Yesterday it was announced that Disney and EA would team up, giving EA rights to a multi-year, multi-title exclusive licencing agreement to produce Star Wars games. Fanboys world over then proceeded to flip their shit. As an off the cuff reaction, this was to be expected. After all, EA was voted the worst company in America recently, largely due to fan outrage over the SimCity launch debacle, outrageous pricing models and games not meeting expectations. That doesn’t sound like the kind of company you want associated with one of the biggest and most beloved franchises of all time. WRONG. Here’s why:
5) They have the technology
EA have stated that all of the games will be running on the Frostbite 3 engine. Frank Gibeau states this is “guaranteeing incredible graphic fidelity, environments and characters.” All of these games will be on the next generation of consoles (though WiiU inclusion is debatable, at the moment FB3 cannot run on WiiU) and with this tech behind them they will no doubt look stunning. Now graphics aren’t everything but with a solid engine supporting them, hopefully these games will run smoothly and look the part. Check out FB3 in the Battlefield 4 trailer below:
4) They have the ability to make a new pod racing game!
EA have Criterion. Criterion make Burnout and Need for Speed. They NEED to make a pod racing game! Seriously, did any of the you play Star Wars Episode 1 Racer for N64? That game was the best when I was a kid. Sure it looks like balls now but that’s precisely why we need a new one, on the next generation of consoles, so this one can have actual textures! Okay so this is more a personal reason but the point stands. Gimme more space racing!
3) They’ve got the resources
Making these games is going to be a huge task. We’ve heard numerous reports in recent years about how producing AAA games has become so unwieldy and costly that return on investment is rarely a certain. Therefore, to pump the inevitably monumental amount of cash into these games is going to require one of the big companies, so EA, Activision or Ubisoft.
The good news is, EA have the resources to work on multiple titles at the same time via their collection of development teams. Not only that, but the press release states that “The new experiences we create may borrow from films, but the games will be entirely original with all new stories and gameplay.” This means that the teams, presumably, wont have to work on tight schedules dictated by the movie release date, they will have control over the development of the game.
By choosing EA, Disney have ensured that there will be multiple Star Wars games to look forward to in the future, rather than simple movie tie ins. Go ahead and take a moment to breathe a sigh of relief and take a quick glance at Star Trek The Video Game – currently averaging 44% over three consoles.
2) They have the marketing
Another advantage of EA’s size is that they are used to producing this caliber of games. They know how to sell a AAA game. With the new trilogy of movies, Star Wars will be brought to a new generation of kids who get to experience (hopefully) the joy of discovering this whole new universe. If the development teams can deliver on the quality of these games, EA is sure as hell going to try and push them to every single home with a videogame console.
With solid marketing the games should succeed and will expand the universe for all of these people getting into Star Wars for the first time. One of the biggest strengths of Star Wars is its established and constantly evolving mythos and universe, and any wider look at that is a good thing. These games were always going to have a certain level of buzz due to the new films, but with EA behind them they have a real chance of succeeding! As long as they don’t require a constant internet connection…
1) They have the talent
Let’s get this straight. DICE (Battlefield) are working on this, Visceral (Dead Space) are working on this, Bioware (Mass Effect, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Star Wars: The Old Republic) are working on this. Looking at the pedigree of these developers, I’d say we were on track for 3 great Star Wars games.
DICE have got all the multiplayer experience you could want so all of you out there still craving Star Wars Battlefront 3, this could be your best bet. Not to mention, EA purchased Pandemic Studios (Developer of the first two Battlefront games) back in 2007 and though the studio was closed in 2009 EA absorbed 35 employees back into the fold. I don’t know how many of these developers have remained at EA but it’s worth thinking about the fact that some of the developers behind the first two games are potentially still working for EA and able to help with a sequel.
Visceral are the guys behind the Dead Space franchise. If there’s one thing Visceral have to bring to the table, it’s the atmosphere and sound design of their games because goddamn are they good. Bioware may have the story side down, DICE may have the large scale, multplayer galactic warfare covered but I would look to Visceral to make the up close and personal game. Whether it’s survival horror or not, Visceral have proved their worth with the Dead Space series and if they can bring that to the Star Wars universe, it’s only a good thing. Perhaps leave the multiplayer to DICE though….
Bioware have made two celebrated Star Wars games already: Knights of the Old Republic, one of the best RPG’s of the last generation, and Star Wars: The Old Republic, one of the best MMORPG’s outside of World of Warcraft. They have worked on a huge scale space opera before in the form of Mass Effect. They have a fantastic pedigree and are renowned for their storytelling and ability to craft a believable and living world, filled with more backstory and history than you could ever want. From the perspective, they are perfect for making a Star Wars game.
But as one Redditor sums it up:
EA get a very bad rep on the internet, and it’s not entirely undeserved. They have done some bad stuff and made some mistakes, but so have all of the largest developers and publishers. They have also brought us some incredible games, so before you throw the baby out with the bathwater stop and consider the fact that these games could well be something special. We all have a special place in our hearts for Star Wars but that just means you should be excited at the chance of some great new lore, not crapping all of the announcement with negativity!