Disney is breathing life back into the old Lucasfilm Games studio, as a grand total of seven job listings, ranging from Producer to Brand Marketing Manager, have been found on Disney’s careers website (opens in new tab). This is where it gets a bit complicated: in 1990 Lucasfilm Games was renamed LucasArts, which was shut down in 2013. Disney fired a chunk of its staff (opens in new tab) after they decided to “shift LucasArts from an internal development to a licensing model, minimizing the company's risk while achieving a broader portfolio of quality Star Wars games”, according to an official statement you can find here (opens in new tab). This was the beginning of EA taking over developing games for the Star Wars franchise, but it looks like six years later Disney is resurrecting the dead studio under its old name: Lucasfilm Games.
Phew. Still here? Good. Now let’s get down to the interesting stuff and what it might mean for the EA/Disney relationship. Some believe that the relationship between Disney and EA is troubled to say the least, with a report by Kotaku cited anonymous sources (opens in new tab) saying that “the scuttlebutt among those who work or have worked at EA is that CEO Andrew Wilson was never entirely thrilled with the Star Wars deal”. Wilson has been vocal about wanting EA to develop its own intellectual properties, as it sounds like he and his team have run into difficulties creating Star Wars games: according to an anonymous ex-Visceral employee (opens in new tab), working on a Star Wars games means that “you could be talking months - potentially years… Oh, would [Visceral’s cancelled Ragtag game protagonist] Dodger really look like this? What would his weapon look like? Potentially years of that [...] With Star Wars you have to have that back and forth… People think, ‘Oh it must be so cool to work on Star Wars.’ It actually kind of sucks”.
In light of those quotes perhaps EA is looking to break off its relationship with Disney when it comes to Star Wars… but the feeling could be mutual. A report from Cinelinx (opens in new tab) cites sources who say that Disney and EA met to try and figure out why Star Wars games were being received so poorly, while also reaching out to Activision and Ubisoft about whether they would want to take over the Star Wars licence. If that sounds a bit abrupt to you, apparently it has legal precedent as Cinelinx wrote that (opens in new tab) “supposedly there's an addendum of some kind within the contract that would allow Disney to pull the license, or shop it around, if certain standards/conditions weren't being met”.
So these Lucasfilm Games listings might be the first step in Disney taking over game development of the Star Wars franchise themselves - although at this point I should highlight that the Star Wars franchise isn’t specifically mentioned in any of the job descriptions. However, all the major consoles are part of the specifications for three of the jobs, so whatever Disney has planned for Lucasfilm Games might be coming out on console. Perhaps with the EA/Disney relationship apparently in jeopardy according to the sources cited above, Disney might be moving to take back the Star Wars gaming franchise and develop it on their own terms, cutting out the bureaucracy that’s reportedly holding back EA. We’ll just have to wait and see… but what do you think? Let us know in the poll below!
If this has got you hankering for a Star Wars gaming binge, here’s the best Star Wars games (opens in new tab) to play right now, or watch the video below to see the games you should keep an eye out for in 2019!