For Star Wars fans, yesterday’s EA press conference at E3 might’ve seemed like a bit of a bust, at least, for the immediate future. The good news – and it certainly will please many – is that the publisher confirmed quite a strong commitment to develop all kinds of games set in the Star Wars universe. The disappointment came when they didn’t really show off much of anything which hadn’t already been previously announced.
The biggest reveal, and undoubtedly, the most exciting, was an all-too-brief look (seconds, really) of Amy Hennig’s new as-yet unnamed title with Visceral. That was probably the best play EA could have had on that front; the game is not scheduled for release until 2018, but it’s been so anticipated that it was a wise decision than to give fans the tiniest peek at what it actually is. Space Drake in a duster? Sign me up.
The rest of their Star Wars plans felt a little premature. Most of the news came from what amounted to a Star Wars reel trailer, which covered existing games like The Old Republic and the mobile Galaxy of Heroes as much as it did new projects. Also mentioned: former Assassin’s Creed producer Jade Raymond’s new studio, Motive, is helping out on development with DICE’s Battlefront sequel; Titanfall’s Respawn is working on a new third-person game, though the only tease given was some motion-capture footage.
More important is what wasn’t said, or merely teased. Criterion, of Burnout fame, is also working on something – at EA’s briefing it was mentioned that they were developing a Battlefront mission.
The reel trailer did feature a few seconds of footage of a developer using a PSVR headset, showing what looked like an X-Wing cockpit. It’s been speculated that revival of Lucasarts’ classic X-Wing is in development, though judging from the reel it looks like the rebel ship appears to be the focus of Criterion’s project. Either way, Sony’s March announcement that Battlefront was bound for PSVR didn’t specify in what form, or if it would be in full form.
In EA’s defense, without a slate of Star Wars updates the publisher would face criticism, so what was shown off this year felt like a bit of a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation.
In leaning on existing games, DLC and already-known projects like a second Battlefront, it doesn’t seem like EA had a whole lot to say, even if they took the right tack by approaching it as an experience for every Star Wars fan with a focus on the continued relationship with Lucasfilm itself. (You might still argue that in some sense the main thrust of a releasing a reel trailer was mostly to give Hennig’s game a first look).
In any case, last month EA said they planned on released on Star Wars game a year for the next four years, so more developments can’t be far behind.