A bombshell announcement arrived in my inbox late yesterday and, while at first it looked like the standard press release memo companies send out all the time, this one was a bit... oh, I'll go with unexpected. First, the news itself, which is that EA signed a deal with Disney to be the exclusive developer of Star Wars
games for an undisclosed number of years. If you will recall last month, we reported that Disney shut down LucasArts, no longer developing games in-house
and would instead opt for a licensing model. One month later and Disney actually did better than just licensing, as EA will now carry the burden of developing and publishing Star Wars
titles for all consoles, and all Disney has to do is sit back and watch the money roll into their Scrooge McDuck coffers.
There was some more news over the past few months that was not reported here at TrueAchievements, which makes this Disney-EA deal a little strange with regards to timing. In the past three months, EA has laid off anywhere from 150 to 300 employees from their studios around the world, going so far as to close down their Brazilian studio, EA Digital, which was primarily developing social games. EA Montreal, the studio behind the first games in the Army of Two
franchise, saw drastic cutbacks during the months of March and April, with rumors that the studio was going to be completely shuttered; so persistent, that EA was forced to respond directly to the business community.
Don't forget either that EA recently lost their CEO
following a disastrous fiscal year, which was partly a financial meltdown of epic proportions thanks to... Star Wars: The Old Republic
To their credit, EA has already stated that they will be focusing on developing Star Wars
games for the "core" gamer, which is one of those industry buzzwords for "gamers that identify themselves as gamers and purchase consoles for the purpose of playing games." That is of course good news, and EA has at least set up three of their best studios as taking point on new Star Wars
titles: Visceral Games, the studio behind the Dead Space
franchise; DICE, the studio responsible for the Battlefield
franchise; and finally, BioWare, the studio behind the aforementioned Star Wars: The Old Republic
With these three studios being given the keys to George Lucas' former kingdom and in turn, the keys to the hearts of so many gamers, the future of the Star Wars
franchise in video game form is looking bright. EA Labels President Frank Gibeau promised that while the "new experiences we create may borrow from films...the games will be entirely original with all-new stories and gameplay." All-new Star Wars
stories with original gameplay from the creative minds behind Battlefield
and Dead Space
? How bad can this be?
At the end of the day yesterday, two companies struggling to find their footing moving into the new fiscal year, managed to find each other. This partnership between EA and Disney can either be a match made in Heaven, or a match made in the Sarlaac pit. The only certainty is that the next console generation will still see Star Wars
titles and, in fact, it will likely see more Star Wars
titles than any other console generation. Again, how bad can this really be for the "core gamer"?
Feel free to wildly speculate in the comments!
Thanks to the members of the community that submitted this news.