Ever since EA took hold of the licensing for Star Wars games I have been worried. The choice of shutting down LucasFilm’s games company Lucas Arts in my view is something which made much more sense from a financial point of view than an actual creative point of view. Disney as the new owners of Star Wars must think about what is going to make them the most profit and handing the licensing rights to a giant like EA is a good place to start those means.
It’s a shame that my worst fears were confirmed with the first new major release into the Star Wars games franchise by EA. Star Wars: Battlefront – a reboot and re imagining of the mid 2000’s classics didn’t grab me enough to bother picking it up. This is for several reasons. Firstly, at the time I could neither afford nor run Battlefront on my slowly dying laptop but that issue was mine. In a way, I am extremely glad about that as when I picked up a PS4 and could fork out the cash it just didn’t seem worth it. All the initial hype had died down quickly and it just seemed like the EA studio Dice had just made a Star Wars themed version of their flagship shooter battlefield. In addition, the base game just seems empty. You get a very small number of maps to play on for an AAA full priced game and buying all the extra DLC maps and content would cost you a staggering amount.
Just recently EA’s next game set in this universe: Star Wars Battlefront 2 was announced and I am beginning to think that this could be the turning around point for the company. If DICE can recapture the interest of now disheartened fans like myself who are longing for a good new Star Wars game, I believe they can lay the foundations for games to come.
Hopes are already high as the developers are seemingly making a U-turn on the overpriced DLC format of the previous game. Surprisingly it looks as if all content will available in the base game with maybe only some extra downloads (what DLC should be) coming much later. Also great is the announcement of a single player campaign which many people – including actor of Finn from the Force Awakens, John Boyega – were calling for.
Some of my favourite games of all time are Star Wars games. In my mind one of the most suited movie franchises for video games is the Star Wars universe itself. Some of the greatest games ever made have been set in this world, and wherever there has been innovation in gaming Star Wars has been close behind.
Take for instance the landmark 1995 FPS Dark Forces – in which you steal the Death Star plans as rebel agent Kyle Katarn. One of the first major first person shooters after DOOM defined the genre, you can tell just by this early example how Star Wars games can adapt themselves to any genre. More importantly you can tell how they can easily be leaders in any given genre.
There are countless other examples: Knights of the Old Republic led the way for the modern RPGs; Republic Commando popularized the squad based shooter; the TIE fighter and X-Wing games showed how flight sim could be applied effectively in exciting ways.
I don’t necessarily want a genre-defining masterpiece from the new Battlefront. I don’t care if DICE don’t break any new ground. However, what I do want is an accessible and fun gaming experience set in the Star Wars universe that won’t cost me £100 to get all the maps. Please EA I know it’s possible!