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EA inks exclusive deal to develop 'core' Star Wars video games
EA inks exclusive deal to develop 'core' Star Wars video games
May 6, 2013 | By Kris Graft




Electronic Arts was this close to dropping a Star Wars bombshell on May the Fourth.

The publisher announced today it has landed an exclusive multi-year agreement to develop and publish games based on Lucasfilms' Star Wars universe.

EA said the it will create and publish Star Wars games for a "core gaming audience" across multiple (undisclosed) platforms and genres. Disney, which has its own internal stable of game developers -- and owns the Star Wars property -- will retain rights to publish certain games on mobile, social, tablet and online.

The EA studios creating those "core" Star Wars games are Battlefield developer DICE, Dead Space developer Visceral Games and BioWare, which has plenty of spacefaring experience with Mass Effect, Star Wars: The Old Republic and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.

All of the games will be powered by DICE's high-powered Frostbite 3 engine, the same engine that powers Battlefield 3.

Recent, major reorganizations within the company have pointed to a greater emphasis on mobile games, but today's deal shows that EA still wants to go big in the high-cost, high-risk triple-A video game space.

The announcement also comes about a month after Disney announced it would be shutting down all internal development at its LucasArts game division.

EA didn't disclose details of the transaction, or which teams at each EA studio would be working on the games.

"The new experiences we create may borrow from films, but the games will be entirely original with all new stories and gameplay," said EA Games label president Frank Gibeau.


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Comments


Bryce Walton
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I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror...

Shea Rutsatz
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That's what I was thinking...

Johnathon Swift
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Like they could be any worse than the last decade of Star Wars games...

James Burns
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Star Wars Battlefront I and II were in the last decade. As were The Force Unleashed's. I personally loved all four of those games immensely.

Kyle Redd
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@Johnathon Swift

The basic gameplay may turn out to be pretty good. Certainly the assigned developers are plenty capable, but it's also assured that each and every game will come with all the EA-isms we've come to know and hate - microtransactions, forced multiplayer, Origin, etc.

Joe McGinn
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Hardly. Much like the movies, the games have no where to go but up. Lucas Arts internal Star Wars games have been terrible for the last ten years.

Alan Rimkeit
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@Edge Walker - I and millions of people disagree 100% Sure they had flaws, but over all they are the best action Star Wars games ever made.

Eric McVinney
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What I just read is a bunch on nonesense. Not that the editor did a bad job or anything, it's just that the following lines:

“Collaborating with one of the world’s premier game developers will allow us to bring an amazing portfolio of new Star Wars titles to our fans around the world.”

"The new experiences we create may borrow from films, but the games will be entirely original with all new stories and gameplay,"

and

"...will create and publish Star Wars games for a "core gaming audience" across "all popular platforms" and genres."

Reek of BS. A huge, pile of BS left out in the sun to expel all the foul odor that was trapped within.

Kris Graft
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You're right! I wrote this in about 30 seconds so some fluff got through :)

Eric McVinney
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Oh, you cheeky little monkey ;P

It's just that when these big pubs and devs start spewing out the same vague lines over and over, you start to wonder if they really know what they're trying to accomplish in such a state of affairs that the industry is currently in.

Rik Spruitenburg
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Can't really expect the article to say "Everything I know is in the title of the article."

William Johnson
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Eh...I'd be more upset if there were a lot of good Star Wars games released before Lucas Arts went under...but...eh...I'm indifferent.

I guess since Battlefront was totally a Battlefield clone with StarWars, having DICE make Battlefront 3...I'd be cool with that. But seeing how EA likes to abuse their branding, I'm sure it'll be some spin off studio called DICE Alpha-Omega-Victory-something-something and only be DICE in name and not in quality. And then they'll shut down the studio a few months after the game fails to perform and blame that the market is transitioning in to a next generation, so OF COURSE a rebirth of an old IP wouldn't succeed, despite the game selling 6 million.

Man...is the industry that predictable...?

Eric McVinney
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Yes, and has been for a very long time.

William Johnson
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Margen of error.

Casey Dockendorf
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Ironically this may be exactly what both parties need. The 2 studios pegged for these franchises are Visceral and DICE. I would be surprised if the first two games devleoped in this new marriage didn't include finishing up '1313' and a newly developed 'Battlefront' game.

Francois Verret
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We can only hope that work will not go to waste.

