LucasArts confirms layoffs

Indiana Jones publisher says recent round of staff reductions was "appropriate to various project's lifecycles"; VP of product development Peter Hirschmann also out.

LucasArts has been in a significant period of transition as of late. In April, the Indiana Jones gamemaker snagged a new president in Darrell Rodriguez, EA's former chief operating officer at its Los Angeles studio. Rodriguez was brought on to replace Jim Ward, who abruptly stepped down from the company's top position in February. In May, LucasArts revealed that it, too, would no longer be part of industry trade body the Entertainment Software Association. It is now June, and LucasArts is once again continuing its transitional period.

GameSpot has learned and subsequently confirmed with LucasArts that the gamemaker has laid off a number of employees at its San Francisco, California-based studio. A LucasArts representative was unwilling to confirm the breadth of the layoffs, but tips and various online reports from numerous former LucasArts employees peg the exact number at between 75 and 100.

According to LucasArts, the layoffs did not target any specific projects, and were companywide. "The layoffs were appropriate to where we are at in various project's lifecycles," said the representative. Having just published the Traveller's Tales-developed Lego Indiana Jones, the rep confirmed that the company's two highest-profile projects in the pipe--Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and Fracture--have not been impacted by the staff reductions, and are still on track for their respective September and October releases.

When questioned as to whether the recent layoffs signal an intent for the gamemaker to outsource development of its various properties to third-party studios, the rep gave a soft demurral. "We're committed to our internal studio and to continue working with external partners," said the LucasArts rep.

LucasArts also confirmed that the company's vice president of product development Peter Hirschmann has also departed the company, though his decision to leave was not party to the layoffs. "Peter's decision to leave was mutual," commented the LucasArts rep. "He's a really good guy who brought us into next-gen development."

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Discussion

114 comments
KASMIRSS
KASMIRSS

When 1st Kotor came out I remember they had a lot of different games under development. Know there is none for PC fans, and new MMORPG about whom we know only one thing - we will need to wait a long long time. Plus Imnot a mmorpg fan at all. Since 2003 a lot of pc players have lost their trust in Lucasarts - for me every E3 is a disappointment . Like in christmas every one gets great present except you. (and like this 5 years i a row)

H-A-V-O-K
H-A-V-O-K

@thenephariouson: Agreed. Lucas arts has been in need of some serious quality control for a few years it seems as though the only good games to come from the franchise has nothing to do with the license at all simply the production team behind it I keep saying time and time again the only reason KOTOR had any success at all was because of Bioware plain and simple. Anway good too see ya again mate, its been awhile :lol:

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

Wheres the inginuity? i mean wheres the 'Grim Fandango's' & 'Day of the Tenticle' types of games, you know, the original games that were totally unique. All they seem to do is simply try and squeeze as much money out of the ca$h cow that is the Star Wars universe and im tired of them as a simple run-n-gun FPS with 'Star Wars' sound effects simply does not qualify as a top notch product!!! Sorry but i have no sympathy! They should be far more imaginative (Yes i am aware of 'Fracture').

nate1222
nate1222

WHO SAID LUCAS ARTS DIDN'T HAVE GOOD GAMES?! Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction, Star Wars Battlefront, Jedi Outcast... There are probably more, but those three alone prove my point! Then we've got Mercenaries: World In Flames and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed coming out this summer. Someone needs to shut their damn piehole!

