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All Star Wars games are no longer canon… uh oh

In a recent blog post, reported by CVG, LucasFilm has announced that all Star Wars video games and expanded universe media is non-canon. Just like that. This basically means all video games set in the Star Wars world--despite their license--are not part of the official Star Wars story. Apparently, only the six films and the Clone Wars TV show are properly ‘canon’. However, LucasFilm has also decreed that all Star Wars spin-offs in the future will be more closely tied to the core films. Hmmm…

 

What does this mean for gaming? Several things, actually. It’s not unusual for Lucas to tinker with what is and isn’t considered ‘official Star Wars lore’. In fact, the company can’t leave this damn franchise alone--as the remastered versions of episodes 4-6 attest. It seems strange that even close tie-ins are no longer considered part of the story, especially as games like Force Unleashed present smart--and fan-pleasing--theories on heavily debated aspects of the lore.

There’s something a little sad about LucasFilm humourlessly dismissing all the sly winks and nods to the core films. Especially so, when games like Knights of the Old Republic 1+2 do such a great job of creating compelling stories within the Star Wars universe, while also being very careful not to rely on endless, crowd-pleasing references to the original trilogy. In my personal opinion, I’d rather axe the dreadful prequel films from the Star Wars canon, and leave a handful of great Star Wars games--like KOTOR--firmly in there. But then again, I’m not George Lucas or any of his minions. Or am I? No, I’m not.

Being banished from the official canon certainly doesn’t detract from the content of any game, but it does lessen the importance of any story beats, and the feeling that you’re part of the Star Wars experience. It’s like a mean, older child telling you that you can’t play ‘battle of Hoth’ with the other kids, even though you brought your Tauntaun costume.

However, the good news in all of this is… well, it might not actually be good news. LucasFilm has set up a ‘story group’ that will oversee EVERY future expanded universe product, to make sure it fits in with the Star Wars canon. This means that titles in development--like the new Battlefront, being made by DICE--will have to comply with LucasFilm’s current vision for the franchise. Sure, it’s great that each new game will have the official seal of approval, adding to authenticity, but this also relies on Lucas’ current vision aligning with the stuff great games are made of.

Video games and films have a famously troubled relationship. When it comes to movies becoming games, the most common reason for failure is a lack of artistic license. Developers need creative freedom to turn even the most explosive, exciting material into a decent game. Sticking too rigidly to film structure or studio demands leads to hogwash like Enter The Matrix or Iron Man: The Game. My worry is that LucasFilm will ask for too much control, and will suffocate future gaming iterations of Star Wars like a Force ChokeTM.

Then there’s the issue of whether or not we actually want games based on Lucas’ current SW vision. Sure, episodes 4-6 are quite-rightly cherished films and we all love to be part of them. But episodes 1-3…? Not so good. And the fact that Lucas retconned several aspects of 4-6 to justify some of the stuff in 1-3? Yeah, leaves a sour taste, right? Doesn’t fill me with confidence for the quality and faithfulness of the forthcoming episodes 7-9. And it’s these films--this story--that will be the focus of the ‘story group’ as they seek to influence and control all Star Wars media from this point onwards.

So, mixed feelings about the future of Star Wars games. It’s great that the wider universe will become more focused, as some tie-ins (Super Bombad Racing--I’m staring at you with intent) are ludicrously far-fetched: but a delicate balance is desperately needed. Too much heavy-handed license enforcing will stifle future Star Wars games, and--unfortunately--LucasFilm’s recent track-record with the franchise isn’t a tale of great subtlety or restraint.

50 comments

  • ryan707 - May 13, 2014 4:48 p.m.

    How can you ever justify getting rid of Darth Revan and the KOTOR series? This is ridiculous.
  • james3248 - May 9, 2014 4:24 a.m.

    In my eyes there are three star wars films and then 3 totally unrelated films which happen to have the same name
  • Doctor_Pancakes - May 5, 2014 12:06 p.m.

    No longer? They never were.
  • Eightboll812 - April 30, 2014 8:48 p.m.

    I do get the point of the article, but there's a greater part of me that just doesn't care that the douche that brought us Jar Jar Binks "officially" approves or doesn't approve of certain bits of the expanded story. There are many games or books that I have really enjoyed, and them not being officially included in canon doesn't change my enjoyment. I've really enjoyed the Timothy Zahn books. Really well written and I'm sure they will be in conflict with episodes 7-9. And I'm pretty sure, I'll look back after 7-9 are done and I'll still consider some of the Zahn stories as better than the swill that Disney will come up with. And it really won't bother me that the better material is considered non-canon. Because at the end of the day, it's all made up anyway. It would almost be like getting upset that my local D&D gaming session (to clarify, I don't actually play D&D) came into conflict with one of the Forgotten Realms books. Treating it like you are arguing over real history, is just going to lead to pointless frustration. Someone below said something about alternate universe. There's not even one universe to be an alternate from. None of it is "real". So just enjoy good stories or good games. Just because they both have Jedi's and the force doesn't mean you have to try to mesh them together any more than you would mesh Middle Earth with other fantasy books that have Dwarves, Elves, and magic. Lucas and Disney are just trying to have their cake and eat it too. And it does make me rethink how much more I will feed the beast with my money in the future, but it doesn't make me upset that something is being thrown out of the canon. In other words, what comes clear is that all these years they haven't known what they heck they were doing, and that just makes it less relevant than it used to seem.
  • lvl1201 - April 30, 2014 5:01 p.m.

