Wednesday, 8 May 2013

The Force is with EA ... Like it or Not

Something something dark side, something something evil, something something EA.

After the news that Disney was closing the LucasArts came down people knew that it would only be a matter of time before the Star Wars rights went to another studio. After all, just because Disney wasn't willing to do anymore in house games doesn't mean they were foolish enough to stop doing games altogether. Well, the announcement has come down the pipe, and to say that it's a contentious one would probably wind up being a gross understatement.

As the title for this article would indicate, EA now has the exclusive rights to the Star Wars publishing for an unknown amount of time. Given that the company has an on-the-go game using the franchise -- that being the Old Republic MMORPG -- I guess that it's not much of a shocker that they would have been a candidate for such a deal. That still doesn't mean that it's sitting too well with a lot of people.

Now, this isn't to say that I think EA will make bad games, per se, but rather that because of this agreement that if anything a bunch of relatively safe games are going to be made. Safe and perhaps ultimately forgettable. When you add in some of the stuff that EA has loved doing lately though: always online, microtransactions in full scale full priced games, unnecessary multiplayer, and all of that other stuff, that's when we might be in trouble.

Granted, if EA plays it smart they could use all of these things and not have people get mad at them, it really just depends. For example I'm sure people would love it if EA did put out a multiplayer Star Wars experience by resurrecting the Battlefront franchise. It's just mostly dependent on how they handle everything. Since this is probably the biggest move that the company has made since John Riccitiello stepped down as the CEO, there's probably going to be a lot of scrutiny about what will come of this deal.

If you read EA's statement then you know they've been pretty brief about the entire thing, with this one paragraph being the majority of what they had to say:

"While we don’t have any details to share today on specific titles, our development teams are already brimming with design ideas.  The EA Studios that will develop these games are some of the most innovative and popular creative teams in the world, and include DICE and Visceral, in addition to the BioWare team, which is already developing for the Star Wars franchise.  These imaginative teams will make games that may borrow from films, but the games will be entirely original with all new stories.  Powering it all will be the Frostbite 3 development engine – guaranteeing incredible graphic fidelity, environments and characters."

It is almost assuredly to get people speculating on just what might coming next. Are old franchises like the aforementioned Battlefront coming back? Will work now continue in regards to Star Wars 1313, could we even see a return of the Rogue Squadron franchise? All of these are questions that EA is probably banking on people asking. Given that they need to turn around their profit margins they're probably hoping that people get as hyped up as possible regarding any and all future speculation on the games that could be coming out.

With this the only real certainty seems to be that maybe EA will stave off the financial problems that have been hampering it lately. Frankly though, if that happens I'm not even sure if that will be a good thing or a bad thing. All I can really say is that if you've been a fan of the Star Wars games in the past, then perhaps it would be time to clear your mind and trust in the Force, because that might be the only thing to actually do in this situation.

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