EA will be going to a galaxy far, far away again more often, following a major publishing agreement with Disney.
EA has signed the 'exclusive' rights to create Star Wars games on a multi-year deal. It follows the closure of the LucasFilm's in-house publishing label, LucasArts.
Judging by EA's press statement, the games won't be tie-ins to the forthcoming movies, but rather be original stories. Also, Disney has retained certain rights to create games for the mobile, social, online and tablet spaces. So it's not entirely exclusive.
EA has already worked with the Star Wars licence, of course, having developed and published the MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic.
BioWare has been listed amongst the studios that EA will have working on Star Wars games. But joining them will be Visceral - best known for its third person shooters Dead Space and Army of Two - and DICE, best know for its first person shooter series, Battlefield. These Star Wars titles will be aimed at a 'core gaming' audience.
What about Star Wars 1313, the game that was already well in development at LucasArts? The press statement doesn't stay. If the game is as good as it looks, perhaps we'll see it show up at E3 this year. We'll ask EA and see what it says.
The deal also raises questions about the LEGO Star Wars franchise, and whether we will see more from Angry Birds Star Wars, too. We will seek clarification.
In the mean time, here are some quotes from Disney.
“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 our fans around the world.”
EA Labels boss Frank Gibeau added: “Every developer dreams of creating games for the Star Wars universe. Three of our top studios will fulfill that dream, crafting epic adventures for Star Wars fans. DICE and Visceral will produce new games, joining the BioWare team which continues to develop for the Star Wars franchise. The new experiences we create may borrow from films, but the games will be entirely original with all new stories and gameplay.”
EA didn't reveal how much it has spent on acquiring the rights to Star Wars.