Disney buying Star Wars immediately led to them finding a game company to license Star Wars games. EA stepped up and we had a long list of potential routes they would take. Several years later, the fear of EA owning exclusive Star Wars rights seems to be coming true.
When Star Wars was gifted to EA there were many things to get excited for. The ways you could drive Star Wars forward is only limited by imagination, and EA has a lot of studios with great imagination. Then EA made excitement increase by slapping names like Bioware, DICE, or even Respawn on their presentations. It’s been years of outright hype, speculation, and ideas floating about. So when EA stepped on the stage for E3 we expected to be blown away by something, anything…. And we got nothing.
During E3 2016 EA hosted their own event titled EA Play. At this event we expected to hear about Star Wars and the imagination of fans was going crazy. I watched several lead-in shows that tried to predict where EA would go and we heard everything from a return of Knights Of The Old Republic to maybe Republic Commando, and from there we went to many games of similar nature. The overall objective was that people wanted to play as a Jedi or Sith and dive into the deep lore of the universe.
After all the expanded universe was cut loose when The Force Awakens released and a blank book was handed to everyone. The Star Wars books took this opportunity and ran with it with several good books released, and now we all sit patiently waiting for EA to do the same.
What we got instead was basically nothing. EA showed off a generic “behind the scenes” trailer that really has no purpose at all being at E3 because it wasn’t followed up with a surprise. The trailer is one of those motivational promo’s to make you “feel good” which are often followed up with something more.
Instead EA announced that Battlefront will see a sequel next year with no further details. Was that the surprise? We get a follow up to a game that many people were underwhelmed with? Don’t get me wrong, Battlefront could be good, but it is rather lackluster. “Bro, the original didn’t have single player,” is often the excuse, but the game did have other features. Plus this is 2016 (2015 when the game released) and not last generation or PSP, don’t you think it’s time to add to the experience?
Instead all we got was a name thrown at us with a generic “we are listening to the fans” message, and no way of them proving it. There is a lot to improve upon with Battlefront, the question is will they do it? Will it actually tell a story? Will it actually include space combat? Will we get conquest mode? Will there be any depth at all?
It’s not only improving upon the game that annoyed me. It’s the fact that instead of diving into Knights Of The Old Republic, reviving 1313, or diving into something entirely new we get a rehash of everything we already played. There was nothing new to show off, and according to their schedule there won’t be anything at all until 2018. However being Respawn is known for Titanfall that too will probably be a shooter….
Jordan said it best when he asked “Why does Call of Duty have more space combat than all of the Star Wars content we have seen from EA.” It’s not just Call of Duty though. Look at all the conferences and you can see the universe is being explored in so many ways. We have No Man’s Sky exploring an endless world in space ships. We have Star Trek going VR with a full crew piloting an entire friggin ship. We have Sony VR titles exploring space combat. EA has had rights since 2013 and yet the most exciting thing we have seen recently regarding Star Wars is Lego Star Wars. And that isn’t even made by them.
I can only think of two reasons for this. The first being a good ole Madden curse. With EA gaining rights to Star Wars over several years, there is no real rush to do anything. They can sit on it for all they care and stifle competition from it. Magic did this to the old Star Wars The Card Game when they bought rights just to sit on the license for multiple years. Or maybe EA simply doesn’t see competition from Star Wars so there is no need to battle. 1313 was cancelled and nothing ever came from it at all, I think if there was pressure we would have a different story. EA should be gobbling up any ideas LucasArts (gaming) had and adapting to it somehow. This is why Marvel is being smart and not throwing their entire library at one publisher....
A second option is Disney themselves are preventing it. According to reports from EA about Battlefront having no new characters, Disney told them to not do it due to story reasons. (Kylo can’t appear next to older characters just yet for example.) There might be a strict grasp around the expanded universe and EA simply can’t get a real story approved because Disney is still developing the main universe. Even stories that resemble something like The Force Unleashed will need approval and Disney could simply not be granting it yet. So maybe, just maybe, this problem isn’t an EA problem after all.
That being said I’m still disappointed that we are not diving into this universe. Unlike other people I was extremely excited to see EA get Star Wars. They announced Battlefront right away and I was impressed, they listened. Turns out shooters are just the easy way to go. In fact other than sports I couldn’t name a major EA title that isn’t a shooter coming out. I was just expecting EA to be further along in developing their own Star Wars universe by now, and it turns out the first chapter hasn’t even opened yet.
Perhaps good things come to those that wait?