Video games based in the Star Wars universe have certainly had a shift in direction since Lucasfilm, the creator of the epic sci-fi franchise, was taken over by Disney in 2012. The EA licensing agreement has led to some exciting-looking titles, such as DICE's upcoming reboot of the Battlefront series, but others have fallen by the wayside. Star Wars 1313 was seen by many as one of the most enticing Star Wars properties in years, yet was finally cancelled in January of this year.
It's worth noting that EA doesn't have complete control over Star Wars in the realm of video games, however. Disney actually holds on to the rights to develop and publish mobile and social games. With Disney in control of the more family-friendly wing of the series, it explains some of the more recent additions of the Star Wars roster. It has already been revealed that Star Wars is coming to Disney Infinity next year, and iOS title Star Wars Commander - a free-to-play strategy title - launched in August.
Now, Disney and Lucasfilm are unveiling another mobile title set in the Star Wars universe, just a month after Star Wars Commander was released. Developed by DeNA, one of the major free-to-play mobile developers, the latest addition to the world of the Jedi is Star Wars: Galactic Defense. As the title suggests, Galactic Defense is a tower defense game, and will be available later this year for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Android devices.
Star Wars: Galactic Defense will cover both the original trilogy and the prequel trilogy, and is set to include the iconic characters of the Star Wars universe within its strategy-focused gameplay. Gamers will be able to choose whether they represent the light or dark side of the force in-game. Meanwhile, players will also be able to take Galactic Defense online with their friends.
Barry Dorf, the vice president of partnerships and alliances at DeNa, was excited to take on Star Wars - a franchise that apparently "touched" everyone at the developer. “We’re honored to work with Disney and Lucasfilm on Star Wars: Galactic Defense," said Dorf. "We can't use the Force, but we do have one of the world’s most talented and passionate mobile development teams working to create an unforgettable Star Wars gameplay experience."
Players will also be able to unlock exclusive in-game content by pre-registering and "completing social media missions" during launch week. This includes upgrades such as additional troops and ion bombardments, as well as the in-game currency of 'gems'. Finally, players can unlock of Darth Maul as an in-game character - but only after accruing 500,000 points.
What do you make of the shift towards mobile and casual titles? Do you think these games add to the Star Wars universe, or do you think it weakens the strength of the franchise? Let us know in the comments below. If you need a fix of old-school Star Wars titles, be sure to check out this compilation of Hoth battles from video game history.
Star Wars: Galactic Defense will release for iOS and Android devices later this year.