StarWars.com has just announced that Electronic Arts will be entering into an exclusive, long-term partnership with Lucasfilm to publish Star Wars video games for a variety of platforms. The games will be developed by EA's DICE, Visceral, and BioWare teams. The release promises that "EA studios will develop for the core Star Wars gaming audience" while the House of Mouse's internal game designers at Disney Interactive "will focus on delivering new Star Wars games for casual audiences on mobile, social, tablet, and online gaming platforms."
Since 2002, DICE has developed the highly successful Battlefield series of first-person shooters, games that are roughly comparable to Star Wars' own Battlefront titles. Visceral is best known for the Dead Space survival horror games. BioWare is beloved within the gaming industry for its critically and financially successful Mass Effect series. It is also the only developer among the three named in the announcement to have already produced Star Wars games, having developed the huge hit Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic in 2003 and Star Wars: The Old Republic in 2011.
Right after The Walt Disney Company bought Lucasfilm, company executives expressed interest in using the Star Wars intellectual property to target new gaming platforms. That worried some hardcore gamers who thought that PC gaming would no longer be a priority for LucasArts. Then, when Disney closed LucasArts on April 3rd of this year, anxiety levels among Star Wars gamers rose even higher.
Today's announcement might be seen as welcome news by gamers due to the development teams' respective pedigrees. From a publishing perspective, however, this news did not appear to be well-received online. Criticism of EA's publishing practices -- such as its reliance on Digital Rights Management (DRM) and its questionable use of downloadable content (DLC) -- was fast and furious on Twitter immediately after the announcement. Regardless of how diligently VICE, Visceral, and BioWare work to produce high-quality Star Wars games, EA's publishing decisions will play a substantial role in the success or failure of those games.
Check out the full press release below.
Electronic Arts Selected for Multi-Year Agreement for the Future of Star Wars Gaming
May 06, 2013
Today it was announced that Lucasfilm Ltd. and Disney Interactive are entering into a multi-year, multi-title exclusive licensing agreement with Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) for the creation of new high quality Star Wars games spanning multiple genres for console, PC, mobile, and tablets.
Industry leaders and creators of best-in-class blockbuster games, the development and publishing teams at EA will collaborate with the creative teams at Lucasfilm to provide audiences with all-new gaming experiences set in the ever-expanding Star Wars galaxy. As part of the agreement, EA studio teams DICE (Battlefield series) and Visceral (Dead Space series) will join BioWare (Mass Effect series, Star Wars: The Old Republic) in the development of new Star Wars games.
"Our number one objective was to find a developer who could consistently deliver our fans great Star Wars games for years to come," said Kathleen Kennedy, President of Lucasfilm. "When we looked at the talent of the teams that EA was committing to our games and the quality of their vision for Star Wars, the choice was clear."
While EA studios will develop for the core Star Wars gaming audience, Disney Interactive will focus on delivering new Star Wars games for casual audiences on mobile, social, tablet, and online gaming platforms.
"This agreement demonstrates our commitment to creating quality game experiences that drive the popularity of the Star Wars franchise for years to come," said John Pleasants, co-president of Disney Interactive. "Collaborating with one of the world's premier game developers will allow us to bring an amazing portfolio of new Star Wars titles to fans around the world."
"Every developer dreams of creating games for the Star Wars universe," said EA Labels President Frank Gibeau. "Three of our top studios will fulfill that dream, crafting epic adventures for Star Wars fans. The new experiences we create may borrow from films, but the games will be entirely original with all new stories and gameplay."
More information, including titles in development, will be announced in the coming months. Continue to check StarWars.com for updates on the future of Star Wars gaming.
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