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Taft Midway Driller

Columns share an author’s personal perspective.

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The Star Wars universe is about to open up in a massive way in the video game industry.

In 2012, after Disney bought Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion, the Mouse House shut down LucasArts, the video game division of Lucasfilm. Just a year later, Disney announced it had signed a 10-year exclusivity deal with Electronic Arts to make Star Wars games for consoles and PC.

StarWars.com announced Jan. 11 that all future Star Wars titles would be released under the Lucasfilm Games brand, which actually was the original name of LucasArts until the early 1990s. But it didn’t explain what that really meant.

Would EA retain the exclusive license to create Star Wars games beyond the initial 10-year deal? Would Lucasfilm Gaming open up the license to allow more developers a chance to create games based on Star Wars and Lucasfilm’s other properties?

Luckily, we didn’t have to wait long to find out.

On Jan. 12, Bethesda Softworks announced that it has partnered with Lucasfilm Games to create a brand-new Indiana Jones adventure. The game is being developed by MachineGames, the creator of the recent Wolfenstein reboots, so it has plenty of experience with heroes taking out Nazis.

Based on the incredibly short announcement trailer, it appears the game could be partly set in Vatican City and take place in 1937, the year after the events of “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

Then on Jan. 13, Lucasfilm Games announced that it was partnering with Ubisoft to create a new story-driven, open world Star Wars game that is being developed by Massive Entertainment, the studio behind Ubisoft’s Division franchise.

“We’re looking to work with best-in-class teams that can make great games across all of our IP,” Lucasfilm Games VP Douglas Reilly said in an interview with StarWars.com. “We’ve got a team of professionals here at Lucasfilm Games who can work with the developers, shape the stories, shape the creative, shape the games, to make them really resonate with fans and deliver across a breadth of platforms, genres, and experiences so that all of our fans can enjoy the IPs that they know and love.”

In the eight years that EA has had the exclusive license to create Star Wars games, it has released only four titles, and there have been some major disappointments and successes in that time.

“Star Wars Battlefront” was released in 2015 and was heavily criticized for a lack of content, although it was praised for capturing the look and feel of Star Wars; “Star Wars Battlefront 2” was released in 2017 and suffered massive blowback for its egregious use of loot boxes, which encouraged people to spend real money to receive random benefits; “Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order” was released in 2019 to pretty much universal acclaim; and “Star Wars Squadrons” came out last year as a smaller budget title that only appeals to fans who love flying and space battles (and it’s a game I love, but recognize it’s not for everyone).

Through multiple updates, EA was able to turn “Battlefront 2” into a truly great Star Wars experience, and its last two games have been wonderful. So I was glad to see in Reilly’s interview with StarWars.com that EA is going to continue making Star Wars games.

“We’re really proud of the games we have created with EA,” Reilly said. “We will continue working with them and our relationship has never been stronger. While we may not have a lot of details to share at the moment, we’ve got a number of projects underway with the talented teams at EA.”

It’s already been confirmed that the team at Respawn Entertainment is making some kind of sequel to “Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.” I really hope that the team at DICE is given an opportunity to learn from its mistakes and successes with the first two Battlefront games and finally gives the fans the long elusive “Star Wars Battlefront 3” (The Star Wars Battlefront series started in 2004 for the original Xbox and PlayStation 2, a sequel followed in 2005 and a third game was in development for the PS3 and Xbox 360 before being canceled by LucasArts. The series was rebooted when EA secured the license).

Dusty Ricketts is the editor of The Destin Log and The Walton Sun newspapers and can be reached at dricketts@thedestinlog.com.

This article originally appeared on Taft Midway Driller: Play Life, Live Games column: Lucasfilm Games opens up Star Wars universe