Lucasfilm Games announced today that the Star Wars game producer is entering a new partnership with video gaming behemoth Ubisoft, with the goal of creating a brand new, open-world Star Wars game. IGN reported just days ago that Lucasfilm Games itself is a new venture, its formation having been announced just Monday in a posting on Starwars.com that all future Star Wars game development would be brought together under one label, namely the aforementioned Lucasfilm Games.
As was first reported in WIRED, the new Lucasfilm Games production will end EA’s nearly decade-long monopoly over all Star Wars game production, having been the company that brought into existence (with mixed reviews) Battlefront I and Battlefront II, and the most recently critically– and fan-acclaimed Star Wars Squadrons. Though it will end EA’s years-long exclusivity in producing Star Wars games, there is no suggestion that EA won’t have the ability to develop future Star Wars titles in partnership with Lucasfilm Games.
However, for what may become the next big Star Wars game title that will be the child of this new Ubisoft and Lucasfilm Games partnership, the unnamed title is a big win for Ubisoft. Sean Shoptaw, senior vice president of Global Games and Interactive Experiences at Disney said in the WIRED piece that “EA has been and will continue to be a very strategic and important partner for us now and going forward, but we did feel like there’s room for others.”
This seems hardly a surprising position. Considering the pace at which Disney and Lucasfilm have been pumping out new Star Wars content in recent years. Between the Star Wars sequels, Rogue One, Solo: A Star Wars Story, not to mention Disney’s ongoing production of the wildly popular Disney+ series, The Mandalorian, not to mention other properties in development, there is a LOT of content for Disney and Lucasfilm to produce games around. It would be foolhardy of Disney to put all their eggs in one basket and assign production of multiple properties to EA alone. Though EA has had a pretty good track record with Star Wars games and how they were received, the Battlefront games weren’t everything that many fans were looking for. Battlefront II was not a drastic revolution from Battlefront I, both games having very limited solo campaigns. However, EA also hit a home-run with Star Wars Squadrons, with fans being so taken by the game that EA ended up quickly producing some add-ons for the game that were released in December, after initially saying that the day-one content in Squadrons was intended to be the full content with no plans for any expansion material.
The formation of the new Lucasfilm Games and the spreading out of future production plans to involve other studios will hopefully mean an acceleration in the number of new Star Wars titles to come.
As to the new open-world game that this new Lucasfilm Games Ubisoft partnership will produce, there is little so far to tell. Ubisoft is still in the planning phases with them in the process of building a production team. Little more is known. Its not clear at this point what trajectory the project might take. Will this be a third-person RPG primarily set as a single-player game, with the player following a main story arc (quest line) with an assortment of side-quests? Will Ubisoft be looking to develop instead the next big Star Wars open-world multiplayer a la Star Wars:The Old Republic online?
Its obviously far to early to know anything substantive, and it will probably be months before we know anything truly concrete, and potentially years before the title lands in stores. The good news for Star Wars fans in having a powerhouses such as Disney and Ubisoft at the helm, it won’t take years to navigate from concept to release day.