It has not been a good time to be a fan of Star Wars video games. The last really decent title in the franchise, The Force Unleashed was released way back in 2008, before everything starting smelling like Bantha poodoo. And then the new owners of Lucasarts, Disney, decided to make the game division of that company one with the Force. So are Star Wars games dead? Nope! They’ve got a new home now, with the EA Empire.
Electronic Arts has managed to snag a hell of an exclusive, as the home of annual football (American and European) will now be developing and publishing games set in a galaxy far, far away for Disney. Current EA studios DICE (Battlefield) and Visceral (Dead Space) will be in charge of new entries for the franchise, while Bioware will continue in some capacity as well.
While EA will be making games for the “core gaming audience” according to Kotaku, Disney will instead work on creating new mobile and social game experiences using that license to print money.
“This agreement demonstrates our commitment to creating quality game experiences that drive the popularity of the Star Wars franchise for years to come,” Disney co-president John Pleasants said in a statement.
Collaborating with one of the world’s premier game developers will allow us to bring an amazing portfolio of new Star Wars titles to our fans around the world.
“Every developer dreams of creating games for the Star Wars universe,” said EA Labels president Frank Gibeau in a statement. “Three of our top studios will fulfill that dream, crafting epic adventures for Star Wars fans. DICE and Visceral will produce new games, joining the BioWare team which continues to develop for the Star Wars franchise. The new experiences we create may borrow from films, but the games will be entirely original with all new stories and gameplay.”
And you know what? This makes me happy. What this deal means, is that there will be more Star Wars games in the future at least. And they won’t be handled by Disney directly, because when it comes to game development, I’d rather eat my own face than play one of their games again.
Sure, there’s going to be some criticism towards the always-online practices of this publisher, or the need for sequels, but dammit…I’m just happy that the franchise is finally being thawed out of carbonite for this next step in the saga.
At this point, I wouldn’t be too surprised to see a new Knights of the Old Republic emerge, or the revival of Star Wars Battlefront 3 with DICE behind the wheels of that land-speeder. As for those other Lucasarts properties, such as Indiana Jones and Grim Fandango? Don’t expect to see an EA label on them anytime soon. The deal signed is for Star Wars games only.
What’s your opinion on this then? A smart move, or does the dark side of game development cloud your vision of the future? And will it be as good as Aussie Star Wars?