LindBergh2007
LindBergh2007

What happened to those days? What happen to test marketing games so they could be recalled before being published. Back in the NES days, Nintendo had very strict licensing policies, in the Genesis days, SEGA had a special test-drive section for Sega Channel users. Where did it all end? It ended when the ESA decided to taken control of marketing and publishing of games in 2004 and then alot of big publishers decided to make huge deals with hollywood and since there were less and less 3rd party exclusives, the software market suddenly became too competitive. You can blame the U.S. economy for this rapid decline and possible industry collapse, but most of it comes from monopolizing the industry with ESA,EA,Activision,LucasArts,THQ and many of the major U.S. publishers the main culprit. Since nobody wants to set a standard or limit, development costs will continue to skyrocket and I wouldn't be surprised if the price for gamejumps to $70! And i'm not kidding! Especially since food,gas and inflation continues to rise. If there is a collapse before the end of year, and I expect it to occur in sereval months. Expect alot of majors U.S. publishers to fall from grace but I think alot of the Japanese publishers won't be entirely affected much since they don't have a huge share of the U.S. software market. I alos believe that a video game crash would prepell SEGA back into the console market with a cutting edge,256-bit multmedia console, with an inexpensive price tag, better development kits and with a special 3rd party policy requiring all third party publishers to test market high profile games. So while it seems like a majotr decline and possible collapse is becoming more and more likely, kind in mind that a crash or collapse is a good thing, amd much like the crash of '84, the industry will recover a rise back to life again.

Irve
Irve

well , seeing as they make very few games i'm sure they were overstaffed .. would ahve been nice for these 75-100 people to be worknig on another monkey island game !! In fact what they really need to do is get their library out on XBLA and PSN

turnerdoc
turnerdoc

to me the best star wars game was pc star wars galaxies.console star wars knights of the old republic 1 and 2

ZhugeMarc
ZhugeMarc

okassar: "and seeing how Star Wars Battlefront 2 is said by a lot of people to be their best game,LucasArts isn't too good"Wait, who says that? Because they're idiots. LucasArts best games weren't even in this century. Go play the Monkey Island series, Grim Fandango, Day of the Tentacle, Sam and Max Hit the Road, TIE Fighter, et al and then speak about best games.

dmiisha_796
dmiisha_796

lucasarts last i checked are not heading towards anywhere bad. So why are they laying off so many people from the pay-role?

Avenger1324
Avenger1324

The wording of the statement looks bad for Traveller's tales. Unless there is another lego game in the pipeline a lot of the layoffs could be with them.

fredwv
fredwv

oh noooossss.... no more lego games! Hmmm... this necessarily bad news? :p I used to like the adventure games LucasArts made. They should get back to that.

melante
melante

" new president in Darrell Rodriguez, EA's former chief operating officer" it seems wherever EA people go, other people lose their jobs.... :-(

Seanakin
Seanakin

Um, last I checked, LucasArts is a privately-held company, like Levi Strauss or M&M Mars, so they therefore are not burdened by the need for full financial disclosure (unlike the publicly-traded companies), nor are they forced to waste their time on pleasing the shareholders, especially the institutional ones. So if LucasArts is indeed not profiting on their various ventures to their liking, they are in no way bound to announce this to the public, and whatever move they make is of their own volition, as opposed to doing it for the sake of PR. That all said, let us not forget that despite cleaning up at the box office, Lucas caused heads to roll at LFL because The Empire Strikes Back came in late and over budget.

Ranteal
Ranteal

transitional period. Thats another way of saying "For Sale"

Josepiphus
Josepiphus

Some information that would have been good to include in this article would be how many employees lucas arts has or what percentage of the workforce this 75 to 100 represents. Without that information it's really rather presumptuos to conclude any of the things I've seen posted in the comments.

Gammit10
Gammit10

As long as they "keep looking into" returning to adventure games with their third-party studio help... yeah, not likely.

combatsoldier
combatsoldier

man what a let down. I hope this isnt a view of things to come. I am a huge fan of lucas arts and i hope there stock stays up. then again this could just be something minor that was blown up to get a reaction out of us. you know how something small can turn into a volcano. Lets just hope lucas will remain on top.

