Disney, EA to Treat ‘Star Wars’

Lucasfilm has decided not to create traditionally licensed games based on upcoming ‘Star Wars’ movies through Electronic Arts

In its ten-year-deal with Lucasfilm to produce “Star Wars” video games, Electronic Arts says the traditional move to reproduce what’s seen on the big screen is out.

“We’ve done movie games over the years and we wanted to make sure that we weren’t doing a movie game, i.e., game based on the movie,” EA’s chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen told attendees at the UBS Global Technology Conference on Tuesday. “The beauty of the ‘Star Wars’ franchise is that it’s so broad and so deep, you don’t have to do a movie game, you can do a game that’s very focused on the world that’s been created around ‘Star Wars.’”

“We struck what we believe is a fantastic deal which allows us to be able to build games in many different genres across multiple types of platforms over ten years and we’ll leverage the strength of the Disney marketing associated with the ‘Star Wars’ properties both in movies and other things that they may do over the timeframe,” he added.

In the past, studios have licensed their films to video game publishers, seeing the titles as a quick way to generate revenue. In most cases, the films failed to excite buyers and didn’t offer anything new, eventually hurting sales.

DICE, Visceral Games and BioWare are currently developing new “Star Wars” games for EA, with the first, “Star Wars: Battlefront,” expected to be released in 2015, the same year Disney and Lucasfilm unspool “Star Wars: Episode VIII” on December 18.

While EA will focus on pricier tentpole titles for video game consoles like the new PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, Lucasfilm and Disney Interactive have turned to other partners to produce mobile games.

They’re already released “Star Wars: Tiny Death Star,” produced by “Tiny Tower” makers NimbleBit, and a sequel to “Angry Birds: Star Wars,” with Rovio.

SEE ALSO: Disney, LucasArts to Launch ‘Star Wars: Tiny Death Star’ with ‘Tiny Tower’ Creator

While EA initially struggled with the pricey “Star Wars: The Old Republic,” Jorgensen said the game is now profitable for the gamemaker, especially after making it free-to-play. “We brought the economics in line, so it’s a profitable business for us,” he said, adding that EA will continue to update the game with new content. “We think as the ‘Star Wars’ franchises start to grow with Disney’s investment, we’ll continue to see more excitement around that game as well as the other games that we’ll start to produce.”

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