Eric Geer
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"EA said the it will create and publish Star Wars games for a "core gaming audience" across multiple (undisclosed) platforms"

Meaning for every electronic device, except WiiU because that's EA.

Joe Zachery
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No they will make Star Wars The Clone War games for the Wii U because Nintendo is for Kids! LOL! It saddens me that this is how exactly it's going to happen.

Joe Zachery
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http://nooooooooooooooo.com/vader.jpg
No other way to say it!

Vincent Hyne
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Time for the annual Madden: Star Wars.

Really though, the franchise has been smothered over the years fairly comprehensively.

The only truly good games were independent studios. Raven Software, Bioware (before EA, everyone left now, company's dead) and Obsidian Entertainment.

Here comes DICE's version, Star Wars: Battlefield 5

Bob Johnson
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Time to dust off and reskin BF:2142.

Duong Nguyen
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Battlefield Endor 2142, play as the medic, recon, ewok..

Erin OConnor
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Gaming is dead.

Lewis Wakeford
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DICE making making Battlefield III isn't exactly an unattractive prospect, neither is BioWare working on Star Wars. At the very least they won't be *terrible* games.

Though if EA pull their usual bullshit of rushing things out way before they are ready...

A W
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I have a bad feeling about this... - Wii U owner.

Kujel Selsuru
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Well I guess I wont be buying any Star Wars games for a while... or EA folds and someone else gets the license.

Jorge Ramos
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No matter how talented the programmers might be and how passionate the designers might be in making a good product, I don't trust EA's management to handle this right. And for anyone that wants to doubt, need I remind of all the licenses that EA has acquired and released NO meaningful software regarding?
- NBA. While NBA Jam was a rather good reboot of the franchise, they've only released two games total and nothing since.
- NFL. Their "Blitz" was left for dead, and Madden has not progressed in any meaningful manner since they bought the exclusivity.
- Arena football. Honestly, it feels like it should be illegal the fact that they basically bought the rights for this one and just... sat on it without so much as doing a single game in all these years.
- UFC, simultaneously ticking off (a) UFC fans, (b) EA MMA fans, and (c) the devs that worked their butts off on their spare time to make the first one, and had hopes on improving it.
- Def Jam. I am still ticked off that they ruined the Def Jam fighters in one game (ICON).

List goes on and on.

Justin Jackson
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Seriously, enough crying over the Wii U. The only games I ever purchased on a Nintendo system were titles like Zelda, Mario Kart, Metriod and the like. If I could have played them on another system I would have. And as far as I can tell, the majority of serious gamers/developers (like those who read and post on this thread like myself) own at least another platform other than the Wii U, if not all of them.
The Wii U is a unique tool in gaming experience delivery, but you can bet your ass that I'll be playing any new Star Wars on PC where possible or which ever platform offers the best experience, and even if EA were able to develop with FB3 on Wii U, it would be the last console of my choice.

A W
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No Wii U. No buy. Sorry the multi console argument is dead to me.

Nooh Ha
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So I guess I am the only person excited by a Star Wars game made by DICE...

A W
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Don't know if you are the only one, but I for sure am not when developer makes tweets claiming why they won't make a Wii U game.

Randen Dunlap
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I guarantee you that you are not the only one excited about the possibilities of DICE and Visceral making Star Wars games. Any post here about EA is inevitably drowned in the typical "EA is the bane of everyone's existence! Rabble Rabble Rabble..." rhetoric.

Needless to say, you are not alone sir.

Sebastian Kurscheid
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AFAIK Battlefield 3 actually runs Version 2 of the Frostbite engine. Frostbite 3 is used for BF4 and other future releases... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frostbite_(game_engine)#Frostbite_3

Ramin Shokrizade
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Just reading the responses in this thread makes me think that EA needs to do some serious PR work or it really won't matter what they build and with whom. While they are at it they might want to rethink their business models.

Nick Meh
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Did you really need to read these comments, when EA has won Worst Company of the Year award two years straight?

This is a small sample size compared to the Nation. I mean a Game Publisher beat out companies that dump oil in the sea and steal billions in banking fraud.

Jeremiah Bond
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It does need PR work. Does not need a new business model. They are doing exactly what it is they can to get exactly what they want. I'd give them a thumbs up if I didn't think all corporate business decisions of late weren't completely a shot in the foot for everyone.

There are endless numbers of people who know what to do with themselves.. just not others.

