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."