EA signs multi-year Star Wars deal

Disney deal gives publisher exclusive rights to make new core games based on sci-fi franchise

The difficulties of Star Wars: The Old Republic have not soured Electronic Arts on the seminal sci-fi saga. Today EA and The Walt Disney Co. announced a multi-year licensing agreement that gives the publisher exclusive worldwide rights to make new Star Wars games.

The deal calls for EA to create new Star Wars games "across the most popular gaming genres and platforms" for a core gaming audience. Disney will still have limited rights to make new Star Wars games for mobile, social, and Web platforms.

No games were announced, but EA did confirm that it has lined up at least three studios to work on Star Wars projects. In addition to BioWare, which is continuing to handle The Old Republic, Battlefield franchise developer DICE and Dead Space studio Visceral Games are slated to produce Star Wars games. Their new titles are said to "borrow from" the film series, but EA is positioning them as "entirely original with all new stories and gameplay."

Disney signalled that it would be looking to work with external developers on the Star Wars series last month, when it shuttered LucasArts, except for a handful of employees who would remain on board to handle duties associated with licensing the company's intellectual property. Disney originally picked up LucasArts as part of its $4.05 billion acquisition of Lucasfilm last October.

Financial terms and exact length of the Electronic Arts agreement were not disclosed.

More stories

EA issues Pride statement after employee pushback

Publisher clarifies its LGBTQ+ commitment and announces donations to various nonprofits

By Jeffrey Rousseau

US advocacy groups call on FTC to investigate FIFA loot boxes

Coalition of 15 organizations believes Ultimate Team violates rules around unfair and deceptive practices

By Brendan Sinclair

Latest comments (19)

Christopher Thigpen Lead Producer, Kiz Studios9 years ago
"You were the chosen one! It was said that you would destroy the Sith, not join them. You were to bring balance to the force, not leave it in darkness."
5Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Paul Jace Merchandiser 9 years ago
Maybe theres still hope for Knights of The Old Republic 3......maybe.
1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd9 years ago
Aaaand there goes the Star Wars franchise. Cause giving EA exclusive licenses has worked so well for NFL games. :-/
1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Show all comments (19)
Tom Keresztes Programmer 9 years ago
Cause giving EA exclusive licenses has worked so well for NFL games
What was the last critical or commercial hit by EA ?
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Paul Smith Dev 9 years ago
Nothing can be as bad as The Forced Unleashed (In before The Forced Unleashed 2!)
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 9 years ago
Oh hell, I may as well be the (temporary) optimist here:

Let's see now:

DICE: Star Wars Battlefront/Battlefield (It's way too obvious to NOT want that chunk of the shooter market) OR even better, a new Republic Commando-style team shooter (RC was a damn underrated game and still plays well). Hmmm... maybe go back and remake Dark Forces/Dark Forces II?

Visceral: Probably a Jedi Knight style third-person game that hopefully can use the PS Move as a lightsaber (as an option, kids) as "Star Wars Game!" was one of the first things I thought of as soon as that peripheral was revealed. Unfortunately, we got hand waving and dancing Han Solo with the Kinect, which was pretty dreadful for some of us original trilogy fans.

If anything, I'd say the social/mobile/web games will be the games most true SW fans have issues with (no matter how popular they become as casual titles) if EA's teams get what they need to do with their end of the deal and do it right.

What would be awesome is a KOTOR III, but I'm not sure you'd get the quality of the first game other than some nicer visuals.
3Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Andrew Animator 9 years ago
Given most of the Star Wars games in recent memory this is a good thing for the franchise.
2Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Joshua Rose Executive Producer / Lead Designer, Storm Eagle Studios9 years ago
I will only approve of this if they let Bioware make a KOTOR 3...
1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Spencer Franklin Concept Artist 9 years ago
Pffft... Disney just handed them a huge fan base with which to nickel and dime to death in their push for online everything and micro transactions for everyone. Any hope I had, just went out the window.
3Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Private Industry 9 years ago
I dont expect the Dice A team to handle Star Wars, they will be busy doing Battlefield. Same goes for Bioware being busy with the new Mass Effect, but I would like a KotOR 3. Visceral I could see the A team doing a Star Wars game after the Dead Space rumours.

I dont think its good they have the exclusive rights. The reason FIFA got good is because of competition from PES. Madden has no competition and you could very well just buy Madden 2010 and would see little difference. The same would have happened with NAB without the strong competition of 2k.

This is not the new hope we where looking for with an uncertain outlook on the return of Jedis to consoles, the revange of gamers could be great if fumbling they do.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Private on 7th May 2013 7:27pm

0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 9 years ago
@Werner: I figured DICE's "A" team would indeed be doing Battlefield only, but I'll bet you a Sarlacc tooth that Frostbite 2 or a newer engine would be a no-brainer for a SW FPS game. A new Battlefront pushing that tech with destructible environments and a decent campaign/MP mix would sell even with all the anti-EA bile going around if it was well made and had longevity that wasn't all DLC focused.

