Layoffs hit LucasArts

Force Unleashed II publisher confirms "minor adjustment in staffing," recommits to internal studio.

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It's November and the holiday season is in full swing. Seemingly every week sees the release of multiple high-profile blockbusters, the retailer discounts are ramping up, long-planned family trips are just around the corner, and game developers are shedding staff left and right. The latest example of that last trend comes from LucasArts, which today confirmed its latest round of cuts to GameSpot.

"For your years of service, thank you we do. For exit interview, Becky in HR you will see. Yes."

"LucasArts recently made a minor adjustment in staffing to help us better address the needs of the business," a LucasArts representative said. "We remain committed to our internal studio--and to fostering relationships with trusted external partners--in order to deliver quality games that amaze and inspire fans."

The recommitment to the LucasArts game business may reassure fans and employees concerned by recent events. Last week, Electronic Arts announced that it was taking over sole publishing duties for the upcoming Star Wars massively multiplayer online game The Old Republic, relegating LucasArts to a licensing partner. In September, as the publisher finished up development on Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II for multiple platforms, it reportedly laid off approximately 85 other employees.

With Force Unleashed II out the door, the only remaining announced project on LucasArts' slate is Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars. There is also at least one unannounced project that boasts former Ubisoft developer Clint Hocking as a creative director.

LucasArts is far from alone in cutting payroll lately. Since September, developers and publishers big and small have laid off employees, including Activision's Raven Software, n-Space, Disney Interactive's Propaganda, Electronic Arts' EA Canada and Black Box studios, Square Enix's IO Interactive, and Namco Bandai. Just this morning, reports surfaced of the outright closure of Activision's Blur and James Bond 007: Blood Stone development studio Bizarre Creations.

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