When EA picked up the license for console Star Wars games back in 2013, I was prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt. After all, there are few studios with the resources of Electronic Arts and with numerous talented developers under their umbrella, I hoped we might see a new renaissance in Star Wars licensed games.
Instead, we got two iffy multiplayer shooters, the last of which was so stuffed with predatory loot boxes and microtransactions that it caused governments around the world to investigate it for encouraging children to gamble. Amongst all of this was the gradual realization that we weren’t going to get a new Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic game anytime soon.
For those of you not in the know, I’m talking about the two Bioware and Obsidian developed Xbox and PC RPGs from the early 2000s. Set thousands of years before the events of the films, they took you on what felt like a properly mature adventure through a galaxy far, far away. You got to visit many iconic locations from the movies, participate in space combat, socialize with a motley crew of companions (including the truly iconic killbot HK-47), engage with an interesting plot with a shocking twist and, best of all, decide whether you were going to be some boring goody two shoes Jedi or a badass lightning throwing, dude choking Sith Lord (no prizes for guessing which I picked).
Anyhow, with EA having bought Bioware and now owning the license for the franchise, it seemed like a no-brainer for them to resurrect the series. But, according to Kotaku’s Jason Schreier, the plans were blocked.
They've tried to make it happen, more than once from what I've heard. No luck
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) January 18, 2019
It’s a hugely frustrating bit of news for fans of the original games. While fantastic back in the day, they’ve noticeably aged by now, especially in comparison to Bioware’s more recent RPGs like Mass Effect 3 and Dragon Age: Inquisition. Those two titles I just mentioned were by no means perfect, but if they could recreate the original writing style with the Frostbite engine’s graphical capabilities, you’d have something truly special.
Sadly, my thinking is that a single-player focused game simply doesn’t make EA’s accountants’ eyes light up anymore. After all, why charge people $60 once when you can do that and then nickel and dime them with stat-enhancing items and weapons to use in multiplayer? One look at Bioware’s next release, Anthem shows the direction EA wants to head in, and while it’s catnip for fans of multiplayer shooters, it doesn’t provide much for the single-player gamer.
Let’s just hope that those rumors of Disney being unhappy with the way EA has used the license are true and another publisher gets a shot at it. After the last two Assassin’s Creed games, I’d personally love to see what Ubisoft could do with Star Wars.