Unless you live with your head in the sand, yesterday you probably heard about the news that EA has secured exclusive rights to develop games based on the Star Wars franchise. The internet erupted with various opinions on both sides of the argument. The disenfranchised looked at the news like EA were going to ruin Star Wars or that they were going to pump out awful games because they won’t have competition. Regardless of your opinion on the quality that will come out of EA’s studios, I think it’s hard to argue that the move was very, very smart.
Star Wars is a huge franchise worth billions of dollars and even after George Lucas tarnished its legacy with the prequels, it is still loved the world over. For EA to be able to exclusively develop these games is a huge buoy for their investors and share holders that are looking for security and growth. I think the timing of this is rather significant as it arrives just a month or so after John Riccitiello stepped down as CEO of the company. With the lay-offs that have occurred as well as the rumblings from the press about their inability to be profitable and some woeful sales, the news of the Star Wars deal should provide a boost to EA’s stock and perhaps help them recapture some lost market share. Also despite what all the Debbie-Downers say, EA has some incredibly talented and creative minds working in their stable of development studios.
Perhaps the biggest news coming out of all of this is that EA has already announced that DICE, BioWare and Visceral have teams currently working on Star Wars games. Those three studios boast considerable talent and have a pedigree of excellence. BioWare alone was responsible for one of my favorite games ever: Knights of the Old Republic. DICE has first person shooter experience and the idea of a Battlefield style Star Wars game intrigues me. Visceral Studios on the other hand, has a history of some pretty brutal, gory games. While that doesn’t exactly fit the Star Wars universe, the possibility of wielding a lightsaber and actually dismembering enemies has me intrigued to see what kind of mark they will make on the franchise. All three of these developers are working with Frostbyte 3 as well, so you know they’re going to look absolutely stunning. Whether the games turn out to be reboots of known Star Wars IPs or brand new forays into the universe, I am expecting some exceptional Star Wars games to come out in the near future.
As time goes on, we’ll start to get more information on just exactly what EA plans to do with its Star Wars license but the news so far is extremely promising. With the liquidation of Lucas Arts, which was pretty hit or miss, EA has stepped into its place. While these are turbulent times for the franchise as a whole, Disney after all are the new lords over the Star Wars kingdom, I think it’s also a very exciting time. The possibilities are endless and while many are taking this as a tragedy, I’m letting go of my feelings and trusting in the Force.