    This management decision paired with ea making games. The future looks gloom. http://www.gamesradar.com/eas-star-wars-game-better-learn-right-lessons-batman/#c685344
  • FlyWire2 - April 30, 2014 2:09 p.m.

    Actually they only removed post-RotJ content out of canon, so KoTOR is safe, so is the 501st's story in BF and so on..
  • Doctalen - May 1, 2014 6:56 a.m.

    Link to that? I was never a fan of the post ROTJ EU but I do enjoy the pre-civil war EU a bit.
  • FlyWire2 - May 1, 2014 9:11 a.m.

    I have been researching better. Actually is that pre-RotJ EU content has been made a half-way-there thing called Star Wars 'Legends'. While not totally canon, they still can be used somehow.
  • Trollkitten - April 30, 2014 1:29 p.m.

    What I actually DO care about is how badly Lucasfilm and Disney are going to "get it" in the fallout of this easily hateable decision...
  • Trollkitten - April 30, 2014 1:26 p.m.

    Personally, I don't care what they call canon or not; I'll just think of it as an "alternate universe" like I've been doing for ages ever since I became a Sonic the Hedgehog fan (which also works well for Pokemon).
  • ObliqueZombie - April 30, 2014 12:27 p.m.

    200+ books and dozens of video games called. They said, "Fuck you, we're canon." Just because the All Mighty Lucas swipes his pen and decrees decades of world building "non-canon" doesn't mean it will be.
  • martin-stoddmeister - April 30, 2014 12:04 a.m.

    Yep, clearly the new films will have major differences to the EU, hence all future events are not canon. Not sure why they have to take KOTOR out though. And couldn't JJ just add some time travel macguffin like he did with Star Trek so it still had relevance...!
  • DoctorGordonFreeman - April 29, 2014 9:38 p.m.

    I thought the big announcement was that all future games WILL be canon. LucasFilm has already said before that the six films are the only thing considered G-Canon. This announcement just added clone wars to official canon and announcement that future books, games, etc. will be canon. So I don't know why it's such a shock that these games aren't canon...that was already established.
  • FlorenceBaby - April 29, 2014 7:13 p.m.

    -waves wallet in front of Disney's face- Look, Disney, money you're never going to see now :D
  • Trollkitten - April 30, 2014 1:30 p.m.

    So? They already have most of it.
  • NinjaPopsicle - April 29, 2014 4:02 p.m.

    It's good in a way because going forward, everything should now tie together properly without creating any major conflicts about what is "correct" and what isn't. Alternatively, it's bad because it in a way invalidates many stories and characters that were properly developed to mesh well with the original canon. Even worse, it could potentially stifle some creativity when it comes to future games that don't directly tie into the movies/shows. Granted, many EU elements could be re-introduced in new works, but this could go either way as well, as they can now be altered or changed completely for the better, or worse. My own personal conspiracy theory: The new movie(s) story contains something that drastically contradicts much of the known, established and accepted post-RotJ EU lore, so the company decided it would probably be easier to just wipe the slate clean canonically and let people get over it, rather than deal with legions of fans endlessly debating the contradictions throughout media and/or bringing it up at cons and such for all eternity.
  • Frieza - April 29, 2014 3:55 p.m.

    For the most part, I don't really care. It's sad to see some of the games lose their presence in the Star Wars canon, but I've always turned away from the EU as a whole because I found it too obscure for me to get invested in. It made Star Wars feel more like a space fantasy than a space western, and had so much convoluted crap that left a bad taste in my mouth. Do we really need to know what happened 10,000 years before and after the Battle of Yavin? Do we really need a detailed backstory on extras that only had mere SECONDS of screentime in one movie? I've tried to read some of the more obscure EU stuff, and I always left feeling what I just experienced didn't look or feel like Star Wars should. I can understand why a lot of people are upset about this, since many fans hold the EU close to their hearts. I won't deny that there are many stories in the EU that are entertaining and well thought out. I won't deny that there are things about the EU that are pretty cool. But at the end of the day, I'm not going to miss the nearly endless amount of Star Wars backstory the EU provided.
  • PhantomPineapple - April 29, 2014 5:53 p.m.

    Star Wars isn't a space western. Tatooine is about as western as it gets. What's so bad about a space fantasy?
  • mason-hall - April 29, 2014 3:53 p.m.

    I just thought of something...the events of atleast the first KOTOR have to be canon Darth Bane is in the Clone Wars season 6 and so is canon, Bane created the Rule of Two and he based his philosophy on the beliefs of none other than Darth Revan himself! KOTOR 1 is still canon by that logic!
  • bigwill1221 - April 29, 2014 2:30 p.m.

    Wonder about some books >.>

Showing 1-20 of 50 comments

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