Shaman432
Shaman432

As an end-user who just likes to play games I forget sometimes that it is a business and they get made somewhere by someone just like food/gas and stuff and I was looking SO forward to TFU as about the only thing of interest later this year but if this is how they treat their ppl and ol' Georgie boy signs off on it I might have to think twice.

icym
icym

re: jlwood830 you're totally right about short term profits. Look at the stupid thinking of US automakers, SUV were hot so they geared only to that and didn't look to the inevitable future of soaring gas prices. So, now they laid off tens of thousands of people for their short term thinking. And now they're planning to outsource it. Lucasarts and US automakers must have gone to the same mail order degree business school.

jlwood830
jlwood830

Layoffs have nothing to do with a company not making money. Most of the time the company just isn't making as much profit as it has promised its shareholders that it would. Even if they've got 12 billion dollars in the bank all they really care about is what's currently coming in and the next quarter's stock report. When investors don't believe a company is going to continue making its numbers they eventually start to take their money and invest elsewhere. Everybody wants a short term profit... which sucks because a lot of companies really are good long term investments. It's just too bad they won't always be treated as such.

coold_steam
coold_steam

outsourcing work sometimes but mostly it fails .companies want to make more money so they dont care about other ppl and its very sad

RockaWuzHur
RockaWuzHur

Companies believe that by outsourcing they will save more money which is true but also causes the lower quality of work. And duane27 you have to understand that those people at the top of the buisness don't care what happens to those people that lose their jobs, all they care about is profit. Its pathetic.

punisher1
punisher1

Out sourcing always = fail. I have worked long enough to see what happens when companies do stuff like that. and it's always for one reason. Somebody want to make more money up top. And cuts give a false appearance of profit. which then makes stock holders happy. Never caring how they have hurt the people working in a comapny.

d3f1anc3
d3f1anc3

Funny that a company like LucasArts, with nearly infinate financial access, lays so many employees off. Were they really THAT useless to justify it? Surely it wasn't a money issue.

pukin_dog
pukin_dog

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

vertigopm
vertigopm

intergalactic planetary, planetary intergalactic (another Dimension another Dimension another Dimension another Dimension) most likely none of you will get this...

LindBergh2007
LindBergh2007

CaptainHerlock you are so wrong. I didn't say that Japanese publishers don't have a stake in the U.S. market, I said that the U.S. publishers have a bigger market share. As for doubts about Sega getting back into the console market, you don't know that. You have no idea what's going on in Japan, you've never heard of Lindbergh or all of the heated specualtion going on about Sega Dreamcast 2 in Japan. I'm convinced and other are that Sega will indeed likely re-enter the console market, After all, most of Sega's arcade boards DO become consoles. Anyone who thinks that if this trend the continues that the market won't collapse and crash is naive and illterate on video game history.

CaptainHerlock
CaptainHerlock

I sincerely doubt that Sega will ever get back into the console market. It would take a huge amount of money to get back in this time around. And I just don't see Sega putting that kind of scratch up. Also saying that Japan doesn't have a stake in the US software market is totally and COMPLETELY untrue. Konami, CapCom, Sega, Nintendo, etc. All Japanese publishers.

ireddoch
ireddoch

A good friend of mine was one of those who got laid off from LucasArts - he's the bald dude in the CES 2008 video demonstrating Fracture. There will be someone else demonstrating LucasArts games now . . . Frickin' economy . . .

