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Today we were hit with the unfortunate news that Disney is closing LucasArts, which is always sad to see since people are losing their jobs and even more so with this company being over 20 years old. However, let’s look on the bright side of things. There will still be Star Wars games; Disney is switching to licensing Star Wars rather than internally creating the games, which does make sense. From a gamer perspective, we could be getting more Star Wars games and done by better developers. Nothing has been announced yet, but lets go through a wishlist of some developer/Star Wars pairings that makes sense and suits their strength.
Game: Star Wars 1313
New Developer: Rockstar Games
A dark, gritty third person shooter that’s character focused with some possible open world elements? I think I know a developer that might be good at that. We've only seen a tiny bit of the game, but what we did see looked awesome. The concept of playing bounty hunters in this universe and it not being beholden directly to the movie canon is very exciting.
At the moment, the game is cancelled, but its interesting concept should stay alive. There’s no doubt that Rockstar can handle story, characters, and dialogue, but how about the gameplay? Max Payne 3 played a bit weird with the mixture of a cover system and bullet time, but looking at the leap they made in gameplay between the last gen Grand Theft Auto games to Red Dead and Max Payne, I’d have no doubt they couldn't handle more traditional third person cover based shooting with Uncharted climbing and possible vehicle moments.
Game: Star Wars: The Forced Unleashed (a spin-off spiritual successor)
New Developer: Ninja Theory
The first two games in this series were just okay. They had a ton of potential since playing as anyone with a lightsaber and force powers is inherently badass, but they dropped the ball in many areas, especially the second installment. Between Heavenly Sword, Enslaved, and the newest DmC game, Ninja Theory has proven they can develop characters, story, and have fun/interesting melee combat.
Okay, those first two games aren't without fault and show some growing pains, but DmC Devil May Cry perfectly had the right mixture of “easy to grasp, hard to master” gameplay that a good hack-n-slash game needs. The first two games in this series felt a bit hollow and heartless, Ninja Theory can handle humor, being dark, relationships between characters, and create interesting cutscenes.
Game: Star Wars: Republic Commando (a sequel or remake/reboot)
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Surely, I am not the only person in the world that played this game and would love another one, right? For those of us who did play it, picking the same developer who made the better Rainbow Six games isn't very surprising. The game was often described as “Rainbow Six with Stormtroopers”, which isn't an insult at all coming from me. Gaming nowadays needs more variants on shooters, how many times can we play a military FPS with us single-handedly saving the world from terrorists each time?
A squad shooter with some tactics set in the lush Star Wars universe sounds good to me. Sadly, squad based shooters have almost disappeared in our now Call of Duty and Battlefield world. Rainbow Six is MIA, while Ghost Recon and Brothers in Arms have mutated into something else. Considering this team also worked on Far Cry 3 and past Assassin's Creed games, creating a unique and interesting world in the Star Wars universe is very doable for them.
Game: New IP set in the new trilogy universe
Disney is going to want attention not just on past Star Wars events, or spinoffs, but also the upcoming movies. Disney cancelling the fan favorite cartoon for something most likely centered on the upcoming movies also gives reason to think this. It also makes sense to have video game tie-ins with the new movies, even if they’re not directly tied together. Some people are a bit iffy on BioWare these days, but Mass Effect 3 is still a great game, let’s just pretend those last ten minutes didn't happen. The Star Wars MMO was simply a bad idea from the start.
I have heard a crazy rumor that EA likes to make money and partnering with Disney on one of the biggest movie franchises ever and giving it to your developer who’s made Star Wars games in the past is simply a smart move. From the gaming side of things, I would be happy to see it, since Mass Effect is obviously similar and I still look at the series as a big positive. There’s a few uncertain aspects like how would they handle possibly melee heavy combat, but the talent at BioWare could most likely handle it. EA, I'm sure you're looking for a safe bet right now, so get going on this!