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LEC "bleeding talent," fate of all current projects unclear 13 Mar, 2013 / 10 comments

Sources close to Kotaku, presumably the same ones that recently revealed Star Wars 1313 is on hold, are now claiming that Star Wars: First Assault, that Battlefront-sounding XBLA shooter that was never officially announced, is no longer assured an existence.

The real scoop is that First Assault was in fact intended to be a sort of proof of concept for a Star Wars shooter running on the Unreal Engine, the success of which will directly lead to Battlefront III. The story is that LEC intentionally kept that brand off of this downloadable multiplayer game, which is nearly finished, "so expectations wouldn't be too high," and would have followed up with the long-awaited sequel.

Well, that was once the idea, anyway. Despite intending to release a closed beta of First Assault in September (which ties in nicely with October's minimal leaked reveal of the game), it seems that LucasArts has pretty much halted all their projects in the wake of the Disney acquisition. The reasoning? Apparently, there may be a sense that the Lucasfilm slate needs cleaning, a theory that the recent cancellation of Clone Wars and a second planned Star Wars TV show certainly seems to support. I'll bet the powers-that-be want all the focus to be on the new film trilogy.

Meanwhile, amidst all this uncertainty and decisions pending, hiring has frozen at LEC and employees have apparently been departing the studio in droves, so what will become of First Assault, 1313, and I guess whatever the hell else LEC has allegedly been up before the last menstrual cycle is an unknown. The author and the commenters seem primarily concerned about the effect LEC's potential euthanasia would have on the integrity of the Star Wars game franchise, which I don't mind telling you is exactly the kind of laugh I needed today.

Oh, and Kotaku also has some leaked footage of Star Wars: First Assault if the prospect rings your chimes.

Comments: 10 / Source: Kotaku

10 Comments

  • Avatar
    Call me Squinky on 15 Mar, 2013, 17:03…
    yeah I'm just hanging on to a vague and likely impossible hope that if Disney guts it as you say, they'll sell the IPs back for a not-ridiculous amount to Tim, Ron and others.

    I'd like to see Bill back for art, and if Purcell paints a cover (for whatever) that's the icing on the cake. But the core trio all contributing, at some concrete level, to Ron's MI:3a, or even Tim and Dave making another DoTT, I'd love to see something like that. Heck, Telltale could do something with Loom if they're not too busy with other IPs. And being his original idea, if Spielberg got the Dig back, we might see a film. Not that I'm a huge fan of that idea; but I'd heard he was a fan of MI (showed more interest than Lucas ever did), so he might give it to TT or someone to make a new title with it.

    MI or DoTT should be a priority. If only in my dreams.
  • Avatar
    Melancholick on 15 Mar, 2013, 16:27…
    For as much as I may want to angrily rattle my (light)saber in Disney's direction for this, it doesn't take much to assume their probable perspective on the current worth of LAG as a viable production entity.

    I mean, seriously: as anybody who's been buckled in for this ride via Mojo for the last six years can tell you, it's pretty much been a net loss creatively and administratively. Like you guys said: the higher-ups have no cohesive vision, games which are guaranteed cash in the coffers like BFIII get canned for NO perceptible reason when they're practically shelf-ready, and even their efforts to bleed the SW IP--a no-brainer, if there ever was one--have failed miserably.

    If I'm Disney, I take one look at this mess (Or just read a few Mojo columns/That IGN editorial) and gut the sucker without much hesitation. The only thing that LAG has left of value is its old IPs (Which it's doing nothing with), its current Star Wars projects (Which, based on the company's previous efforts to craft AAA-titles--i.e. Indiana Jones--would have been totally underwhelming) and its name as a brand... the last of which hasn't exactly been a banner of integrity for those who are still willing to count themselves as fans.
  • Avatar
    Call me Squinky on 15 Mar, 2013, 07:17…

    Jason

    Call me Squinky

    from our perspective... who knows



    who knows indeed.

    People have been hoping, like IGN, that they'll take the tack they did with the films, and hire the best pre-fan-approved next-best-guy after Joss his Heavenly Whedon. And anyone who wasn't a Trekkie who saw Abram's Trek liked it, pretty much. So I can't imagine the casual filmgoer will get up in arms. If Mara Jade isn't in it, though, well...

