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Disney shutters Star Wars game unit with 200 layoffs

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Just a few months after snapping up George Lucas' Star Wars empire, Disney is shutting down its game unit LucasArts and laying off around 200 employees.

All work has ceased on the two new games announced last year, Star Wars: 1313 and Star Wars: First Assault, although they could be revived if another game-maker takes over.

In a statement released to US media including Game Informer and the Wall Street Journal, Disney said that Star Wars games could still be made by companies under licence.

"After evaluating our position in the games market, we've decided to shift LucasArts from an internal development to a licensing model, minimising the company's risk while achieving a broader portfolio of quality Star Wars games," the company said.

"As a result of this change, we've had layoffs across the organisation. We are incredibly appreciative and proud of the talented teams who have been developing our new titles."

According to the WSJ, fewer than ten people will be left at the firm to work on licensing deals, after a couple of hundred employees get their pink slips.

Disney agreed to acquire the game firm's parent Lucasfilm in October last year for $4bn and was hinting even at the time that LucasArts could be on its way out.

While the Mouse immediately started talking about new Star Wars movies, it also hinted that the Lucas empire would be moving away from console game development.

LucasArts was big in the 90s, when its Monkey Island series and Maniac Mansion game were hailed by critics along with its Star Wars-based offerings. But the firm's star has dwindled since then and the last internally developed game it released was 2010's Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II. ®

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