GZ Roundtable: EA's exclusive license to create Star Wars games. Good or bad?

Screenshot - Star Wars EA

Earlier this week, Electronic Arts shocked the gaming world when they announced an exclusive license with Disney to develop and publish new Star Wars games for a "core gaming audience." While this means a healthy future of Star Wars game releases, not everyone is pleased with EA's exclusive rights. While this potentially means some former franchises like Knights of the Old Republic could make a comeback, it also means that every future Star Wars game will have to go through the worst company in America. Suddenly, the future is clouded.

So with that, this week's roundtable question is a hotly debated topic: How do you feel about EA acquiring the exclusive license to create Star Wars games?

Matt Liebl Follow on Twitter

matt liebl pictureThe problem with answering this question is that you never know what EA is going to deliver. The publisher has been so hit-or-miss lately that it's impossible to predict how a new Star Wars title will turn out. For as many hits as EA puts out (Battlefield 3), there's an equal amount of busts (see: SimCity). Ultimately it comes down to how much leeway they give the individual studio.

If they attempt to pull some always-on or microtransaction bullsh*t -- and let's be clear that it's not just EA with these tactics -- then we might as well consider the next Star Wars games a bunch of flops already. Still, there's great potential with EA owning the Star Wars license. I mean, DICE, Visceral, and BioWare are no slouches.

I'm sure we can all agree DICE making a Star Wars FPS similar to that of Battlefront would be freaking amazing -- as long as EA stays out of it and lets them do their thing. However, we also thought the same with BioWare and their return to Star Wars with The Old Republic MMO. Though, to be fair, the game has picked up since going free-to-play. The real interesting one here is Visceral, especially in light of Dead Space 3's lackluster response. I'd really like to see what they can do with the Star Wars franchise.

Verdict: Hesitant

Andrew Clouther Follow on Twitter

Andrew CloutherHonestly, more displeased than pleased. Think of EA like the Empire. They have everything going for them: power, drive, money, influence, a fricken Death Star... on the outside it seems like they are doing everything right. But once you look at the interworking we see EA cast as the worst company to work for, they seem to wrap their Emperor hands on everything, and seem to slowly corrupt some of the companies/franchises we all know and love over the years.

Oh, by the way, I love Star Wars. By Star Wars I mean episodes 4-6. Yea, I’m one of those. So while I don’t think EA could make a Star Wars product worse than episodes 1-3, that doesn’t mean I’m necessarily on board. I mean hell, if Luke could have used credits to buy microtransactions to defeat the Empire, don’t you think he would have done it? EA has everything necessary to create solid Star Wars games… the real question is, is the force strong enough in them to do so? Or are we living that moment when we realize Emperor Palpatine was the Sith lord all along? 

Verdict: Displeased

Lance Liebl Follow on Twitter

Lance LieblI honestly don't know how I feel about it. I'm going to take a “wait and see” approach. I see great potential with BioWare and DICE on-board. Hopefully this is good for Star Wars 1313, and I'd love to to see a Star Wars: Battlefront 3.

But if EA pulls any of their typical crap – like always-on DRM – I'm gonna be pissed.

Verdict: Meh?

Tatiana Morris Follow on Twitter

Tatiana MorrisWhen I first heard about Disney giving EA the rights to publish and develop Star Wars games I immediately had a knee jerk reaction. Now, 3 days later the dust has settled and I'm still not happy about it. First we hear about how Disney plans on pimping out films, now we get to see EA do the same thing on a different platform. I understand that the games won't only be coming from one source, other studios under the EA umbrella are all getting in on this - BioWare, Dice and Visceral. 

EA strikes me as some meddlesome micromanaging boss that continuously shoves their dirty hands into the cookie mix ruining it for everyone. Remember Mass Effect 3? How about SimCity? Should we also lump Dead Space 3 into this? I guess what I mean to say is that the games start out great and then end up taking a turn away from what makes us love them to some mass produced, over processed game. I would hate to see another Star Wars game get people hyped up and only to have an overly commercialized end product. A Star Wars game should be developed by people who live and breath Star Wars and (good) video games. 

Some times we get blinded by the love of an idea when the best thing to do is simply let sleeping dogs lie.

Verdict: Not happy

Max Baehr Follow on Twitter

Max BaehrConfession time: the last major game I played heavily from the Star Wars franchise was Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast back at a buddy’s house. Now, I’ve heard that SWTOR and/or KOTOR had some similar elements. I refuse to verify these claims personally, as I’m scared of what will happen to my social life if they’re true...

So we can assume that BioWare’s continued involvement in the franchise will see a new The Old Republic game, and people tell me that’s a good thing, and I believe them. DICE we can assume will finish Battlefront 3, carrying the torch from LucasArts’ stall-out after the Disney acquisition. Does this give me Gearbox/TimeGate/Aliens: Colonial Marine fear? Yes, of course it does. But maybe Disney’s continued involvement in the franchise heralds a better working relationship than we saw with my other favorite sci-fi franchise (single tear).

Visceral are the wildcard in this bunch. Given the lukewarm reception of Dead Space 3, I worry that EA may have an itchy trigger finger, and a lot may ride on the success of whatever Visceral dream up for the Star Wars franchise. That said, I think they have what it takes to deliver a kick-ass title. I also like that Disney are staying onboard to handle social/mobile, which I hope allows the console- and PC-focused studios to deliver shining standalone games without having to run in too many directions at once.

Bottom line: I’m approaching this news with cautious optimism. I would be thrilled to jump back into the franchise and find a new Star Wars game to fall in love with, and this seems like as good a formula as any.

Verdict: Cautious optimism

Mike Splechta Follow on Twitter

Mike SplechtaAfter the sad closing of LucasArts, the studio behind many of my fondest childhood memories, I couldn't be happier that the Star Wars legacy will continue. Look, I get it, it's fun to hate on EA, the company who won 'worst studio of the year' awards twice in a row, but let's face it, when it comes down to it, we all play EA published games, and a lot of them, aren't bad at all. After all, it's all about how the individual devs will handle the franchise.

If anything, I hope this exclusiveness from EA brings back Star Wars 1313 from the dead, and most of all, Battlefront 3. Can you imagine Battlefront 3 being made by DICE, the same people who make the amazing Battlefield series? It would be absolutely spectacular, and I don't even have to speculate that. That is a fact. Hell, if BioWare goes back to what they did best, maybe, just maybe, we'll get Knights of the Old Republic III. Let's just pretend The Old Republic never happened.

Verdict: Pumped

Matt-liebl-profile
Matt Liebl You can follow Senior News Editor Matt Liebl on Twitter @Matt_GZ. He likes games, sports, musicals, and his adorable dog, Wrigley. And his wife.
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