EA: We Won’t Make Star Wars Movie Games
Here’s what we know for sure: Star Wars Battlefront is in development at DICE.
In its deal with Disney, Electronic Arts will be the exclusive publisher of Star Wars games for the next decade, so at the very least EA is off to a good start by making a Star Wars game fans of the franchise actually want to play.
At the UBS Global Technology Conference on Tuesday, we learned something else: EA won’t be making Star Wars movie tie-in games. In fact, it’s something EA told Disney it didn’t want to do. Here’s the full statement from EA CFO Blake Jorgensen (courtesy of transcript by Seeking Alpha):
Eric J. Sheridan – UBS Securities LLC: One last topic we wanted to talk about was the next Star Wars game, the franchise that will come through the licensing deal with Disney; if you could help us understand how that came about, sort of what are the challenges and opportunities of developing that kind of game alongside of, obviously, an enormous movie title that will no doubt do big business?
Blake J. Jorgensen - EA CFO: Yes, so I mean we’ve done movie games over the years and we wanted to make sure that we weren’t doing a movie game i.e., game based on the movie. The beauty of the Star Wars franchise is that it’s so broad and so deep, you don’t have to do a movie game, you can do a game that’s very focused on the world that’s been created around Star Wars.
We had a long relationship obviously with Lucas on the original Star Wars and when Disney took over Lucas, they really wanted to maintain a video game business around Star Wars. They felt it was very valuable and a lot of people loved the games historically. And so they came to us because of our partnership and they knew that we could help them develop really great games and we struck what we believe is a fantastic deal which allows us to be able to build games in many different genres across multiple types of platforms over 10 years. We’ll leverage the strength of the Disney marketing associated with the Star Wars properties both in movies and other things that they may do over the time frame. We’ll try to align those with that marketing, power the Disney has so it will get aligned with timing around the movies, but it won’t necessarily be aligned with the movie.
We’ve shown a trailer for one of the possible games that we’re going to make Battlefront and it’s got a lot of people very excited because it’s a very popular game from before. We have the team in DICE, building some early stages of various games and building them in Frostbite, so it will be a very exciting game play and you’ll hear more about it in the years to come, but we’re very excited about the opportunity.
Eric J. Sheridan – UBS Securities LLC: So you have a fair bit of flexibility to create content around the universe in general that J.J. Abrams and his team is going to build up with the Lucasfilm’s franchise. It’s not totally tied in just to the movies.
Blake J. Jorgensen - EA CFO: Yes, definitely very much – so, very much around the historical types of games, plus new games that we’re inventing around their content, around the broad Star Wars content, and around some of the new assets that they may produce over time as well.
Of note: Jorgensen’s comments on trying to at least market the games alongside the new movies jives with his previous statement that Star Wars Battlefront would be released when the first flick hits theaters in summer 2015.
EA seems to love to give gamers reason to shake our collective fist, but at least early on in its relationship with Disney, it’s making the right moves with Star Wars. That’s something we haven’t been able to say about the Star Wars gaming universe in a looong time.
Also, Mr. Jorgensen, if you could please get going on a Star Wars: X-Wing remake, complete with Oculus Rift virtual reality support, you’d make at least one Star Wars fan and gamer extremely happy.