Hell, make the core game big enough not to burn through in a week of play and add content and maps via a user edit function for PC and consoles and I'd bet it would shut up anyone whining that the series is now doomed. Basically, EA's dev teams NEED to do everything Lucasarts' internal and hired external teams didn't with the license. I have the feeling that those guys and gals WANTED to do more, but it seems they were handcuffed or just not given more freedom to experiment...

THAT said, hell, give the Medal of Honor team the honor of making a new SW game using that Frostbite 2 engine (or, hmmm... the new Unreal engine). Instead of dealing with real-world locations and the problems that always brings up when people complain about that stuff, make a decent (and long) shooter in the vein of the MOH games, but with a SW look and more open maps to explore and play around in. Keep the story linear and cinematic where necessary, but maybe allow for more paths through certain missions so there's no "on rails" feeling to the action in every level.

Eh, we'll see - I'd imagine the first games won't even be out before the new film anyway (other than some casual titles popping out to take advantage of the license)...
1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Rogier Voet IT Consultant 9 years ago
I could be good or really Bad, Unfortunately, the game I really want probably won't ever be made Tie Fighter I miss you. Hope that Star Citizen will make up for it. I wonder what happens to the other IP of LucasArts.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Tim Carter Designer - Writer - Producer 9 years ago
Did you ever get the feeling that they were dumping the games to focus on the movies?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Tim Carter on 8th May 2013 12:38am

0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 9 years ago
@Tim: if that were the case, we'd not even see EA get a paw on the license to make new ones. Granted, the first one of these upcoming titles to be seen as "bad" will probably kill the games dead anyway, but I say let's be as positive as possible about this until some hands-on time with more than a half-baked build can be taken.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Private Industry 9 years ago
Its very likely they will use Frostbite, but as we learned from Crysis 3 graphics isn't everything. I dont see destructible environment as a must, it can be nice in some games like Red Faction but it doesnt work for every game and I'm not sure a Battlefront game would need it. As for campaign, well Bad Company singleplayer was fun and great but BF3 wasnt. So it would depend on what they do, if its something unique that fits Star Wars sure, but if its like BF3 just trying to be something they are not would be a waste of time and money.

I cant see EA doing a map editor or other mod support given that doesnt agree with their microtransaction policy.

I like the first Danger Close MoH, so I was disappointed when the second game turned out the way it did. Dark Forces and Republic Commando where good games and I was really looking forward to 1313, but do we need more Star Wars shooters? What ist Star Wars about? Space fights and Jedi Knights using lightsabers.

What are the best Star Wars games? Tie fighter, Jedi Knights, Rogue Squadron, KotOR, Battlefront and Lego Star Wars and Jedi Knights played a lot better in multiplayer then Battlefronts.

I'm also wondering what that means for the future Lego Star Wars.

I'm just in general not confinced with Disney buying Lucasfilm, they already shut down LucasArts and the Clone Wars TV show, with the plan of having 6 Star Wars movies in 6 years in the cinema. As it appears the sole purpose for Disney was to get the license to make movies for the Cinema and raking in money from merchandise without having any interest at all for anything else Lucas had to offer.

My issue isn't with EA having the SW license but them having the license exclusively.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Private on 8th May 2013 2:23am

0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 9 years ago
Well, my humble suggestions and good ideas get ignored all the time, so the map editor (although it WOULD indeed get more people to pay for the game a hell of a lot more than an annoying micro-tranaction model) is just another thing that's a (new) hope.

And, agreed - a true SW game SHOULD be a mix of all of what you mentioned. I'm just looking at what EA's done in the past and what will sell to those expecting the usual suspects. Personally, I didn't like the Battlefront games at all, as they seemed like they were basically re-skinned WWII attrition shooters and not true SW games.

I did overhear a conversation yesterday between a couple of gamers who hoped to see something like a cross between Kingdoms of Amalur (gameplay) and KOTOR (dialog system) with vehicles, space flight and a co-op option. I was about to pop into their discussion to say to them "isn't that SWTOR?", but they both were definitely single player guys.

As far as the Lego series goes... Hmmmm... That's an interesting question. Lego games will go on regardless, so it's not a total loss, but Disney would be crazy to not see if they can wrangle something together. Unlessss... they have Star Wars Infinity plans on the way... That would grab the kids and parents if the core Disney Infinity takes off...
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 9 years ago
It is worth noting that Disney are keeping "certain rights" to the Star Wars IP for mobile, tablet and web games.

So how much is the EA deal diluted? It is a big bet on next gen. And any successful games cannot be fully exploited.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Private Industry 9 years ago
I love Mirrors Edge, A and B is simply a differentiaton between Team A that does BF and Team B that does something like Team 1 and 2. I use the same for Naughty Dog, you could also say team V and W :)
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 9 years ago
Hold on a sec - I wasn't referring to "quality" either, as I happen to think a studio using an engine they've created is OBVIOUSLY going to apply the same standards to ANY game they make. Hell, even if any games made get done by the BF team or whatever other games made by the developer, it's clear that no matter who works on it, it's going to be worth playing at the end of the day if they nail what they need to do and it works for the license.
1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply

Sign in to contribute

Need an account? Register now.