It’s still too early to make a call on whether the Disney purchase of Lucasfilm will eventually prove to be a good or bad thing in the long run. Unfortunately, gamers felt a great disturbance in the Force last month when Disney closed the doors on LucasArts and cancelled all its current projects, including the intriguing Star Wars 1313. Now we’ve heard the first details that hint at what the future of Star Wars games will look like. Disney has signed a multi-year deal with Electronic Arts, allowing EA to “develop and publish new Star Wars titles for a core gaming audience, spanning all interactive platforms and the most popular game genres.”
The press release notes that Disney will still be handling development of any games for the mobile/tablet market, which fits with what little they had said about the future of Star Wars gaming prior to the LucasArts dismantling. EA already had a toe in the Star Wars universe courtesy of BioWare’s Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO, which went free-to-play last November. The press release notes that BioWare will continue developing future Star Wars projects, but now DICE (the Battlefield series) and Visceral (Dead Space) will also be developing new Star Wars games.
It’s worth noting that the press release says these future Star Wars games “may borrow from films, but the games will be entirely original with all new stories and gameplay.” So it sounds like we won’t just be getting a string of crappy movie tie-ins, which is good news.
The EA deal was announced last week, but there have been a couple of other developments in the days since. During a conference call, EA executive chairman Larry Probst confirmed that we won’t be seeing DICE or Visceral’s new Star Wars games until 2014 at the earliest. Specifically, he said none would release during their 2014 fiscal year, between April 1, 2013 and March 31, 2014. That’s not surprising since the first new Star Wars film won’t hit until 2015, and it would make sense to time franchise projects in other media to that release.
Finally, some hints as to future games may be revealed by URLs Disney has recently registered, and which you can see below. Keep in mind, these could be new full video games, new mobile games, or even something else entirely.