Over the last few months, the consensus has formed that EA has royally ballsed up their exclusivity deal with the Star Wars franchise. Despite being the only publisher allowed to release AAA games on major consoles and PC, they’ve only managed two poorly received multiplayer shooters. In the meantime, they’ve cancelled a number of promising projects, with the biggest loss being Dead Space developer Visceral Games’ open world single-player adventure.
Fans were particularly dismayed because this had sounded like an extremely exciting title. Uncharted creator Amy Hennig was at the helm and it seemed that she’d bring some of the hi-octane razzle dazzle of that franchise to the Star Wars universe. For those who haven’t been keeping up, the story would have been set during the Original Trilogy soon after the destruction of Alderaan, and followed a rogue-ish character who’d eventually join the Rebel Alliance. But sadly, it was not to be.
EA have now focused their efforts on ‘games as service’ multiplayer titles that they can load up with microtransactions, loot boxes and season passes, with single-player games deemed less profitable. And to make matters even worse, in an interview with US Gamer, Hennig’s revealed that her project was further along than we first thought.
“I wish people could have seen more of it because it was a lot farther along than people ever got a glimpse of. And it was good, you know? But it just didn’t make sense in EA’s business plan, ultimately. Things changed over the course of that time I was there. So you know, what can you do?”
There are many reports right now which all say that Disney are very unhappy with EA’s treatment of the Star Wars license, with none other than CEO Bob Iger rumored to have angrily called EA’s CEO Andrew Wilson demanding to know why, in the run-up to the release of The Last Jedi, the biggest Star Wars news was EA’s game being accused of introducing children to gambling?
I hope all this wasted potential and shady business practices means that Disney opens up the license to other developers once their deal with EA expires. Star Wars has been at the height of its popularity over the last few years and we’ve missed out on what sounds like some truly excellent games. Oh well, maybe Jedi Fallen Order will put a sticking plaster on that wound.