With the recent announcement that EA has made a deal with Disney that gives them exclusive rights to publish Star Wars games, I thought it’d be a good time to give my take on the whole thing, and also share a few things that I hope EA does with the franchise.
First off, I am okay with EA having the rights to Star Wars media for the “core gamer” audience (which means only console games). I know that EA is largely loathed by a lot of gamers, resulting in it being named “Worst Company” for the last two-years (which is ridiculous in itself), but I’ve never really found fault with them.
Sure, they’ve made some stupid decisions, but come on, who hasn’t? For the most part, they make enjoyably games, and since EA has announced that three of their studios will each be developing their own Star Wars game.
EA CEO Frank Gibeau says, “Three of our top studios will …craft epic adventures for Star Wars fans. DICE and Visceral will produce new games, joining the BioWare team which continues to develop for the Star Wars franchise. The new experiences we create may borrow from films, but the games will be entirely original with all new stories and gameplay.”
Now I don’t know about you, but that sounds really promising.
If you don’t already know, BioWare is known for developing the original Knights of the Old Republic game, as well as the Dragon Age and Mass Effect games, so suffice to say they have a pretty solid pedigree. Visceral is best known for the Dead Space games, but have also done the fantasy hack ‘n slash Dante’s Inferno. And DICE, well, they do top-of-the line shooters such as Battlefield.
So, without further ado, here’s a list of what I hope each studio is doing, and what I think they’re actually going to do.
What I hope they do: I’d be shocked if BioWare didn’t make a Star Wars RPG. However, what kind of RPG remains in question. I can only hope that they do a game in the same vein and style as the KOTOR games, if not a direct continuation of the franchise (and no, The Old Republic MMO was not a direct sequel).
My wish is that BioWare makes a game that feels like Knights of the Old Republic, plays like it, and has the same kind of story as it. So, basically, the same kind of game that BioWare has been making for years. While I’d love a sequel to KOTOR 2, I would actually prefer a whole new story set in a different timeline.
Maybe it could lead up to Episode VII in some way, or fill in some of the backstory between Episode VI and VII. I want branching story paths, an eclectic cast of characters and, hopefully, the ability to create your own protagonist. As long as BioWare makes it feel like a Star Wars game, then I’ll be happy.
What they probably will do: I think it’s pretty much a sure thing that BioWare is doing an RPG, but the question remains what kind of RPG? My guess is that they will likely develop a whole new game that may borrow from KOTOR, but will still feel new.
In fact, I bet that whatever Star Wars game they produce will look more like Mass Effect than KOTOR, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As long as the game looks, feels, and play the way a Star Wars game should, then I’ll be happy. I just want another in-depth Star Wars RPG, and I fully believe BioWare will deliver that.
What I hope they do: Finish Star Wars 1313. That game looked incredible, and I’m still sad it seems to have been canceled. I’m sure it was far enough along in its development that Visceral could pick up where LucasArts left off, and who knows, with access to EA’s superb Frostbite 3 engine, maybe they could make 1313 even better than it would’ve been.
However, I doubt this will happen. I suspect 1313 is dead and Visceral will make a new game. If they go that route, I have a few ideas for them. Number one: Boba Fett. If you’ve seen or played any of Dead Space, then you know it’s easy to imagine Isaac Clarke being replaced by the famed bounty hunter. And this is what I hope Visceral does.
Create an intense, maybe more mature third-person shooter starring Boba Fett, explaining his early years as a bounty hunter, or even how he escaped the Sarlaac; I don’t really care. But since we’ll never know if 1313 was going to focus on Boba or not, this is the next best thing.
What they will probably do: Similar to BioWare, I bet Visceral will be developing a whole new game, probably based off a character(s) introduced in Episode VII. This could still be cool, as Visceral seems to have a firm grasp on game-making, but the question arises as to what kind of game would they make?
Well, I suspect it’ll have something to do with Jedi. Rather than do a typical third-person shooter, I bet Visceral will do a third-person action/adventure game in the same vein as The Force Unleashed, where you play as some Jedi, who, once again, probably plays a part in Episode VII.
Since they have some experience with melee combat, this isn’t much of a stretch, and is the route I imagine they’ll take. Whatever they do though, I suspect it’ll be grand in scale and a flashy, exciting trip to play through. Let’s just hope they don’t treat lightsabers as baseball bats.
What I hope they do: Knowing DICE and their pedigree, I bet they’re going to be hard at work on a frenetic Star Wars themed FPS. While I know there are thousands of fans pushing for a Battlefront 3, I have a different idea. While Battlefront 2 was amazing, and literally sucked away my ten-year old summer, I hope DICE does something a little different.
I would love to see a Republic Commando 2 (or something similar), but I doubt that’s even in the cards. And that’s okay, as I would almost prefer to see them chronicle either how the Rebels re-took the rest of the galaxy after Episode VI (as blowing up the Death Star II probably wouldn’t have killed every bad guy), or show us how the new villain(s) in Episode VII rise to power.
Regardless, what I want from DICE is a gorgeous to look at shooter that shows us a side of Star Wars we don’t often see. Crazy multiplayer modes and maps. Yes please. An interesting story with likable characters. Absolutely. A shooter that not only differentiates itself from the smorgasbord of FPS games on the market, but also does something new and exciting with the Star Wars brand? Now we’re in business.
What they probably will do: My guess is that what I described above is what we’ll probably get from DICE. A FPS placed in the Star Wars universe. It probably won’t be a sequel of any kind, but something original and will, most likely, look a lot like Battlefield.
Once again, this could be cool as the Battlefield shooters are fine, but I just hope they make it their own and not just give their standing shooters a Star Wars paint job. DICE is a fine developer, and as long as they give their game the proper amount of attention and originality, I’m sure it’ll be great.
Heck, they could even pick up and finish the XBLA shooter that was canceled Star Wars: First Assault (screenshot below). That game looked sweet, and I imagine that that’s the route DICE will take with their game; especially in terms of visual style. And I’m okay with that.
So there you have it, my excessively nerdy thoughts on EA’s acquisition of the Star Wars gaming license. What do you think of all of this? Will EA give Star Wars gamers the thing they’ve been yearning for, or drive the already rocky Star Wars video-game image into the ground? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and let me know what you hope to see!