Lucasfilm Games’ new partnerships mean the frontiers of the galaxy

Today, Lucasfilm Games It announced that it is partnering with Ubisoft to create a Star Wars game open to the world. The title will be developed by Ubisoft’s Massive Entertainment, the first time that a company outside of EA has produced a Star Wars game since Disney acquired Lucasfilm in 2012. Nearly eight years of exclusivity. Work is also underway on a new game from Indiana Jones, set to be developed by Bethesda Game Studios, a newcomer to Lucasfilm’s and Disney properties.

Let’s start with Star Wars. Development on this new title is still too early – massive The project is still recruiting upSo the details are few. Julian Gritty, Director Section 2 And the the crew, He will act as the creative director of the game, and will use the title Huge Snowdrop Engine. Furthermore, Lucasfilm Games has not revealed anything about the characters or settings within the Star Wars universe that the game will feature.

The announcement comes on the heels of yesterday’s news that Lucasfilm has partnered with Bethesda to create the Indiana Jones title, Lucasfilm’s first non-Star Wars AAA game in years. The move marks a seismic shift in Lucasfilm’s approach to games, widening the tent for developers who want to create games using Lucasfilm franchises, particularly in the Star Wars universe.

While EA suggested earlier That the company will be enjoying an exclusivity in Star Wars games for 10 years, it looks like either this was a bug or the watch ran out early. (Lucasfilm won’t confirm to WIRED either way.) Regardless, EA will continue making games in the future, but Lucasfilm Games is free to look for other partners.

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“EA has been and will be a very important and strategic partner to us now and in the future,” Sean Shubtao, Senior Vice President of Global Games and Interactive Experiences at Disney told WIRED. “But we feel there is room for others.”

In 2013 Disney laid off 150 LucasArts employees, ending indoor game development. The rationale at the time was that the move would reduce the company’s “risks while achieving a wider range of high-quality Star Wars games,” According to a statement The company has made it to The Hollywood Reporter in time.

However, in the years that followed, an EA exclusive deal Been criticized As an obstacle to this goal. Aside from a few mobile mini-games or virtual reality games, EA’s flagship Star Wars games have been numbering since 2013 It can be counted by hand. By allowing more developers to bring their ideas for games, Lucasfilm hopes to diversify the titles it offers.

“I think if you look at the gaming landscape, you will find that a diverse number of people all over the world are making games,” Shoptaw explains. “For us to take advantage of the amount of quality that exists in the world and speed in marketing, it will be difficult for us to do this internally.”

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Just as with previous EA games, any new Star Wars games will be part of the same Star Wars rule and shared continuity across all movies and TV shows made since the acquisition of Disney. James Waugh, Lucasfilm’s vice president of franchise content and strategy, explains that while this means that games won’t always directly relate to content in other media, the possibility is on the table.

“I think the place where people stumble sometimes is like,” Oh, then she has To call everything else. And that’s not necessarily what we’re always saying, ”Wu told WIRED magazine.“ That would happen if it fits into that story. ”

This new, non-exclusive arrangement of Star Wars games – as well as the rest of Lucasfilm’s library of franchises – leaves the door open for developers to pitch their own story ideas on Lucasfilm Games. “There is no shortage of people knocking on our door and wanting to play with our games,” Douglas Riley, vice president of Lucasfilm Games, told WIRED.

Todd Howard is among this camp. Famous director Skyrim (Among many other games) it is, too enormous Indiana Jones fan. “What inspires Indy in particular is that it’s a passion project of Todd Howard,” Waugh explained. “He came up with a point of view and a story that he truly believes in.”

Of course, those franchises are still, to quote Riley, Lucasfilm Games. “In the end, we have final approval for everything,” said Reilly. While developers – including but not limited to EA – may be free to pitch ideas for their stories to the company, these developers will continue to play within the Disney theater.

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Keeping both players and developers inside this gameplay seems to be the ultimate goal of the newly renamed Lucasfilm Games brand. Increasingly, video games Compete at leisure and entertainment with movies and TV. Disney has a long history of dominating movies and television over consumers’ eyeballs, but it lacks the same level of experience with video games. Tapping into the talent of outside studios could mean that consumers spend far more hours of the day inside the company’s sprawling franchises than they would have if Disney relied on film and television alone.

A single game based on a single story can take dozens of hours. An open-world game, like the kind Ubisoft makes with Lucasfilm Games, can run hundreds of hours depending on how long the player wants to explore. “It really tends to be why we do what we do, because these are huge entertainment experiences that last several hours, much longer than the movie,” Shoptaw explained.

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