    But why doesn't that mentality apply to LA? I mean, the games market is still seen as an underdog, when it's raking in cash a feature film, which lasts maybe 2 hours at most, and costs a shitton to produce, market, and give a proper theatre/bluray release, could only dream of, yet somehow it's like gamers are the anti-nerds.

    Even casual movie critics who don't really have much to say will get more attention than a legit VG journalist. Of which there are precious few, outside of fan-run sites such as this.

    tl;dr when bringing in the big talent for a film is a priority, a sure-fire moneymaking scheme, like, say, developing a half-decent Star Wars game that, like 1313, is kind of promising, ties into an established show they also canned out of hand, and might be... not-bad, why is there such a double standard? Get with the times, mouse.

    Abram's Trek - A Biblical Journey Through Space

    Featuring James Earl Jones as voice of God, Peter Mayhew as body of Jesus, and Sir Mark Wahlberg as Son of Abram.

    Other actors unknown, TBA by JJ Abrams and Disney. I hope Maurice Dean Wint is in there somewhere.

  • Avatar
    Jason on 14 Mar, 2013, 22:37…

    Call me Squinky

    yeah you're right Jason, but it still begs the question, why can't they just make up their minds?



    My guess would be that the people who run/ran LEC have a certain vision, but their decisions are superseded by a parent company that doesn't necessarily understand games. Ultimately, LEC is the division of a bigger entertainment empire and while that may have always technically been the case, I think that Lucasfilm (and now Disney) decided around ten years ago to exercise its power to micromanage more than ever before.

    I can imagine a scenario where LEC is seen as being given an opportunity to prove the theory of internal development that then gets declared a failure after a year or two of cement-pouring. A constant flux in Lucasfilm management could also be a factor in a explaining the seeming fickleness in strategy from our perspective. My belief is that ultimately, the heads that wish for Star Wars games to be a matter of pure licensing will prevail, but who knows if Disney has something more ambitious in mind.
  • Avatar
    Diduz on 14 Mar, 2013, 22:13…

    Jason

    Because the ultimate ambition of the high council is probably to get rid of LucasArts altogether. Why fund a development studio when there's risk-free revenue to be generated simply letting other people make Star Wars games?


    My thoughts exactly.
  • Avatar
    Call me Squinky on 14 Mar, 2013, 21:03…
    yeah you're right Jason, but it still begs the question, why can't they just make up their minds? Well before the Disney takeover, as you said, they've been nudging towards this decision. But they can't have it both ways - if they want to halt all internal development, shut down Lucasarts and license only. Otherwise don't shut down projects already far into development. It's ridiculous.

    Of course, ideally if they shut down Lucasarts, they'd sell the adventure IPs to interested parties, ideally Ron, Double Fine, Telltale, and so on. But all this mincing around and vacillating, I don't understand it as a business model. It was IGN, I believe, in the linked article, who postulated a lesser developer would have been beggared by this bizarre 'tactic' by now. Anyway, hopefully at the very least Disney will know what it wants to do and do it. And hopefully that means that if they shut down Lucasarts, they'll sell the adventure IPs to the people who created them.
  • Avatar
    fco on 14 Mar, 2013, 18:53…
    If Star Wars related games are having this hard time, I don't want to even think about what's in store for the rest of the Lucasarts franchises' future.
  • Avatar
    Jason on 14 Mar, 2013, 18:22…
    Because the ultimate ambition of the high council is probably to get rid of LucasArts altogether. Why fund a development studio when there's risk-free revenue to be generated simply letting other people make Star Wars games? This is the direction Lucasfilm has been nudging toward for years well before the Disney buyout. There's probably a conclusion to draw from the fact that every LEC president's attempt to revive internal development never truly gets off the runway. I think there are forces in play to deny that growth.
  • Avatar
    Call me Squinky on 14 Mar, 2013, 17:45…
    also, relevant to the actual post

    why does the slate always need cleaning? the slate is constantly being dry-erased every time they get close to completing a project. How on Earth do they hope to NOT bleed talent, and indeed, cash, when all they do is - new president (now new company holder, Disney) all projects scrapped, progress made halted, rinse and repeat.
  • Avatar
    Call me Squinky on 14 Mar, 2013, 17:43…
    not to be a grammar Nazi, but

    'Sources close Kotaku'

    a 'to' this sentence does not have

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