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EA's Söderlund on Star Wars

"There's been a lot of guidelines and rules that you need to follow"

During a recent interview the executive vice president of EA Studios Patrick Söderlund shared some of his personal passion for the company's latest Force-filled game and how DICE is approaching Star Wars Battlefront.

"This is probably the one that you would want to work on and if you go and talk to any of our developers, they all have an aspiration to work on a Star Wars game at some point in their career," he told GamesIndustry.biz

"I think Disney's and Lucasfilm's vision for Star Wars, where they wanted to take Star Wars, made us very comfortable with this, and we were genuinely excited when they explained to us what they were going to do with it. Seeing what JJ Abrams and Disney are doing with the movie, it feels right, to me at least. I believe that that's good for us, and we feel very good about what they're doing with the brand, where they're taking it."

"If you go and talk to any of our developers, they all have an aspiration to work on a Star Wars game"

One of the challenges of working with any licence, but especially with one as monumental as Star Wars, is dealing with the licence holders. It's something the EA has had plenty of experience with, and if Söderlund had any complaints in this instance he wasn't going to share them. Instead he praised Disney for their approach.

"Disney has been very supportive. Everyone said 'big licenses are hard to work with, the licensors.' There's been a lot of guidelines and rules that you need to follow, but they've been very simple, and they've always felt right to follow them. We've never had a big, 'what are you guys thinking, putting Jabba the Hutt here? That makes no sense.'

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"So yes, there's obviously a lot of work that goes into making sure that it's approved and everything, but it's never been a big issue for us, which is pretty cool."

The DICE team, he says, is making the most of the existing Star Wars resources available. Multiple visits to the Star Wars archives, to a lot of discussion with people at Industrial Light & Magic, a division of Lucasfilm Ltd and the people at Skywalker Sound. He describes that process of recreating the Star Wars world the right way as "difficult" but also "super cool."

Soderlund goes on to talk about his relationship with the brand, and hearing it you understand why he respects DICE's passion for the project.

"In full disclosure, I was a complete Star Wars fanatic, and I know me and my brother had a room dedicated to all the Star Wars toys we had, and we had so many of them, we worked weekends to just buy more Star Wars toys. I'm 41 today, but I also have a 10-year-old daughter who wants nothing more than for her and me to go to see Star Wars, and that's interesting. There are other old brands, I'm not going to mention them, but that I've tried to show her, and she's like, 'What ... This is stupid, why would I watch this," so it just continues to cross over generations, which is kind of interesting," he says.

"Disney has been very supportive"

"That, I think, is because it's so timeless in its design, and the story is simple yet very powerful. You have the idea of something dark and something evil against something good, and then, on top of that, the third part of it is like something mysterious, like, in the Force and what that means, and then, you know, brothers and sisters and it's a very, very, I think, it's a very inspiring universe... What I'm trying to say is, the picture they painted to us, and why we wanted to get into it is, that's the power of the brand."

GamesIndustry.biz will publish its interview with DICE general manager Patrick Bach later this week.

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Latest comments (3)

Carl Hudson Studying Computer Science, University of Adelaide2 years ago
Rule # 1 - All Star Wars games should have the Disney logo and be a murder sim :/
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Jon Rissik SVP & GM, Dovetail Games2 years ago
Really looking forward to seeing what DICE/EA do with this. Having worked with Patrick for a couple of years I feel confident that the franchise is in very good hands as he's a great mix of gamer, game-maker and business exec. My only trepidation is the one I feel around the release of any 'event' game. What if it's not ready to go day/date with the movie? My hope would always be that it's not rushed.
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Al Nelson Producer, Tripwire Interactive2 years ago
After working a little on SW Galaxies and a lot on SWTOR (facilitating approvals between Lucas and EA) I find Patrick's quote to be a major understatement. A few rules indeed. The experience has made me a huge fan of new, original IP, as Star Wars once was.
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