EA snaps up Star Wars game rights

EA snaps up Star Wars game rights
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

May 6th 2013 at 11:35PM

DICE and Visceral working on new original Star Wars games with the Frostbite 3 engine

EA has snapped up the rights to exclusively develop Star Wars-based games.

The first new games under the multi-year licensing deal with Disney will be developed by EA's in-house studios such as Battlefield developer DICE and Dead Space outfit Visceral.

In a statement, EA Labels president Frank Gibeau said the games would be based on original stories, and would be developed using the Frostbite 3 game engine.

The EA exec also said the agreement would mean Star Wars-based games will be released on console, PC, tablet and mobile.

EA's rights for Star Wars games relate specifically to core-gaming titles for "interactive platforms", while Disney has retained "certain rights" to creating new games within the mobile, social, tablet and online gaming sectors.

The specific financial details of the agreement were not revealed.

"While we don’t have any details to share today on specific titles, our development teams are already brimming with design ideas," said Gibeau.

"The EA Studios that will develop these games are some of the most innovative and popular creative teams in the world, and include DICE and Visceral, in addition to the BioWare team, which is already developing for the Star Wars franchise. These imaginative teams will make games that may borrow from films, but the games will be entirely original with all new stories. Powering it all will be the Frostbite 3 development engine – guaranteeing incredible graphic fidelity, environments and characters."

Disney Interactive co-president John Pleasants added: “This agreement demonstrates our commitment to creating quality game experiences that drive the popularity of the Star Wars franchise for years to come.

“Collaborating with one of the world’s premier game developers will allow us to bring an amazing portfolio of new Star Wars titles to our fans around the world.”

EA already has recent history with the Star Wars franchise, with BioWare having created MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic. Although that title is believed to have struggled to gain traction, eventually ditching its subscription-based model for a free-to-play hybrid, this appears not to have deterred EA from moving forward with developing Star Wars-related content.

It is unclear whether the new deal will revive some of the projects previously underway at the now defunct LucasArts, such as triple-A title Star Wars 1313, which dazzled onlookers when it was revealed during E3 last year.

Although it had been wideley suggested Star Wars 1313 had been cancelled when LucasArts was closed, last month a Disney spokesperson told Develop that all in-development titles at the time of the studio's closure were "under evaluation", suggesting the title could yet live on in EA's hands.