It’s been a disappointing couple of months for Star Wars video games fans. While the prospect of new films set in the Galaxy Far, Far Away, especially with one directed by J.J. Abrams, was initially an exciting revelation – the announcement of Disney’s Lucasfilm acquisition has resulted in a number of discouraging ramifications for gamers. Most notorious was the decision to entirely close-down the LucasArts subsidiary – resulting in countless unemployed developers and outright abandoned Star Wars projects.
In addition to unannounced titles, highly-anticipated games like Star Wars: Battlefront 3 and Star Wars: 1313 were either cancelled or put on indefinite hold. Considering those two projects were far into development (with Battlefront 3 estimated at 99% completion), the uncertainty raised a lot of questions about the kind of Star Wars experiences that Disney intends to sell gamers in the coming years. Now, thanks to a new batch of Lucasfilm domain registrations, we might have a few hints.
Initially, Disney had positioned the LucasArts closure as an opportunity to license their properties to a wide variety of third-party developers – promising a diverse range of Star Wars branded games available to players of different age groups and tastes. However, a recent licensing deal gives Electronic Arts exclusive rights to Star Wars game properties. This means, while a range of studios might still handle Star Wars game development, every title would fall under EA’s umbrella – a company that has repeatedly stressed their intention of appealing to the mobile and casual markets (as well as include microtransactions in every future game). Pair that casual gamer approach with similar comments made by Disney Chairman, Bob Iger, at the time of the Lucasfilm acquisition, and it’s easy to see that even if hardcore Star Wars console experiences are in the works, social and mobile gaming is going to be a major focus going forward – a point that is made even more apparent by the list of Star Wars-related web domains that Lucasfilm recently registered.
Check out the full list below (courtesy of Fusible):
First off, since Lucasfilm registered the domains (not EA), it’s possible that some of them could be attributed to cartoon series or even feature film landing pages. Still, one game series is immediately apparent – with three Gungan Frontier titles listed. It’s worth noting this does not mean that EA is currently planning three Gungan Frontier games but registering the domains no doubt indicates that Disney has long term plans for the series – with Gungan Frontier 2 likely on the way. For anyone unfamiliar with the original Gungan Frontier game, the title was a 1999 SimCity-like experience on PC that tasked players with planting organisms (animals and vegetation) on the Naboo moon of Ohma-D’un. Whether or not EA intends to actually deliver a kid-friendly SimCity spinoff with Star Wars (specifically Gungan) assets, is unclear at this time – especially since they could be using the title for a Farmville-esque mobile game instead.
The other titles don’t have direct correlation with existing game series – so, as mentioned, they could be serving Lucasfilm projects in another medium. The Star Wars Alliance and Star Wars Rebels domains are pretty general and, if they do point to a video game, it’s probably the same project – which may not have a definitive title yet. That said, while Star Wars Wolf Pack, Wolf Pack Adventures, and Wookie Hunters, are equally nondescript at this point – they’ll likely fall into a kid-friendly category (either as a game or TV series).
By far the most interesting listing in the batch, and one with the most appeal to hardcore gamers (and film fans), is Order 67 – which correlates with a future-set Expanded Universe story whereby the Third Jedi Order (founded by Luke Skywalker descendant Cade Skywalker) cooperates with the New Sith Order. The Order 67 story would serve as an intriguing premise for an action-oriented game experience (or action-heavy movie) and not exactly the kind of setup that would be a fit for casual or mobile platforms – should it turn out to even be a video game.
As mentioned, none of the domains directly lineup with announced game projects at this point. Since EA has said that it’ll be 2014 before see any Star Wars games published under the Electronic Arts banner, it may be awhile before we get further clarification on the reason for the domain registrations – as well as how they fit with any planned Star Wars games (or TV shows, films, etc).
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