Ever since Simon Jeffrey abruptly left the company on October 9 of last year, LucasArts has been without a president. That changed yesterday, when Jim Ward was appointed to the position atop Lucasfilm's game subsidiary.
Ward is a seven-year veteran of the Lucasfilm organization, acting as its head of marketing and distribution. He will retain that responsibility while adding the LucasArts role to his portfolio.
Industry sources told GameSpot that early this year, after holiday sales and revenue figures were tallied for the game division, Ward was handpicked by George Lucas to oversee the division. Today, that role was made official.
In a statement, Ward said, "I've worked closely with every division of the Lucas companies, and it's clear there is enormous potential for synergy between visual effects, video games, licensing, and film and television production. I'm looking forward to exploring how to integrate them into the current and emerging interactive entertainment markets, where so many possibilities exist. It's going to be a great adventure."
Ward's adventure got a little more exciting today as LucasArts announced a follow-up to the top-selling and critically lauded Knights of the Old Republic. Prior to today's announcement, the company had little to cheer about--layoffs last month saw the deletion of 29 jobs at LucasArts, and before that, the cancellation of the sequel to the company's likable Sam & Max Hit the Road game was revealed.
The company said one of Ward's "key priorities" would be to manage the process behind getting Star Wars Battlefront into gamers' hands--that game is timed to launch day and date with the release of the Star Wars Trilogy DVD on September 21, 2004.