EA is looking for inspiration on what to do with the Star Wars in all the right places. The publisher recently signed a deal with Disney that will give them exclusive rights to the popular franchise, and it has Warner Bros. and the Batman: Arkham series to guide the way.
Batman: Arkham Asylum put the Dark Knight in his own class of video game once a talented studio was given the reigns, and Batman: Arkham City further evolved its brilliant ideas into a fully realized open-world game. EA CEO Andrew Wilson, in an interview with CNN Fortune, also gives credit to the series’ success because it established itself beyond the franchise’s traditional mediums of comics and film, something that can stand on its own quality.
“What Warner Bros. did with Batman was take the core roots of that IP and manifest that inside the walls of Gotham City and delivered an interactive experience that had real ties to what you would see in the films and what you had read in the comics, while having its own life because it could provide such deep and more immersive storylines.
When we look at the Star Wars properties that’s how we’re looking at it. We’re not trying to build a game that replicates the storyline of any particular film.”
And I agree. Batman: Arkham has been just like any other excellent spin-off or side series seen in the comics, free from the restrictions of a set storyline and only following the guidelines of well known lore. The Star Wars universe is far more expansive than the Batman canon, and while it is necessary to cram in familiar faces to sell copies, so much more can be done with the source material than what the films allow.
BioWare, currently under the wing of EA, already managed that with Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, a game with storytelling far beyond what the prequel trilogy was able to achieve. It definitely stands on its own without the films’ aid. Some might even argue that the Jedi Knight game series, Rogue Squadron series, and TIE Fighter series have also been able to stand the test of time as great games beyond the scope of the films.
The potential is evidently there for this to happen. When Star Wars leans on its films, the games turn out to be flat out disappointments like Star Wars: Bounty Hunter. With just a little bit of imagination beyond the safety of the movies, Star Wars: Republic Commando for example, fans react with much wider open arms.
EA can definitely do this, but it must also not fall into Batman: Arkham Origins‘ trap. If you find a truly talented studio like Rocksteady, leave it in their hands to get it done. Don’t pass it off for a substandard release just to see it annualized, please.
And somebody please get in contact with Telltale Games! I don’t care about Game of Thrones. Where are my Star Wars point-and-click adventures!?