There’s no sugar-coating one indisputable fact in the gaming industry: EA’s handling of the franchise, has been nothing more than a colossal fuck-up of note. Five years into the contract, and the sole provider of Star Wars games on current console and PC platforms has managed to churn out…two games. Now granted, making video games isn’t easy.
There’s no magical “make game now” button to streamline the process and offer an annual release to look forward to, but EA and DICE’s efforts to date have been utterly dismal. A pair of games that have failed to live up to the potential of the Star Wars license and its treasure trove of material to mine. Star Wars Battlefront may have been a gorgeous shooter, but it was ultimately more hollow than a cheap supermarket Easter egg and riddled with quick grabs at microtransaction cash.
Star Wars Battlefront II on the other hand, managed to somehow amplify those faults and will go down in history as one of the most hated games in the entire franchise thanks to blatant corporate greed shoving its hand up the rectum of that sequel and pretending it was a cash-hungry puppet. There’s a lot to be said about the current state of Star Wars video games, but sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words:
While there’s still another five years left in EA’s contract with Disney, the damage has been done. A magnificent franchise has been ruined for an entire generation of gaming, and the house of mouse has hopefully learnt a lesson from putting all of its eggs into a single basket. I’m not going to focus on that though. Rather, I want to look to the future of what an ideal Star Wars game could be.
The studios that would be strong in the Force, able to harness their innate potential to create a Star Wars game that satisfies certain genres and fans. If we had an unlimited budget, here’s a look at the dream games we’d love to see made and the studios we’d trust to handle them:
The perfect Clone Wars action game
The developer: Platinum Games
You think action, you think Platinum. The powerhouse studio (most of the time COUGH “LEGEND OF KORRA” COUGH!) has been responsible for some of the greatest hits of the decade, ranging from the spellbinding action of Bayonetta to the sublime swordplay of Metal Gear Rising and then some. Platinum’s got a talent for translating big budget kinetic slobber-knockers to games, and they just don’t come any bigger than the massive war which engulfed the galaxy for two years.
Imagine the gigantic battlefields of Vanquish, the ability to slice through hordes of Trade Federation war-droids as a Jedi and a cheesy wartime story that ends in tragedy and betrayal as Order 66 is carried out. Make mine Platinum.
The perfect Rogue Squadron game
The developer: Project Aces
If Ace Combat 7 has proven anything, it’s that Bandai Namco’s Project Aces gets dogfighting. Every aspect of that game is a tightly-knit masterpiece of aerial acrobatics and intense showdowns, glued together by incredible visuals and gameplay that makes you feel like you really are in the cockpit of cutting edge tech. You could take that exact same game, throw in a few X-Wings, and I’d be in heaven.
It has been agonisingly long since Star Wars introduced proper starfighter battles to gamers, and while EA’s Battlefront games did include them, they were mostly limp-wristed affairs that had barely any meat on its bones. Give us the real Rogue Squadron. Give us the ragtag band of the Rebellion’s finest aces, and throw us into impossible odds as we face an army of TIE Fighters and evade fire from Star Destroyers. Give fans the chance to do the Death Star Run all over again, or even take a stab at new aerial arenas.
The perfect Masters of Teras Kasi Star Wars fighting game
The developer: Arc System Works
My gut reaction for a Star Wars fighting game would be to throw that project at Mortal Kombat powerhouse NetherRealm, but for a return to the dreadful universe of Masters of Teras Kasi? I’d love to see Arc System Works flex their unique style and aesthetics all over that project. The original game was a bonkers concept, broken on launch and a benchmark for cheesiness, but Arc System Works has a talent for not only making such ideas work, but for their love and care when handling such properties.
Just look at last year’s Dragon Ball FighterZ for proof of this, and imagine that intense action applied to Star Wars. Sure, it would make no sense whatsoever to see Han Solo still have his torso attached after a slash from Darth Vader, but you’d probably be having way too much fun to even care if Arc System Works had their way.
The perfect Republic Commando game
The developer: Treyarch
Years after release, and Star Wars: Republic Commando is still one of the definitive shooters set in that universe. It’s gritty, it’s dirty and dammit I still want justice for Sev. When it was released, no other game had managed to capture the ferocity of the Clone Wars from the same angle that Republic Commando had managed to.
You weren’t a Jedi gifted with plot-convenient powers, you were a trooper on the ground, albeit one who had the benefit of a little of the ol’ super-soldier training to his name. That in your face action, impossible odds and a squad who had your back made for an experience akin to the best beats from Saving Private Ryan or The Thin Red Line. Unrivalled before, during and after its release, Republic Commando deserves a second shot at life.
And if you’re going to give that premise to a Call of Duty studio, why not go for the A-Team? Call of Duty’s positively American take on gun action is the benchmark for the genre, sleek and sexy celebrations of firepower that would feel right at home with that studio.
The perfect Jedi Knight game
The developer: MachineGames
On the other hand, if you’re going to dip into the Force and still wield a blaster, you’re going to need gameplay that offers a little more variety with your space-shooting. With two Wolfenstein games under their belts, Machine Games has proven to be more than capable of providing an alternative path to success for gamers.
Prefer a gun-heavy approach to the usual stealth? Machine Games mastered that concept, turned it up to 11 and unleashed its Nazi-stomping action on a world that was not prepared for its level of in-your-face savagery. And yet, there’s a story to be told in those games that are surprisingly tender and gentle in comparison to the violence that you’re capable of unleashing. What could be a better fit for Star Wars, a series that fits the bill for emotional and epic storytelling, than a game project from this studio? Also, I want my boy Kyle Katarn to pick up his lightsaber again, dammit.
The perfect loveable Han Solo rogue game
The developer: Naughty Dog
Star Wars 1313. Whatever the hell it was that Visceral was working on before EA canned the idea. Man, it ain’t easy being a rogue in the Star Wars video game universe, especially when we’ve seen the formula applied to other franchises and genres. By all accounts, Visceral’s take on the new project would have been EA’s Uncharted, but we all know how that worked out.
So why not embrace that idea? Why not get Naughty Dog to make a game that many fans have been waiting for, for over a decade? You could slap some smuggler threads on Nathan Drake and call it a day, and fans would still be happy with the end result. But if Naughty Dog were to put their game faces on, craft a tale that made use of all their talents and create the definitive Han Solo experience in the process? It would be well worth the wait.
That’s just a few of my ideas, and while I’m still struggling to get the Steam workshop community to make a mod for They Are Billions that replaces zombies with Ewoks, I’d love to hear your dream collabo whammos. Sound off in the comments below.
Last Updated: January 23, 2019