Layoffs hit LucasArts

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

92 Comments

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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Avatar image for FakeLeather
FakeLeather

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LucasArts hasn't been the same since the eshewed making good games (Monkey Islands/Grim Fandango, etc) and started cashing in on Star Warzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

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Avatar image for Forcecaster
Forcecaster

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I'm a big Star Wars fan, but I have to say this honestly... George Lucas has to take the lead in telling storys from the era between episode III and IV and make movies about that period, or we will know about the not known parts of the galaxy from crappy-crappy games... I hope LucasArts will find it's way back to the glorious days.

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darklord2160

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i always want to play as a stormstrooper in a star war fps.so,please make repuclic commando 2 or st like that(cod:star war,may i say).and of course KOTOR 3 and The Force Unleashed 3(the second is good but way too short)

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Avatar image for Targzissian
Targzissian

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The holiday release games are finished, so the various studios don't need as many people until they start ramping up development on future projects I guess.

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Avatar image for andalore
andalore

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The more people LucasArts are losing the longer we have to wait for Battlefront 3.

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Avatar image for Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

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All these shedding of employees and re-hires should serve as a warning to any programmers/artists/writers wishing to work in the digital games industry: you're all temporary contractors, as far as the big-name corporations are concerned.

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jaymib

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Well i hope its Battlefront 3, been waiting years for that game and also hope that LucasArts will do the 3rd Force unleashed game, to finish the series off.

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deviant74

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Coward or Hero. The force the dark side of the force. Do you still wonder why movie games don't sell good. Because the player is not there. Your just the robot side kick with a gun. How about a game call Anakin or Vader.

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Avatar image for Zoomer30
Zoomer30

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Thats one thing you dont see at game dev companies: Emps with well funded 401k's. They are barely there long enough to use their sick leave. Dev comps staff based on projects, they dont hire people to expect to have them there for 5 years, unless its upper management. I would HATE that kinda of job, never knowing where my next job is, never being able to set down roots, just get used to a place/town and then have to move on. Ugh!

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mike_ezm

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if there would be a battlefront 3 teaser, a lot of coments would say: "its battlefront, nuff said" i want it, i want it so bad, btw i am going to go back in time, by installing and playing republic comando.... that was such a good game (a sequel to that and i would be so happy as i was when gearbox said they would make duke nukem F)

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Solidshark21

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i haven't played force unleashed two but i still like the general idea of the game. They need to apply some of the gameplay mechanics of other popular games like the kotor series though. A pretty hack and slasher isn't going to cut it for sixty bucks. Especially if the character is overpowered fresh out the gate. I would like to play an game featuring the Darth bane and going through his story either in a kotor or blend of kotor and force unleashed gameplay style.

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Avatar image for Coronithofcork
Coronithofcork

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@teeskoowared I sure hope so. I miss playing games like KotOR 1 and 2.

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teeskoowared

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the N64 era of star wars games was so epic...maybe downsizing will bring back something like that

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Khatjal

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*yawn* Now give us KOTOR 3 or go away.

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Vhial

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I can see how this happend already. *LucasArts Staff Manager waves hand at team members* This is not the job you were looking for. *Team members* This is not the job we were looking for...

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Avatar image for E2Ek1eL
E2Ek1eL

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Maybe they should make some better games. Perhaps 'legacy' Star Wars as opposed to Force Unleashed which, while fun, epitomizes everything that went wrong with Star Wars since Episode I. I have loved Lucas Arts since I was a kid and I can very confidently say that since KOTOR, there hasn't been a high quality A+ game within the Lucas Arts universe since. Sad.

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FinalDuo1886

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I knew this was coming...

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Calum691

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Seems the force was too strong for some LucasArts staff..

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biokrysty

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they should work harder on star wars games

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EvilShadez

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i would prefer the next installment in the jedi knight series over battlefront 3 any day of the week , now THAT is a proper game series

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BlackSheepWalls

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Even making bad games costs much. A smaller better staff is most of the time better anyway, look at platinum games or blizzard(excluded WOW). I cannot really remember good starwarsgames since the jedi knight games.

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Avatar image for 196432160425370547874320627439
196432160425370547874320627439

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Tough economic times causes copmpanies to become more efficient. When money is flowing well we tend to over-employ. Sucks but hopefully they reemerge stronger. I do not think Star Wars is dead, they just need to give what people want. Battlefront, Xwing, Tie Fighter, KOTOR. Force Unleashed is fun and I would say no worse (glitches and such) than anything else... companies not finishing out their products to the level they should.

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BLACKWINGS17

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We cannot discredit the Force Unleashed brand entirely. It is an awesome idea that has just been handled poorly. I too would love to see Battlefront 3 just as much as the next person, but Battlefront and any other Star Wars game for that matter has never given us a bad-ass Jedi experience - something Force Unleashed set out to do. On a side note, it really sucks that all of these employees are losing their jobs. In an ideal world, the corporate fat-cats would be willing to sacrifice a vacation or car here and there to help their "lesser" counterparts keep their jobs - but sadly, this is not an ideal world.

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Richardthe3rd

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I think it just boils down to people being really tired of Star Wars games. Lucas Arts has shown little to no interest in trying anything else. You can only beat a dead horse for so long.

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Caldrin

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All they need to is remake the xwing and tie fighter series in a nice new engine and id be very happy :)

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hvypetals

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Hey i got an idea.. how about making the games the fans have been asking for like... XWING vs TIE FIGHTER part 2 but with all the ships and vessels from the OTHER three movies. You know.. forget that.. just cash in on the old titles up on the shelf ten years ago. This way i can spend my MONEY on other things.

