Hello there! It is good to be back at Outer Rim News, and I just want to thank Ashley and the team for welcoming me back after a long time frozen in carbonite. I wanted to do something positive for my first article back, but something has just really pissed me off this week, so it won’t be a positive first post back from me I’m afraid. It is a rant about Disney’s biggest mistake since they acquired the Star Wars franchise. I am of course referring to their decision to outsource the video games license to Electronic Arts.
EA has a somewhat tempestuous relationship with the gaming community. They are, arguably, the biggest game development company in the industry, and release some of the most popular (in terms of sales) titles with the likes of; FIFA and Madden getting a yearly release, and Battlefield getting a twice yearly release. There are a dozen or so studios under the EA banner as well creating even more games for the publishing giant. Why the somewhat questionable relationship with the gaming community then? Well, they have a history of rushing titles to release, therefore selling products that are really not ready to be bought by consumers. Secondly, they bloody love a loot crate.
Loot crates are a difficult aspect to try and talk about. Yes, they are optional, but sometimes you are left with either the prospect of dozens of hours worth of grinding to earn enough in-game credits to buy whatever content is hidden behind a loot crate, or spend more of your actual money on a game that already probably costs $60. I know people that will buy FIFA every single year and then spend at least another £150 or so on additional content in the game. Some people also accuse EA of not concentrating on the more important aspects of games, you know, like gameplay, but concentrate on loot crates, or the ever-expanding ‘pay to play’ mobile game market. The biggest example of this in recent memory is the release of the mobile version of the Command and Conquer series. It is ‘free’ to play, but there are numerous options to spend actual money within the game.
So now, onto Star Wars yes? Well, let’s get the most recent issue out of the way first. EA announced this week that they are cancelling the open-world game they had in development. Albeit, it was in early development, yes, but it has still been cancelled for apparently a title that is quicker and easier to make. There is no indication as to what this new, smaller game will be, but when the open-world game was first announced, there was a huge buzz around the potential the game had. This isn’t the first time EA has just cancelled an upcoming Star Wars game without giving much of a reason.
Amy Hennig, who was one of the creative minds behind the Uncharted series just had her game cancelled, which resulted in her leaving EA completely. So that is issue one with EA, the lack of games released.
During the golden period of Star Wars video gaming between 2002 and 2008, we had 18 releases! Not all of them were classics no, but not one of them was a terrible game. The highlights of those wonderful years are; Republic Commando, Knights of the Old Republic 1&2, LEGO Star Wars, and the original Battlefront games. During EA’s governorship over the Star Wars license, which began back in 2013, we have had two games. Star Wars Battlefront and Star Wars Battlefront II. The same period, six years, and the only thing EA has to show for themselves is two, quite poorly received Battlefront games.
Are both editions of Battlefront bad games? Not entirely no, and they wouldn’t really be a main focus here if EA had released some other titles. Battlefront 1 lacked content, and was rushed out for release, whereas Battlefront 2 did have more content, but the loot crate controversy completely ruined the sales of the game, and they fell well below target. EA also has the unfortunate record of having the most downvoted comment in Reddit history when they tried to explain why Star Wars Battlefront 2 heroes and villains were stuck behind in-game credit.
Disney purchased Star Wars for one reason; to make money. Which, so far, they have, and lots of it. There could be a lot more though if they ditch EA (the reported contract between the two companies is due to end in 2023), and either go with a publisher who can handle such an iconic franchise, and treat it with the respect it deserves, or go back to the old way of just outsourcing to numerous developers instead of relying on one. Just imagine; CD Projekt making an open-world game, Naughty Dog creating an adventure title, and this one is a bit out there, but it is something I’d bloody love, A From Software, Dark Souls inspired Star Wars game.
The bottom line is, we and our beloved franchise deserve better than Electronic Arts.
What do you think? As always leave your opinions about the state of Star Wars video gaming below!