The Force is strong with Electronic Arts.
“It’s the year of ‘Star Wars’ here at EA with games for console, PC and mobile,” said Andrew Wilson, CEO of EA.
“Battlefront” is expected to be one of the biggest titles of 2015. EA management has already set a high bar for investors, saying it expects to sell 9 million-10 million copies of the game (and some Wall Street analysts feel that is a conservative estimate).
In May 2013 EA won the exclusive rights to make “Star Wars” games outside of Disney’s own team, which is largely focused on mobile games and the toys-to-life genre with “Disney Infinity.” “Battlefront” will be the first game to come from that agreement and is a reboot of arguably the most popular “Star Wars” game of all time – a chance for fans to choose sides and fight against live opponents as either a Stormtrooper or Rebel soldier. Major characters from the films — such as Darth Vader and Boba Fett — will also be playable.
The “Battlefront” demo EA showed re-created the iconic battle for Hoth in “The Empire Strikes Back,” only this time around, it was footage captured from live action from game players – and included appearances by both Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker.
“You may see a lot of things that look familiar, but when you play the game your way, anything is possible,” said Sigurlina Ingvarsdottir, executive producer of “Star Wars: Battlefront.”
EA has a long history with “Star Wars.” In 2011 the company released “Star Wars: The Old Republic,” a massively multiplayer game that reportedly cost up to $200 million to create. The game never lived up to hope it would reach “World of Warcraft” levels of popularity, but has been a fairly solid performer for EA.
Later this year, the company announced it will release a free expansion, which is heavily focused on story (the bread and butter of developer Bioware). That expansion – “Knights of the Fallen Empire” – will be released Oct. 27.
The company also unveiled “Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes” — a collectible card game that will cover both the “Star Wars” films and television shows.
“We believe this is the ‘Star Wars’ mobile game that players have been waiting for,” said Samantha Ryan, senior VP and group general manager at EA Mobile.
Beyond “Star Wars,” EA had plenty to showcase. The publisher shared details on this year’s installments of its Madden and FIFA sports games (and were joined on stage by soccer great Pele) – as well as “NHL 16,” “PGA Tour” and “NBA Live.”
For non-sports fans, the company also announced “Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2” and a new installment of the “Need for Speed” and “Mass Effect” franchises – as well as the reboot of “Mirrors Edge,” a critically loved game from the last generation that never quite clicked with a wide swath of players.