Andy Lunique
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I feel that we need to find some maturity if we’re going to support this industry the way it needs to be nurtured in order to grow. It’s already a powerhouse in the entertainment industry and it has plenty of room to grow. Yet the gamers themselves and their sense of entitlement could damage that very easily. To immediately condemn upcoming projects just because they bare the “EA” Logo is absolutely absurd and disrespectful. I find the comments undesirable and rude. It’s a slap in the face to people who put their very best into the work they do. I feel that the excitement that studios like Dice and Visceral felt knowing that they now have the opportunity to create games for the Star Wars universe have now been spoiled by the instant backlash from the community and it’s truly embarrassing.

Randen Dunlap
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Usually you do find more intelligent conversations happening here, alas any time Nintendo or EA is the post topic it just isn't the case. Too much embedded hatred and fanboyism prevent cerebral conversations from happening for the most part.

Christopher J
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I don’t think the backlash is with the people who actually make the game, artists, designers, or engineers have little to no creative control over the products they make at EA. I think the beef is with the EA brand as a whole and aimed at the top decision makes that ONLY care about making money and nothing about making quality video games, genuine innovation, or happy customers.

It does suck that EAs practices has created so much hate for its games that people hate them before they play them, but its image is a result of its actions. And it’s the decision making of the “Suits” that has created that image.

Ramin Shokrizade
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@Christopher: If their attempts to "make money" were successful, I'd personally be a lot less critical of recent EA business models. As they seem to sacrifice "quality video games, genuine innovation, or happy customers", they give me the impression that they think of gamers as so gullible, unsophisticated, and stupid that coercive and shallow products will perform much better with this consumer group than any sort of high quality product would. There seems to be a total disconnect between management strategy and consumer expectations.

Erin OConnor
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"I find the comments undesirable and rude. It’s a slap in the face to people who put their very best into the work they do."

Lets examine the recent Sim City release. You mean to tell me that was EA people putting their best work into what they do?

Maybe, just maybe, they do in fact need that slap in the face.

The problem with EA is they answer to their investors.
They are in the gaming industry to make money.
What is wrong with that you ask?
Because they are NOT in the industry to make great games.

What EA should be focused on is making great games and making their customers happy.

See the difference?

And since past behavior is a good predictor of future behavior it is pretty easy to condemn upcoming projects bearing the EA logo. Just what we have come to expect from years of EA publishing.

Christopher J
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@Erin Oconnor

“Because they are NOT in the industry to make great games.”
Thats it exactly!

If EA could make the same amount of money, without making video games… They would.

Vincent Hyne
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Neither entitled, absurd, or disrespectful.

None of the above.

Reaction to this news is simply a projection of past experiences. You don't get to wave a wand and erase many years of terrible decisions. "Well maybe it will be good this time!". History says otherwise.

The reaction is directly proportional to the legacy EA carries.

Good will, respectfulness and intelligent discussion in a vacuum is a fool's errand. I'll take basis in empirical fact any day.

Merc Hoffner
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@ Erin + Christopher.

The sad terrible thing is that whatever strategies they've been employing that have pissed off communities either by design or by accident, their financials have been utterly woeful as a result. Their strategies are empirically bad even from a shareholder perspective. In the last generation they've seen net assets squeezed from something in the order of $5billion to $2.5 billion. In another 5 years they'll be dead. Indulging all the worst practices that lead them down this destructive path can't be anything BUT a recipe for utter disaster.

A W
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Maturity, intellectual conversation... a gamer craves not these things.

And neither does EA for that matter. I'm happy some fanboy or fangirl will get his' or her's life dream to work on a SW property. I just am stating for the record that EA doesn't care for a gamer like me to own it. And it won't matter much because movies and games do not share a symbiotic relationship. Many of these tie ins are frowned upon. SW is not immuned from it.

Spencer Franklin
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I'm sorry, but I have a good feeling any studio currently under the EA umbrella is well aware of the amount of hate they have to push past because of that EA logo. the "hate" is not directed at the studios, as most comments are clear about whom they are disgusted with (EA). If they can manage to deliver a great game, they will be respected for it of course. But EA's history tells a different story, one in which something great from the Devs usually will be sh!t upon by some EA suit justifying his/her job, and and dragging down quality while incorporating EA's mantra of always online, fill it with micro transactions, tether it to Origin bullshit. Sorry this disturbs you so, but this feeling goes far beyond the sampling of posters on this website. And it's a feeling that EA is wholly and completely responsible for.

