Disney is stirring a video gaming name that’s been dormant since long before there ever was a Star Wars: TIE Fighter or Knights of the Old Republic. In a mysterious bit of behind-the-scenes hiring, the Mouse House is reportedly filling positions for the newly awakening Lucasfilm Games publishing brand — and no one outside the company has a solid idea of what it could mean.
You don’t have to be quite as old as Yoda to remember Lucasfilm Games, but fans of a certain age might recall the publisher — which eventually was absorbed into the LucasArts brand it helped create — from the earliest days of console and computer gaming. From Labyrinth to Indiana Jones to Star Wars, Lucasfilm Games put out dozens of game titles from the George Lucas movie-verse (and beyond) for Nintendo, SEGA, Commodore, Atari, and more in the mid-to-late 1980s and early 1990s.
Without delving too far into corporate histories and business deals, it’s worth noting that Lucasfilm Games is the original place where Star Wars and other Lucas-created franchises got their start in gaming. Also worth noting is that most of the Star Wars games people love from the mid-’90s onward were published by LucasArts, not Lucasfilm Games.
That’s a long-winded way of saying that Disney doesn’t necessarily have a rigorous, recently laid brand path it must follow as it dials up whatever’s next for Lucasfilm Games — so it’s anyone’s guess what it all might mean. EA Games acquired licensing rights for new Star Wars games following Disney’s buyout of Lucasfilm in 2012, and for better or worse, EA has been synonymous with the Star Wars game-verse ever since.
Recently, EA’s handling of its Star Wars license has sparked a fair amount of outcry — especially with its decision to abandon an ambitious, long-developing Star Wars adventure game to focus solely on the upcoming Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. That move, reports PC Gamer, may lie at the heart of Disney’s decision to ramp up new activity at Lucasfilm Games — although the same report notes that Disney appears to have been staffing the company as far back as 2017.
Whatever Lucasfilm Games might have up its sleeve, one thing it’s not doing — at least not yet — is stepping in to take over the Star Wars game (or games) that EA Games has in the works. Although little is known about Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, that title still appears to be on track to release sometime this fall.
So far, Disney’s hiring focus at Lucasfilm Games has reportedly centered more on the publishing and marketing side of things, rather than on actual game development. But at a company famous for its ability to control the flow of information, it’s tough to anticipate whether Lucasfilm Games is destined for a stepped-up role in selling games that other developers create — or whether it’s preparing to actually jump headfirst back into a game-making galaxy from which it’s long been absent.