Yesterday, EA’s Frank Gibeau (President of EA Labels) announced in a press release that Disney has chosen EA to “create new ‘Star Wars’ experiences for gamers worldwide.” Other sources say that Disney and EA have arranged a new multi-year exclusive licensing deal.
EA’s agreement with Disney will apparently bring forward a whole new future of Star Wars games to the table – specifically to core gamers.
Before gamers and Star Wars fans alike think that EA will be the ones calling the shots, allegedly they won’t be – for the most part anyway. Disney will still have the rights to develop and publish titles in the “mobile, social, tablet and online game categories.” So, even though the EA press release states that Star Wars games will be coming to tablets and mobiles, it’ll be Disney who will be the ones developing Star Wars games for those platforms, I believe.
The press release didn’t detail any specific titles like Star Wars 1313 or any other game, which is concerning because ever since Lucas Arts’ closure back in April the status of that game – though hopeful – has still been left in the air, at least when I last checked.
What press release did detail, however, is that the developers that will be involved with future Star Wars titles (DICE, Visceral and BioWare) are allegedly already coming up with ideas. Fundamentally, these developers will make Star Wars games with original stories, but aspects of the stories themselves may borrow from the films.
To top it off, all future Star Wars games will apparently be powered by the Frostbite 3 engine, which will “guaranteeing incredible graphic fidelity, environments and characters.”
The press release ended with saying, “we have lots of ideas, but we want to hear from you. Tell us what kind of games you want to play. Send us your suggestions and tag @EA_DICE @VisceralGames @BioWare and #starwarsnextgen.”
Now that I have had time to calm and collect my thoughts, however, I’ve concluded that even though the developers involved have quite the pedigree I still don’t really trust EA to not interfere with development in someway. I don’t really trust Disney with it either, if I’m honest.
So, if EA has made an agreement for exclusivity over the Star Wars franchise, I’m assuming that Disney’s licensing model can’t give out any more licenses – since EA and Disney have arranged exclusivity. If that turns out to be the case in its entirety, then other developers (like Obsidian Entertainment) may not get a chance to develop a Star Wars games of their own.
Let’s step away from cynicism for a second and look at what positives could come from this.
So, we have DICE, Visceral and BioWare working on the next Star Wars games (whom have Battlefield 3, Dead Space 3 and Star Wars: The Old Republic respectively). Based on those three examples, I can playfully imagine what title development could go to who: Star Wars: Republic Commando 2, Star Wars: Scary, Mutilated Aliens Edition and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 3.
Okay, so Star Wars: Scary, Mutilated Aliens Edition is maybe more than a stretch, but regardless of that there could be some positivity to anticipate from these three developers – assuming EA doesn’t interfere and cut out story-essential content and sell it separately, and implement microtransactions, but that’s just me being a bit bitter.
How do you feel about EA getting exclusivity over the ‘Star Wars’ franchise? Let us know in the comments!