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Jex9

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@anthonycg I tried to thumbs up your comment twice, but I could only do it once...so here's me completely agreeing with you, and another thumbs up! lol

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Scotterius

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@anthonycg That is a good point about players who don't already play MMOs will likely skip the Kotor MMO. Wow has pretty much exposed everyone to MMOs. That is not saying that WoW is unbeatable, but most people who are not playing MMOs have strong reasons why. This would mean that most of the new players would be young, which would need a simpler game. Not a great sign.

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Bigsteve3570

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Hearing about lay offs is something I never look forward to hearing...

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Caldrin

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Well its not like they have made a decent game since the days of the xwing games and dark forces.. force unleased was ok but they should have made that a PC only game to show off the tech really well and not paid a limp arse company to port it a year after release but there we go...

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JrSlacker

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@Reilly86 To be fair, FU1 was good, it was a new take in Star Wars. FU2 on the other hand seemed to be a "oh hey, people really like FU, let's make a quickie". There has been other SW games that have been interesting, but the numbers are limited, for instance Republic Cammandos, BF, etc.

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Shimonhead

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[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

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Reilly86

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The force is weak with this one. To be fair, Lucasart keep making half arsed Star Wars games that nobody asks for and yet many are still waiting for a real next gen Indiana Jones game or a NEW Monkey Island game. Maybe its time for Lucasarts to stop telling people what they want, and start asking what people want. Lets face it, Star Wars Nuked the Fridge years ago.

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Dynamo11

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Battlefront 3 dammit! That's a best seller already

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Ex-DarkBlade

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LucasArts should listen to the fans.

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anthonycg

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They need to get on Battlefront 3 and make Kotor 3 a normal game and not some MMO which will simply be passed by anyone that doesn't already play MMOs!!! Do what the fans want - get paid. Why do they make this so hard on themselves? The idiots in PR are getting good workers laid off!!!

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DiscGuru101

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@maxwell97 Well back when the buisness first started, they did exactly that. They paid people between games. (For a big studio, there isn't usually much down time if management is doing their job.) We would be part of the R&D, have meetings, play video games. Get a feel for what the players liked and hated about our game and the competitions. Improve skills. There are things that can make the next game richer: like loyalty and team building. When left undone, we get a procession of soulless offerings (e.g. Force Unleashed 2)

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firehawk998

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Force Unleashed 2 was a really bad and a short game ( 5 hours). The only way Lucas arts can turn its fortune around is by making the next installment of Battlefront or Tie Fighter or Kotor 3.

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Barighm

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Barighm  Online

Why pay anyone Christmas bonuses when you can just fire them?

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CrazySupra

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If Lucas Arts make another X-wing or Dark Forces: Jedi Knight game and their financial problems would be solved....I still play those games....and X-wing is 17 years old!..How can you compete with that? I still play Kotor as well...but I give bioware the cred for that game :D...

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thps48

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Blah blah blah make more adventures blah blah blah you're kidding yourself if you think your present staff can make Star Wars games good blah blah blah... ...I probably have something else, but if you ignore something long enough you start to forget stuff about it (which is the point of the former, I suppose) which has been most effective for the motion gaming craze. Also, G4 is no longer in my basic listings. No more Sess, but at least I don't have to deal with Cops taking up 12 hours of the daily schedule...

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dangamit

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I have 2 words for you : Star Wars : Jedi Knight V OR Jedi Outcast 2.

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Pete5506

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I still need to play FU2, but I really want to see Battlefront 3

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Alex4789123

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@MatrixKing How about Star Wars: Imperial Commando. A game that takes place after Order 66 and you hunt down the remaining Jedi. Sigh, Lucasarts has so much potential but they don't use it.

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MatrixKing

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The game they need to make to ramp up their sales and that will help employees keep their jobs is a Star Wars: Republic Commando sequel or some sort of Star Wars: FPS games that ties into the movie storyline. I still play SW: RC once in awhile.

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maxwell97

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@DiscGuru101 "The game industry is now run by talking heads, non-creative types, and heartless greed mongers" - well, yeah, that's because the touchy-feely companies have been out of business for years. See Atari (the real one, not the current brand-name phenomenon). It sucks to be laid off, been there done that, but you can't pay people to work if their work isn't producing income. And this company is hardly unique; after all, unemployment is at almost 10% and has been for, what, 14 months now? That said, I agree that LucasArts has made some big mistakes with the Star Wars franchise. To this day, I'd rather play TIE Fighter or the original Jedi Knight over Force Unleashed or Battlefront. Those games were industry leaders, and were developed with originality, with the intent to put the player in the Star Wars universe. Today they make games to fit the license into popular molds, resulting in the Star Wars version of Battlefield (Battlefront), or Starcraft (Battleground), or Everquest (Galaxies), or God of War (Force Unleashed).

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kboleen

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why all the lego hate? personally I loved them. But i do agree Star Wars games are terrible now. I've just recently discovered the kotor games. they will be hard to top. they do need a good RPG, maybe set in the New jedi order era with theYuuzhan Vong, the legacy era or even the cade skywalker era

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Jedi_Dad

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I would love to see a Kotor3 instead of this lame online only 'The old republic'. In addition, one game that I and my kids would love to play would be a Titan Quest/Diablo-like Star Wars game. I agree with most of the posts, LA is not making games people want, that is why they are suffering financially.

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browersr

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I doubt it was "minor" to those that were laid off. Lucas should be a bit more savvy with the words they choose.

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Alex4789123

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Lucasarts problem is they don't listen to the fans. Every time i come on any forums about Star Wars games all i see is people begging for another Jedi Knight game or or new Battlefront game. Instead what do they make? More crappy Force Unleashed or Lego games that get terrible reviews and that no one likes. I don't understand the demand is there, so why wont they make these kinds of games when people would most definitely buy them. Lucasarts, please get back to making fun quality games like you used to make and that your fans want and deserve.

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