Electronic Arts held their quarterly financial briefing yesterday and the publisher revealed that it has no plans to release a Star Wars game in 2013. EA and Disney announced the Star Wars deal on Monday, confirming suspicions that Disney would look outside their Disney Interactive label to create future Star Wars games after closing LucasArts.
Blake Jorgensen, EA’s Chief Financial Officer, announced that they won’t be releasing a Star Wars game during the company’s 2014 fiscal year (which runs from April 1, 2013 through March 31, 2014). So the absolute earliest a new Star Wars game could be released is April 2014. Jorgensen didn’t want to pin down a release date, but EA President Frank Gibeau was able to reveal that both DICE and Visceral will be using the Frostbite 3 engine to create the next chapter in the Star Wars video game saga.
While it went unsaid, this news also likely spells the end for Star Wars 1313 and Star Wars: First Assault.
Star Wars 1313‘s E3 2012 trailer included a placeholder main character that LucasArts planned to replace before the game was released. With this week’s closure of LucasArts, we may never see the game on store shelves, but Kotaku has learned that the main character of 1313 would have been… wait for it… Boba Fett. I’ll give you a minute to catch your breath as this is clearly a development that no one was expecting.
The reason for the placeholder character was due to the fact that Boba Fett wasn’t added to 1313 until just before last year’s E3 Expo. Until that point, the game officially didn’t have a main character and was basically a blank slate being used to tell stories in the Star Wars underworld.
While internal development has ceased at LucasArts, there’s still hope that 1313 (and Star Wars: First Assault) will be completed by a third party. According to Kotaku’s tipster, this scenario is unlikely:
“[LucasArts] ended up with movie tech that wouldn’t fit in a game, and game tech that wouldn’t fit in a movie. 1313 was always in danger of not being made.”
If Star Wars 1313 is truly dead, we should probably start thinking of it as a game frozen in carbonite, forever taunting us with the dream of a “mature” take on the Star Wars saga. Though I’m not sure a game starring a character with as much baggage as Boba Fett could have done it.
The writing has been on the wall ever since Disney acquired the massive Lucas empire last year, but today it became official as the House of Mouse closed LucasArts. Speaking to Game Informer, a LucasArts representative repeated the official statement from Disney:
“After evaluating our position in the games market, we’ve decided to shift LucasArts from an internal development to a licensing model, minimizing the company’s risk while achieving a broader portfolio of quality Star Wars games. As a result of this change, we’ve had layoffs across the organization. We are incredibly appreciative and proud of the talented teams who have been developing our new titles.”
So while this is the end for LucasArts, this isn’t the end for Star Wars video games. But what about Star Wars 1313 and Star Wars: First Assault, the two Star Wars games currently in development? Another LucasArts representative spoke to Game Informer and revealed that both of those games may be passed on to third-party developers to finish:
“It is worth noting that we are looking for proven external partners who can help us provide video games to our fans. We still believe in the video game industry, we still will provide Star Wars games, we’re just looking at different models rather than internal production… They’re evaluating everything. There’s always a possibility that it [Star Wars 1313] can still come out via licensing.”
LucasArts was something special for a lot of different people and the video game landscape is going to be a very different place without it.
Ever since George Lucas sold the Star Wars franchise to the enormous Death Star that is Disney last October, there has been a rush of news about the new films. From confirmation of a new trilogy, as well as stand-alone films, to the announcement that Star Trek director J.J. Abrams would jump ship to direct Episode VII, Disney have been slowly keeping fans excited with these tidbits.
However, the same cannot be said of the games based in the same universe, or more specifically, Star Wars 1313, which debuted at E3 2012 in June. Up until that point, an ambitious live action television show was in development that would bridge the two decade gap between Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Episode IV: A New Hope. Rumours hinted that the show would run 100 episodes regardless of ratings, and would feature secondary characters we had come to know. Peter Nikolai, Producer of 1313, acknowledged that the character in the demo was just a test character and not the actual main character, who was going to be a young bounty hunter.
Boba Fett? And there’s even more speculation from Kotaku‘s report about the development of Star Wars 1313. (more…)
On Tuesday, October 30, The Walt Disney Company purchased Lucasfilm from George Lucas. This multibillion dollar deal included all rights to the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises, as well as the subsidiary companies Industrial Light + Magic, Skywalker Sound, and LucasArts.
In the same announcement, Disney confirmed that Star Wars: Episode VII was in development and would be released in theaters in 2015. The Internet (and quite possibly the world) was in utter disbelief. You might say that millions of voices suddenly cried out in confusion and were suddenly silenced in stunned shock.
But that silence didn’t last long as the speculation concerning Episode VII and what this means for the Star Wars franchise began almost immediately. And that’s where we come in, as two Warp Zoned staffers debate exactly what this merging means for Lucasfilm’s game development arm, LucasArts. (more…)
Disney has done it again. After purchasing Marvel in 2009 for $4.24 billion, the House of Mouse has now turned their sights on Lucasfilm and the entire Star Wars empire. And like Luke Skywalker in the Death Star’s canyon, they’ve hit their target and are taking home a shiny new medal.
During an investor’s meeting earlier today, Disney CEO Robert A. Iger announced that the company has purchased Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion. This includes all rights to the Star Wars franchise (and Indiana Jones too) as well as Industrial Light + Magic, Skywalker Sound, and Lucasfilm’s game division, LucasArts.
As if this wasn’t wild enough, Iger also announced that production on Star Wars: Episode VII has begun. The film will be released in 2015 and will be followed by Episode VIII in 2017/2018 and Episode IX in 2020/2021. George Lucas will serve as a creative consultant on all three movies.
“For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next,” said Lucas. “It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers.”
LucasArts is currently devloping Star Wars 1313, which debuted at this year’s E3 Expo. It’s unknown how this acquisition will affect the game’s development, if at all.
Whatever happens, may The Force be with all of us.
The development team behind Star Wars 1313, including Creative Director Dominic Robilliard, has unleashed their first developer diary detailing the grim and gritty world they’ve created. Dubbed “Descent to the Underworld” by the team, it’s the first real look inside the “Star Wars Hell” they’re creating for Coruscant’s 1313 level. One of the developers even said that the location can be thought of as a parallel to Dante’s Inferno (the book, not the game).
However, the bounty hunter at the center of it all remains nameless. Hopefully, we’ll learn more about him soon.
LucasArts has released a new gameplay trailer for Star Wars 1313, their “gritty” and “mature” new take on the Star Wars universe. Sadly, the entire thing seems to be made up of recycled footage from the trio of trailers the publisher unveiled during E3.