It was a very unfortunate irony that once the Star Wars saga was up and running again with JJ Abrams at the helm that the plug was being pulled on Lucas Arts, the division that made the Star Wars video games.
The video game market has always been up and down, and the FX business has also been suffering because of studios underbidding on movies, but it was especially unfortunate to see the Star Wars video games suffer, because they broke tremendous ground in recent years.
The Force Unleashed was an acclaimed video game that many felt could carry on the Star Wars saga in ways that the last three movies hadn’t. But again, the video game market is very manic depressive, and things can change in an instant. So on the heels of Lucas Arts falling apart comes the news that Electronic Arts will get the exclusive rights to the future Star Wars video games.
As ScienceFiction.com reports, Disney, which now owns the Lucas empire, and Electronic Arts, announced a multi-year exclusive deal to keep the Star Wars saga going in video games. As a press release tells us, “Under the agreement, EA will develop and publish new Star Wars titles for a core gaming audience, spanning all interactive platforms and the most popular game genres, while Disney will retain certain rights to develop new titles within the mobile, social, tablet and online game categories.”
Frank Gibeau, the EA Labels President, also said in this statement, "Every developer dreams of creating games for the Star Wars universe. Three of our top studios will fulfill that dream, crafting epic adventures foe 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."
You had the feeling the Star Wars games would be resurrected in some way or another, it’s too much of a no-brainer merchandising tie-in with the next Star Wars film coming in 2015. Not to mention the possibility of a big new Star Wars game being developed at the same time as the movie, with JJ Abrams possibly helping it along, is too good of an opportunity to resist.
Of course nobody has any idea where the video game market will land by then, this year alone it’s facing a great deal of uncertainty, but it seems foolish not to try game tie-ins for the next Star Wars, no matter where things go in the near future. After all, merchandising has always been a big part of the saga, and the right games can keep the story going in many different directions for years to come.