faToe
faToe

HAHAHAHAHA! damn, those subprimes really hurted the economy! HAHAHAHA ouch

LindBergh2007
LindBergh2007

nate1222, you are so right. In order to keep rising development costs from increasing console manufacturers need to take the right steps in cutting down on muliplatform titles, stop making deals with hollywood studios, and enact a 3rd party policy to makes sure that games are test marketed before they are released. But unfortunely, Nintendo,Sony, and Mircosoft aren't taken any precautions or reprimanding the ESA for it's monopolizing polcies and are allowing the U.S. software market to oversaturate at the point of imploding. What happened to those days? What happen to test marketing games so they could be recalled before being published. Back in the NES days, Nintendo had very strict licensing policies, in the Genesis days, SEGA had a special test-drive section for Sega Channel users. Where did it all end? It ended when the ESA decided to taken control of marketing and publishing of games in 2004 and then alot of big publishers decided to make huge deals with hollywood and since there were less and less 3rd party exclusives, the software market suddenly became too competitive. You can blame the U.S. economy for this rapid decline and possible industry collapse, but most of it comes from monopolizing the industry with ESA,EA,Activision,LucasArts,THQ and many of the major U.S. publishers the main culprit. Since nobody wants to set a standard or limit, development costs will continue to skyrocket and I wouldn't be surprised if the price for gamejumps to $70! And i'm not kidding! Especially since food,gas and inflation continues to rise. If there is a collapse before the end of year, and I expect it to occur in sereval months. Expect alot of majors U.S. publishers to fall from grace but I think alot of the Japanese publishers won't be entirely affected much since they don't have a huge share of the U.S. software market. I alos believe that a video game crash would prepell SEGA back into the console market with a cutting edge,256-bit multmedia console, with an inexpensive price tag, better development kits and with a special 3rd party policy requiring all third party publishers to test market high profile games. So while it seems like a majotr decline and possible collapse is becoming more and more likely, kind in mind that a crash or collapse is a good thing, amd much like the crash of '84, the industry will recover a rise back to life again.

Ballroompirate
Ballroompirate

Pretty soon people are gonna have to go with the "American nightmare" as a catch phrase instead of the "American dream" cause people are getting screwed left and right when it comes to jobs the past few years.

CHRION987
CHRION987

hey i got an idea! lets put an old neo con war monger in the white house for 8 years!! that should do our economy wonders! oh wait....what?

DoomtheGrav
DoomtheGrav

Well, at least TFU is still coming out.

nate1222
nate1222

Lucas Arts will probably be publishing most of the time and developing alot less. I can't say I blame them. America and the world in general is having a bad time economically. Game development in particular is getting too damn expensive. The console makers are going to screw around and cause the game industry to go bust. Sad.

CaptainHerlock
CaptainHerlock

Probably not. I think they will take on more of a role as a publisher rather than a developer. They'll most likely continue to make some games internally.

Steffl3r
Steffl3r

Does this mean Lucasarts is stopping making games?

SrTVBR
SrTVBR

American economy is getting bad every week. But they must have their reasons.

Pete5506
Pete5506

Dang this just adds to these bad numbers

blackace
blackace

Like 49,000 jobs were lost in the month of May in the U.S. The unemployment rate is at a 2 decade high of 5.5% I believe. The country is definitely in a resession right now. The stock market losted 400pts. yesterday or Thursday. Gas is at an all time high of $4.00 average. A lot of this has been caused by the war and the weather. Tornadoes and Hurricanes have been hammering the U.S. the last 3-5 years. Times are tough right now. So these layoffs at Lucasarts is no suprise. I'm sure we'll see more before the year is over.

okassar
okassar

You would figure that since the gaming industry is growing so much right now they would actually be looking for more people to hire,but LucasArts is nothing big in gaming,the only game I bought that they made was Star Wars Battlefront 2,I mean,it was nice to be able to play star wars characters in a war environment,but the game looked so cheap and all and the character movement was clunky and....nothing compared to the big games,and seeing how Star Wars Battlefront 2 is said by a lot of people to be their best game,LucasArts isn't too good.That reflects onto bad sales and that leads to layoffs.

peeweeshift
peeweeshift

mutual could also mean that they wanted to fire him and he was tired of them. regardless they make good games.

TheoleDominion1
TheoleDominion1

Whatever happen to the follow games to the decent titles of Gladius and Wrath Unleashed?

herbertfkj
herbertfkj

It's tough being a publicity rep.

TheVinster
TheVinster

I think 40,000 jobs or so were lost, in general, just this week.

Gamingcucumber
Gamingcucumber

All I want is for them to go back to the old LucasArts where they didn't only develop franchise titles and made some of the most fun and best Adventure games out there. A merge with BioWare would in my eyes be interesting.

MrOverlord
MrOverlord

I wonder - when are they going to say anything about the project they're doing together with Bioware...

Blazer88
Blazer88

That's what happens when all you make is Star Wars games.

acsam12304
acsam12304

LOL well this is a bad and good thing. now we know more Star Wars RPGs and shoots are coming soon as well as more Indy game.