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Lucasfilm lays off games staff in Singapore

Lucasfilm has laid off almost all of its games staff worldwide to focus on licensing out its game titles.

The “Star Wars” studio did not disclose the number of employees affected, but one of the laid-off employees told Yahoo! Singapore the games division in the city-state ranged between 60 and 100.

The person said the Singapore employees learnt of the lay-offs via email from the U.S. headquarters in the wee hours of Thursday and were told in the local office later the same morning.

Many of the laid-off employees, from designers to software engineers, were upset because the projects they were working on were nearly finished, the ex-employee said.

LucasArts was reportedly working on two games: “Star Wars: First Assault” and “Star Wars 1313”.

When contacted by Yahoo! Singapore, Lucasfilm Singapore’s communications manager Rasa Buckley declined to say how many employees were retrenched, but she said the games division in the city-state was “small”.

Affected individuals will undergo outplacement within the country, and some of them might be sent to relevant divisions under Lucasfilm Singapore, she added.

She denied that LucasArts in Singapore would shut down, adding that the division will focus on licensing games titles to external partners.

LucasArts has facilities in San Francisco, aside from Singapore.

In a statement, Lucasfilm, which was acquired by Disney last year, said that after evaluating its position in the games market, it decided to shift LucasArts “from an internal development to a licensing model” in a move towards “minimizing the company’s risk while achieving a broad portfolio of quality ‘Star Wars’ games”.

As a result of the change, “we’ve had layoffs across the organization”, it said.
The Hollywood Reporter said that “some 150 staff will lose their jobs” but Lucasfilm spokesman Miles Perkins told AFP the figure was “not correct” and that “a small team will be left to manage external partners”.

Perkins added that the company has stopped working on its two current projects.