebellion, Day 1 and Frontier, on games that are both new IP and based on Lucas' two staple franchises.

Additional reporting by Chris Dring.