Published on May 7th, 2013 | by David Chandler8
EA New Exclusive Holder of the Star Wars Games License
A long time ago in an industry far, far away, a group of creative and brilliant people joined forces to form LucasArts. In those days the team produced fantastic adventure games and a few Star Wars flight simulators, and their success launched some of the greatest franchises in game history. LucasArts has since become one with the Force (yet I’m doubtful on the whole “more powerful than you can imagine” side of things), but we knew it would hardly be the end of Star Wars games. Yesterday, the world learned that Disney, the current guardians of Star Wars, has handed the development of any forthcoming games to none other than EA. Cue the music.
Yes, friends, Electronic Arts–the so-called (quite hyperbolically) worst company in America–now has control over the future of Star Wars video games. But before we all scream dramatically, let’s take a look at the message from the people behind the move.
“While we don’t have any details to share today on specific titles, our development teams are already brimming with design ideas. The EA Studios that will develop these games are some of the most innovative and popular creative teams in the world, and include DICE and Visceral, in addition to the BioWare team, which is already developing for the Star Wars franchise. These imaginative teams will make games that may borrow from films, but the games will be entirely original with all new stories. Powering it all will be the Frostbite 3 development engine – guaranteeing incredible graphic fidelity, environments and characters.”
–Frank Gibeau, President EA Labels
This doesn’t sound all that terrible, to be honest. DICE, with its experience in shooters could theoretically deliver a solid Battlefront-type shooter. Visceral’s success with the Dead Space franchise seems an appropriate fit for a good third-person Star Wars game–they’re certainly competent in the space opera department. As far as BioWare goes, well we have Knights of the Old Republic to back up that team’s credibility. If these developers can work with care and consideration on the franchise and avoid lazy disasters like The Force Unleashed II, we could see a whole generation of polished Star Wars games.
Still, is there anything that should give us a bad feeling about this? Possibly. Disney is putting all of its eggs in one Imperial basket, so to speak. It seems like selling key franchises to different publishers would create more competition and diversity on the creative side of game development. Let’s face it, Star Wars games have been stagnating for a while, and I have my reservations that a deal between Disney and only one publisher will be the new hope Star Wars games so desperately need. Plus, there’s something quite unsettling about the remains of a shattered LucasArts property coming back to life due the machinations of a game Empire.
According to Gibeau’s post, they’re all for hearing new ideas, so if I don’t see some spectacular fan suggestions in the comments, I’ll be sorely disappointed. It could make for a really interesting showing this year at E3. Here’s hoping this decision will allow the Star Wars glory days to strike back.