When Electronic Arts confirmed that DICE was, in fact, taking over the Star Wars: Battlefront franchise it seemed like a no-brainer. After EA acquired the rights to publish and develop all future Star Wars games, there were a lot of questions in the air, but gamers felt pretty confident that it was DICE who should pick up where Pandemic Studios left off. And strangely, prior to the EA/Disney deal, DICE felt exactly the same — believing they could develop both Battlefield and Battlefront at the same time.
Then came the blockbuster deal, in which Electronic Arts signed an exclusive partnership with Disney (the new owners of LucasArts) to develop all Star Wars games going forward. And wouldn’t you know it, EA put DICE in charge of Battlefront.
While DICE’s Executive Producer Patrick Bach acknowledges it’s “pretty cool” for a Star Wars game to be in development in Sweden, he admits the developer felt a little fear after being handed the project. After all, this is a franchise with a rabid fan base that has some pretty lofty expectations.
“We weren’t as cocky when we got the chance, because to take on something like this is scary, as you can imagine. You can only screw up, right?”
That doesn’t mean DICE will let that fear get to them, though; they have some big plans for Star Wars: Battlefront. Unfortunately, development is still in the early stages — the only thing we’ve seen from the game thus far is a logo and a very short teaser trailer — the game isn’t slated to hit until 2015, alongside J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode 7.
That doesn’t, however, mean that gamers can’t get excited that the developer of Battlefield, a franchise that practically inspired Battlefront, has now taken over. In fact, part of the reason DICE wanted to try their hand at Battlefront stems from the fact they believe the series copied some of their ideas.
“It’s quite interesting. For some strange reason — coincidence, I don’t know — we had a discussion at the office about what happened to Battlefront. You know, the old IP that someone else made that was a rip-off of Battlefield. Bastards! We should’ve made it. It was a competition of powers. We couldn’t do both at the same time.”
At the same time, DICE is still trying to figure out a direction for Battlefront — how best to innovate on what Pandemic created. Hopes are clearly high for both gamers and DICE, but it will be sometime before we see whether the developer can deliver.
Do you think that DICE will do the Battlefront franchise justice? How would you like to see them update the game for the next-gen?
Star Wars: Battlefront will release in 2015 on next-gen consoles and the PC.