While fans of old school Star Wars games have something to celebrate after the news that Disney and EA have signed an exclusive agreement to develop new triple-A Star Wars titles, loyal Nintendo console owners have reason to be concerned.
Since Nintendo released the Wii U, most high profile third-party games have skipped the console, including critically acclaimed hits such as BioShock Infinite and Tomb Raider. For Electronic Arts, Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel, Crysis 3 and Dead Space 3 were no-shows this year already, and with Battlefield 4 coming this fall, powered by the upgraded Frosbite 3 engine, many more titles won’t be making their way into the hands of Nintendo-focused players either.
With the announcement of the EA-Disney Star Wars license, EA confirmed that three of their key developers will be crafting all-new Star Wars games: DICE, Visceral and BioWare. All of these games, much like the in-development Battlefield 4 and Mass Effect next-gen title will be powered by DICE’s Frostbite 3 engine.
Johan Andersson, Technical Director on Frostbite, confirmed that last tidbit over Twitter and then also said that they don’t have the engine running on the dated Wii U tech.
@mutedpenguin FB3 has never been running on WiiU. We did some tests with not too promising results with FB2 & chose not to go down that path— Johan Andersson (@repi) May 6, 2013
Not having Crysis 3 is one thing, but not having all of the upcoming high profile Star Wars games is another issue entirely. With Star Wars Episode VII coming in 2015, it’s going to be one of the biggest entertainment franchises in the world, and it may all skip the Wii U.
Considering the much beloved Rogue Squadron series was exclusive to Nintendo in the past, it’s a sad reality that the Wii U isn’t built for the future and so far, hasn’t delivered on its promises of being third-party friendly.
Not all hope is lost however for the Wii U when it comes to the Force, as EA Labels President Frank Gibeau did specify in his happy blog entry that their Star Wars games will come to more than just next-gen consoles so Star Wars will likely have some presence on the Wii U, just not the Frostbite 3 games.
“The magic of Star Wars is interwoven into the worlds, characters, planets and amazing battles. It is a universe that lends itself perfectly to gaming. Our agreement unlocks a whole new future of Star Wars games that will span consoles, PCs, tablets, mobile and more.”
With rumors circulating that Nintendo may be looking to offer conversion software for developers to port and create mobile games for the Wii U, that’s at least one avenue for Wii U Star Wars games… although not an ideal one.
What games are you looking forward to? We’ve been preaching the Frostbite-powered Battlfront idea since 2011 and our staff picks range from Knights of the Old Republic 3 and Republic Commando to a new Jedi Knight and X-Wing Alliance 2.
Let me know on Twitter @rob_keyes what Star Wars game you want made!