And "Gamers sense of entitlement..." damaging the industry? Seriously... the industry is hurting itself with these not well thought out business models and poor quality games that carry the same price tag as the AAA games... How long do you think this will hold up before we are looking at 1983 again? What you are reading is not about gamer entitlement, its about lack of consumer confidence in the gaming powers that be.

Jeremiah Bond
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Well, I'd say that they are taking on products that have plenty of maturity but are currently only quick glimpses at far greater potential. If they don't break under pressure they have what I'd consider an excellent future.

They need to focus on the "quality of life" of brands by utilizing current technologies for longer spurts, greater depth of loved game IP features, and greater scale of IPs. Innovation is their ability to acquire external assets which I'd say is coming to an end (all the expenditures the company has made to acquire current capabilities)

The technology is there but the worth of the IPs are not.

SWTOR, for instance, destroyed all it meant to experience KotOR. The gameplay is phenomenal, the progression is perfect, but the quality of life of the IP is absolutely horrendous. It is an awesome Star Wars experience but does NOT capture the true essence of the extended universe; It excludes great gameplay features of lost Star Wars titles, and it focuses on market items rather than the quality of life of the IP itself.

Phil Maxey
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I've been waiting many many years for a proper sequel to Battlefront (I don't count Battlefront 2 as a proper sequel).

Battlefront 3 + Next Gen = you have my purchase.

p.s Remember Battlefront was about being in a BATTLE i'e lots of units running around. Thanks.

Phil Maxey
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Graphics weren't as good, they were muddy for some strange reason, and the whole game just didn't have the instant pickup and play appeal of the first.

Nick Meh
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Maybe you haven't seen this project:

https://www.facebook.com/StarWarsBattlecry

Christopher Thigpen
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Time to Nickel and Dime the Star Wars franchise...

Maybe I was just youthfully ignorant to think that the SW franchise would never ever be bastardized like it has these past few years.

This honestly made me sick to my stomach. Time to fanboy over another IP.

Anyone got one with lasers that go "pew pew" and swords that are awesome?

Jorge Ramos
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I can see it now.

$15 for a required map to play online (hey, they did that shit since Halo and Gears of War)
$20 for a required DLC to play the campaign
$5 a piece for playing random character, $30 for any actually recognizable characters (Han, Luke, Vader, Windu...)

And then if a billion copies aren't sold in 24 hours and they can't buy a 90+metacritic or something, DICE gets the axe, while super-entitled Crytek is spared.

I still don't understand why EA has axed all these companies that they bought that DID make good games but they leave Crytek intact which hasn't even made *A* game as opposed to a series of glorified tech demos.

Mike Higbee
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You forgot the $5 Lighsaber blade color pack.

Shea Rutsatz
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$15 DLC Unlock Pack. Unlocks the ability to spend money on more DLC.

Christian Schmidt
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Evidently you don't like Crytek. FYI, they are not, nor have they ever been, an EA-owned development studio. EA has had publishing agreements in the past with them, and that's about it.

John Flush
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@Christian - Every time I look into trying out another shooter I think of Crysis... then I remember who publishes it and I pass. They have made a name of themselves and I would love to buy their stuff - they should cut ties.

Jorge Ramos
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@Christian,

I don't like Crytek because they are pretty public about complaining about having to do any kind of optimizations for ANYTHING... be it controls, visuals, sound, textures... or basically making their games work on all but the 1% of godbox-style PC's out there, with absolutely no consideration for the fact that a good 90% of even the "core" market they cater to does not or cannot afford such hardware.

I also dislike Crytek's fanbase (e.g. "PC Master Race" ), who preaches their software as some kind of end-all be-all to the strengths of PC gaming, fail to see the irony that the overwhelming majority will never experience the games at the kind of level that would justify such claims, and yet are as abject and vocal about anyone who thinks they should try to scale their engine(s) to actually work on a bigger share of computer or console hardware out there. It's like they can only be satisfied when their $5000+ USD god-box PC's are performing as badly as an off-the-shelf $200 Dell.

Case in point: Despite all the performance fixes alleged to have been implemented in post-release patches for Crysis 1, Crytek has failed to implement ANY of these on their SP/MP game demos.. so even though the SP Demo claims I am getting ~90fps on its in-game framerate measurement tool, the game stutters badly, to where it feels like it's only running at 1/6th of that. Yet Far Cry 2, using the same engine, gets me an in-game framerate of around 25fps, yet feels far smoother than Crysis ever did.


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