Electronic Arts and Lucasfilm Games have just announced that they’re working on three new Star Wars games set to release in the coming years. The announcement comes right after Microsoft’s talk-of-the-town acquisition of Activision Blizzard a few days ago. With both Bethesda and Activision Blizzard under Microsoft’s belt, Ubisoft, Square Enix, Capcom, and EA are the only to big-name multi-platform gaming studios left standing on their own.
The new games
Coming to the announcement itself, the biggest takeaway is that all of these games are being worked on by Respawn Entertainment. One of these three new games is a Star Wars Jedi sequel. That means EA has essentially made Star Wars games exclusive to one developer under its wing. After all, Respawn is no stranger to grand gaming experiences and arguably delivered the only good Star Wars game in years, this seems like a good decision.
Stig Asmussen, game director on Jedi: Fallen Order and God Of War 3 will be returning to helm the new Star Wars Jedi game. Moreover, Respawn is also developing a new first-person shooter based in the Star Wars universe with former LucasArts VP of development and executive producer on the original Star Wars Battlefront games, Peter Hirschmann, hired as the game director.
Lastly, a new turned-based strategy game is also in the works at Respawn with Bit Reactor leading the development and Respawn producing the title. Bit Reactor is a recently-formed studio out of Maryland, USA, comprised of XCOM developers. Industry veteran, Greg Foerstch, art director of XCOM 2 and XCOM: Enemy Unknown, is leading Bit Reactor.
All of these games will be overlooked by Vince Zampella, founder and CEO of Respawn. There’s currently no release dates or even time frames for when either of these games will release but I’d suggest not to get your hopes up as 2023 is when we can see a release, at the earliest. And that is if development is already underway with the Star Wars Jedi sequel as both the FPS and the strategy game have only now started development.
Battlefront 3 and the future of Star Wars games at EA
With all that, you might’ve wondered: where’s Battlefront? Well, this news indirectly confirms that Battlefront is axed for now. DICE, who’s already had a pretty disastrous past few months is looking to amend Battlefield 2042 and will focus on the franchise going forward instead of leading a new Star Wars: Battlefront game. Battlefront 2, released in 2017, was perhaps an even more disastrous launch for DICE as the game went down in history as a key proponent in catalyzing the hate for microtransactions in games.
So, it’s understandable why DICE would not want to return to that and rather try to fix their own baby, Battlefield. Not only that, but it looks like EA is done with Star Wars after these three games. The exclusivity deal EA signed to get rights to lead Star Wars’ games’ developments in 2013 for the next 10 years is a lot different today as Ubisoft, Quantic Dream and Aspyr Media are actively working on new Star Wars titles which makes EA no longer the exclusive heir to Star Wars games.
After a rather agonizing time with Star Wars properties, EA likely wants out. EA’s deal with Disney ends in 2023 but the actual terms of that deal are so vague that we don’t actually know what exclusivity it actually landed EA. Last year, three new Star Wars games by three studios that are not EA were announced yet the exclusivity deal has not expired so how did that happen? Nobody really knows. Maybe it means that no non-EA Star Wars games can release until 2023? But, then again, Lego: Star Wars games seem to also be unaffected from this deal.
Regardless of the confusing terms surrounding the EA’s exclusivity, they want to eliminate the licensing costs it takes to produce Star Wars games and instead want to focus on their own in-house IPs, such as Mass Effect and Dragon Age. And with other studious making Star Wars games, EA has more incentive than ever to end the deal and they’re giving us three new games as farewell.