Well, it's official – George Lucas and Rovio are in cahoots.
An event is being held in New York this morning, revealing the next chapter in the Angry Birds series – and it's a tie-in with George Lucas' immensely popular Star Wars franchise. Though we have yet to see the gameplay in action, we're already imagining that birds dressed up like Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Chewbacca and Han Solo are knocking out pigs dressed like Stormtroopers and Darth Vader. Hey, as long as Jar Jar doesn't show up.
This crossover idea has a few hardcore Twitter and Facebook users bitching up a storm, but, in essence, it's a brilliant idea. Rovio has one of the biggest game franchises of all time, and George Lucas…well, you know the money he's made over the years with Star Wars, both in his original releases, re-releases and merchandise sales.
There are several reasons this crossover will work wonders for both parties. Let's break 'em down…
Star Wars Fans Will Have a Good Game To Play
Over the years, there have only been a select few Star Wars games that have been worthwhile to play (we'll just forget most of the Episode I titles didn't exist, save for Racer), but LucasArts seems to be paying better attention in terms of what properties are licensed, between the forthcoming Xbox Live Arcade Star Wars game and the next-gen 1313 project. But with Angry Birds, fans will immediately be thrust into a situation with gameplay they can recognize and appreciate, while retaining that Star Wars twist that makes them feel like they're actually playing a quality effort. Original? Hardly. But fun? Looking that way.
We have yet to play an Angry Birds game that stinks. Bad Piggies doesn't count because A. it's a spin-off and B. it was enjoyable in its own way. I can't see any reason why Rovio wouldn't put forth a quality effort with Star Wars, especially with all the hype that's going to be put into it.
Cross-Over Promotion Worked In the Past With Rio
Most people see a licensing to a major series as a quick "cash-in", but Rovio has proven before that they can take said license and actually make it feel like a part of the gaming process. Case in point – Angry Birds Rio. What could've been a cheesy add-on to a popular series instead changed to a great locale, offered a number of interesting gameplay twists, and just made it feel…right.
With Angry Birds Star Wars, same thing. You can expect Rovio to include plenty of neat Jedi tricks within the game, along with ambience with stages based on (blind guessing here) the Death Star, Endor, etc. I doubt Rovio will screw this up, especially with George Lucas giving so much consent to the project.
The Merchandise Is Bound To Be Cute
Since you've got two franchises that are blending in together so well, you can expect that Rovio and Lucas will take advantage to the fullest extent. We've gotten a peek at some of the merchandise that will be released alongside the game this November, including stuffed Birds and Piggies (we're suddenly finding a need to buy the Stormtrooper Piggie), t-shirts, and more.
This will sell two-fold. Casual fans will pick these up to please their kids or show their pride in all things Angry Birds. And the throng of Star Wars fans that collect figures, shirts, movies and everything like that will have an all new avenue of stuff to pick up. It's a win-win across the board…provided people don't snatch everything up at the store and try to sell it all on eBay. We hate those kind of folks.
Who says Angry Birds Star Wars has to be limited to one game? For all we know, Rovio could have a series of expansions and sequels set, each one based on a chapter in the movie trilogies. They could easily start with A New Hope (which is looking likely) and move on through the films, including introducing walking puzzles (!) for The Empire Strikes Back and even more challenging stuff for the next releases.
We're not sure what their DLC plan is, but it sounds brilliant, and the potential is bigger than you might realize.
Look, if you're not a fan of Angry Birds Star Wars or just don't see yourself buying into it, it's your prerogative. But the truth is, this is one of the most interesting cross-over ideas we've seen in some time, and there are so many reasons it'll work in the favor of all involved, both with those making it and those who eventually end up playing it.
Dare we say…the Force is strong with this one…