Reading the news via Windows Central about Lucasfilm bringing back a games arm to help manage Star Wars games makes me wonder a lot on where that is all heading. Especially with what the future may hold as a result of it.
Lucasfilm Games originally started back in 1982 with their first games Ballblazer and Rescue on Fractalus arriving on the Atari 5200 first in 1984 (thanks Wikipedia!) and pushed some impressive technology on the machines at that time like anti-aliasing, algorithmically generated music and fractal generated terrain. So much like their fellow Lucasfilm sibling Industrial Light and Magic the team was really pushing the envelope. Maniac Mansion in 1987 would then kick off a long run of point and click adventures of which are still considered some of the best examples of the genre. They finally settled into developing Star Wars games internally with X-Wing in 1993 and the franchise became a part of their regular release roster until they were closed in 2013 after the Disney acquisition. After that EA would land a decade long agreement to exclusively develop Star Wars games.
Seeing as EA only has a couple more years left on their agreement I’m seeing this as potentially a means for Lucasfilm to branch out and have multiple studios and publishers involved in making Star Wars games while keeping them under a common banner. EA have had success with the license but there’s also been controversy too with loot boxes and a number of cancelled projects. And cancelled games don’t make money. So with an explosion of new Star Wars content inbound (especially for Disney+) they probably want to ensure there there is potential for spin-off games for all and EA alone may not be able to handle it.
This is a bit of a wild lightsaber slash in the dark and might be nothing… they do have a lot of valuable gaming IP and this simply might let them handle it better… but the timing of it does give us an opportunity to discuss if there may be more to it than that. If EA are keen to retain the exclusive rights they would be looking to announce an extension well in advance of their existing agreement ending which would clear this up… we’ll see! 🙂