For years, gamers have clamored for a third installment in the Star Wars: Battlefront series and it finally debuted this week under new holders of the license, publisher Electronic Arts. The development team behind the Battlefield series, Swedish studio DICE, were the best logical case to reboot Star Wars: Battlefront, bringing their multiplayer first-person shooter pedigree to the table. And what they've done is just the beginning.
After Disney acquired Lucasfilm and LucasArts, they made a 10-year exclusive deal with EA to produce triple-A Star Wars games for the foreseeable future. Battlefront is just the first release in this partnership and is expected to be a top-seller in 2015, leading into the holiday season and the highly anticipated theatrical return of the film saga in Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens where the game will have tie-in content.
From our own experiences with Star Wars: Battlefront and reading the reviews, EA's first showcase with the coveted Star Wars license isn't the best start. The game is visually gorgeous but shallow in its content, lacking longevity, depth, and innovation. It's a step backwards from their previous works in the Battlefield series and pales in comparison to the value and features offered in his fall's other big shooters Halo 5: Guardians and Call of Duty: Black Ops 3. Still, it's fun and Star Wars sells.
EA and DICE know this which is why they can easily and confidently talk about future releases, including Battlefront sequels. EA CFO Blake Jorgensen said the following earlier this week at the UBS Global Technology Conference in San Francisco:
"It's a big effort for us, and I don't think there's a human being in the world who hasn't heard of the Star Wars movie coming. And so, [it's a] great opportunity. We struck a licensing deal with Disney a few years back that's almost ten years in length. The game that comes out tomorrow, Star Wars Battlefront, is a traditional first-person style shooter game. Our goal is to make future Battlefront games as well as other style games around the Star Wars franchise, both on mobile as well as console and PC. It's a huge opportunity for us."
We can only hope Star Wars: Battlefront sequels attempt to do more, bringing back some of the nitty gritty details and gameplay mechanics of the Battlefield series along with a campaign that lets players relive and immerse themselves in the epic battles and stories which make Star Wars special in the first place. There's a reason the Rebels and Imperials are at war, DICE. And a lot of that happens in space! Fortunately, EA's deal includes access to all of official canonical Star Wars history, including the upcoming episodic an Anthology spinoff movies.
"We get access to all of the historical content as well as all the new content developed. The beauty of the Star Wars franchise is it's almost unlimited in what you can do with it. We know Disney has done a great job with other franchises and we believe they'll do the same with Star Wars over time in delivering new worlds, new characters, new vehicles, all the things that make great video games. Our goal is not to make video games directly about the movies, it's to use the IP in the movie to make great, exciting games... You can't do something counter to Star Wars and that's fine with us because I think that's why people love Star Wars."
Another Star Wars game, reportedly a third-person action-adventure, is already in the works from developer Visceral Games, headed by Amy Hennig (Uncharted) but details on its lore remain secret - potentially due to its connections to the upcoming films. And you can bet in the next year we'll learn about more future Star Wars titles. For Battlefront, new DLC - part of the game's Season Pass that's splashed all over the game's main menu - will begin releasing in early 2016. And there's more content (and toys) on the way for the Star Wars themed Disney Infinity 3.0 as well.
Stay tuned for more news and our in-depth thoughts on Battlefront this week!
Star Wars: Battlefront is available on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.