LucasArts undergoing "major restructuring"

Star Wars games publisher confirms laying off staff and moving Episode III development off-site. KOTOR 3 development stalled.

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Responding to yesterday's reports that it had laid off staff, LucasArts today said in a statement that it was undergoing "a major restructuring of its development studio." A notice on the company's Web site outlined some of the restructuring's details, including layoffs of 31 staffers and the appointment of Peter Hirschmann as vice president of product development. Hirschmann, a two-year LucasArts vet and former Electronic Arts producer, had been managing the development of Star Wars: Battlefront and Mercenaries.

The restructuring is the first major change to be officially announced by LucasArts since Jim Ward took over as its president. “Since joining LucasArts in early May, I’ve taken a hard, critical look at our business," he said in the statement. "I’ve come to the conclusion that to make LucasArts thrive, and to position ourselves for the long-term future, we need to make some fundamental changes.”

Today, LucasArts began to outline what exactly said changes would entail. Firstly, in-house development will be scaled way back, because "the company will be concentrating on fewer titles," read the statement. While Star Wars: Battlefront and Star Wars Republic Commando remain at LucasArts, the publisher has farmed out development on its as-yet-untitled Episode III game to The Collective. The Southern California studio has developed several titles for LucasArts, including Wrath Unleashed and Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb.

On the project front, an informed industry source said the team attached to the early stages of development on Knights of the Old Republic 3 was let go in yesterday's layoff.

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