EA has now acquired the exclusive rights to develop/publish all Star Wars games for the forseeable future.
I guess it’s not a huge surprise… Disney is gearing up to start pumping out a new Star Wars movie every year, and EA has already mastered annual, incremental franchise releases in the video game space.
When this happened with the NFL license, it ended up being pretty bad for football video games. Madden became the only NFL option, and the competitors (mainly the NFL 2K series) died off. These games need some competition to force them to push boundaries.
Letting a company that is largely reviled by gamers, and running two years strong as the “worst company in America,” have complete control over the manufacture of Star Wars games doesn’t sound like the best route to me.
Still, I’ll try and find the silver lining here. While EA puts out a lot of junk, they have backed some decent games. They put out the first Dead Space, which was a move against the grain for them, and it paid off. Of course, they then saw dollar signs and had to turn it into a franchise, which destroyed the whole fucking thing, but the initial game was good.
EA has good studios in their roster. Star Wars could definitely use a first-person shooter along the lines of Battlefront, and Battlefield’s DICE can do that. The Battlefield games, I feel, play second fiddle to Call of Duty’s “Hurr durr, war” bro-shooter genre, but the Star Wars franchise would set it apart. Battlefield 2142 was my favorite of the Battlefield games just because it felt so unique compared to all the other war shooters out there.
Bioware, we already know, can make Star Wars games. Perhaps this puts on track for a true KOTOR sequel. Maybe they can just use whatever engine they’re using for Dragon Age 3 or the next Mass Effect.
I’ll take a Simcity/The Sims style game set aboard the Death Star, launch issues or not. Let me at it, I’ll make sure my Death Star doesn’t have any fucking open exhaust ports.
Don’t even get me started on the idea of reviving the X-wing franchise.
So I don’t know. I recoiled a bit when I first read the news, but hell, it’s not like we were getting a plethora of incredible Star Wars games before this. So ultimately we’re in the same situation we are with the movies; if they all suck, technically we’re no worse off.
My guess is that we won’t know for sure until next year’s E3. Then we can start getting our yearly editions of Huttball.