You, being of sound mind and taste in video games, are probably really excited about Star Wars Celebration. And not only because you might get that new The Force Awakens trailer you desperately want. Electronic Arts is also unveiling Star Wars: Battlefront, the first of three Star Wars projects being developed at the company.
First announced by EA at E3 2013 — a month after Disney revealed that EA would have exclusive rights to develop Star Wars console games — DICE (Battlefield series) has been hard at work for two years on the third installment in the beloved action series first developed by Pandemic Studios.
To say that this game is highly anticipated by Star Wars fans is an understatement. Not only is it the rebirth of one of the best series in video game history, it is also the first Star Wars console game since the Disney acquisition and the LucasArts closure. Needless to say, all eyes are on EA and Battlefront.
The months prior to the EA announcement were ones full of big changes, as Disney took over the franchise, leaving some devout fans very concerned. And EA’s exclusive deal didn’t help matters. Electronic Arts, like Activision, Ubisoft, and other big publishers, has come under fire in the past for profit-driven decisions and poor working environment. The company was even named “Worst Company in America” in 2012 and 2013 by The Consumerist.
So why reward EA with a golden apple? It really comes down to experience. Electronic Arts has handled the role of Star Wars video game ambassador quite well in the years since the takeover, promising to give the fans what they want and assigning Battlefront to a developer that knows quite a bit about large-scale FPS action games.
Let’s take a look at what the EAmpire might have in store for us in the galaxy far, far away:
Star Wars: Battlefront
2015 | DICE | PC, PS4, XBO
EA is flying right out of the Death Star hangar with a lot of fan service. I’m not sure there’s been a game on more Star Wars fan wish lists than the mythical Battlefront III.
With the rebooted Battlefront, you should expect a current-gen return to popular battles in places such as Hoth, Endor, Naboo, and Geonosis. The game will span the first 6 films in the series, and rumor has it that there might even be a bit of content from the post-RotJ era that will tie into The Force Awakens. That should be enough to get you excited, right?
There is no studio better equipped to develop this game at EA than shooter veteran DICE. One only needs to take a look back at a game like Battlefield 3, with its huge destructible environments, seamless ground-to-air combat, and fast-paced action to get excited about what their Battlefront game could very well be: legitimate competition for Call of Duty and Halo in the FPS market.
With an experienced studio and years of beloved lore as its foundation, Star Wars: Battlefront could very well win this Fall’s FPS war, especially when The Force Awakens is set to premiere in December. The hype will make this game more powerful than you could possibly imagine. There’s no way this game doesn’t release in time for the holidays.
Untitled Visceral Game
TBA | Visceral Games
Fans really want this game to be some version of Star Wars 1313, the canceled action-adventure game that starred a young Boba Fett before he became the legendary bounty hunter. For a time, the third-person action-adventure game seemed to be all LucasArts had going for it in its final days before Disney closed the developer down. After major restructuring and a series of defeats, 1313 stood as a new hope for Star Wars games when it was first unveiled at E3 2012. But when Disney acquired LucasArts, the game had nowhere to go but into the sarlacc pit.
So why the little spark of rebellion amongst fans even after all hope appears to be lost? Visceral Games and director Amy Hennig, that’s why.
Although EA has revealed absolutely no details about the game beyond who’s making it, the odds are pretty high that the game is a third-person action-adventure game with a very distinct style. Visceral is known for Dead Space — a series often cited as one of the best in the sci-fi horror genre — which perfectly captured the feeling and tone of films such as Alien, Event Horizon, and Sunshinethrough intense third-person combat and puzzle-solving, all tied up with a captivating narrative.
And if there’s one series that’s even better known for crazy third-person action and great storytelling, it’s Naughty Dog’s Uncharted,written and directed by one Amy Hennig. One of the greatest action-adventure games of all time, Uncharted mixes cover-based shooting with creative platforming sections for a winning cinematic formula that has yet to be beaten.
It would seem that 1313 and an Amy Hennig-led Visceral are a match made in heaven. EA is 2/2 as a match-maker. Even if the game isn’t 1313 at all — I have a feeling that a big gun like Hennig would want to go with her own ideas — there’s no doubt in my mind that it will be an action-adventure game. Rumor has it that it could be a Han Solo game…
When should you expect the game to be unveiled? Probably not until 2016. At least.
I can’t close this out without briefly talking about BioWare, a developer that needs no introduction when it comes to Star Wars game. After all, the studio created the best Star Wars game of all time: Knights of the Old Republic.
When EA announced its exclusive deal with Disney, BioWare was one of the three Star Wars studios mentioned in the press release, along with with DICE and Visceral. While EA was undoubtedly talking about the studio’s continued work on The Old Republic MMO, it would be quite silly not to consider BioWare’s future with the franchise.
BioWare has been an unstoppable force in the RPG market, with recent blockbusters such as Mass Effect and Dragon Age, and that gives them a unique position in EA’s plans as the only RPG developer in the line-up.
Star Wars will be in need of a new RPG in the near future. TOR is several years old now and doesn’t have the lasting power of competitors such as World of Warcraft, which has been around since 2004. This might be the perfect time for the developer to get to work on a new game. BioWare Austin, who is currently working on TOR, recently canceled its next game, Shadow Realms. That leaves this studio wide open for another Star Wars project.