Earlier this week Lucasfilm Games was resurrected, immediately sparking speculation around the future of Electronic Arts’ exclusive publishing license for Star Wars games. Just two days later, Lucasfilm Games announced a new partnership with Ubisoft to develop an open-world, story-driven Star Wars game.
Suddenly, millions of Star Wars gamers across the galaxy cried out in joy, the franchise seemingly free from the tyrannical reign of EA. But let’s be honest — going from EA to Ubisoft is not much of an upgrade. It’s like complaining about fruit cake and being offered carrot cake instead. Or having to choose between an oatmeal cookie or a fig newton. Or sidestepping a box of Raisin Bran only to find a box of Wheat Chex.
Sure, Ubisoft is an improvement over EA, but only in the most minuscule way. Ubisoft may not have been mired in micro-transaction controversy like EA. nor have they ever been voted the worst company in America, but they’re still a far cry from the ideal game studio. They do have a complete cookie-cutter approach to every single one of their games and rely on live-service style, quasi-RPG grind-fests.
But far more concerning is the controversy found within the ranks of the company’s leadership. Last year an editorial vice president had to resign due to sexual assault allegations, and the creative director behind Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla was fired after having an extramarital affair with a streamer. Oh, and then there was that time they released a mobile game that not-so-subtly positioned the Black Lives Matter movement as an antagonistic terrorist organization.
So, yeah, Ubisoft really isn’t the savior to the Star Wars license that we should be celebrating — especially when there are so many better, more beloved, and less controversial studios, developers, and publishers who are renowned for creating some of the greatest games of all time. These are the companies that would be better for Star Wars games than Ubisoft.
Bethesda Game Studios
Bethesda is a developer renowned for creating astonishingly immersive, ground-breaking, and awe-inspiring open-world action RPGs. Just look at the incredible slate of games they’ve released in the last decade: Fallout 76, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim — Special Edition, and, of course, who could forget The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
Sure, Bethesda hasn’t reinvented the wheel or really made any changes to the wheel at all, but just imagine the dialogue options, Force shouts, and slow-motion sorta-cinematic kills the studio could implement into a Star Wars game! Will the storyline make any sense or feature characters you’re invested in? Who cares! Look at all there is to explore, to fight, to converse with! Besides, if Bethesda can be counted on for anything, it’s at least delivering a polished, bug-free experience.
Rocksteady Studios is a beloved developer renowned for creating astonishingly immersive, ground-breaking, and awe-inspiring open-world action brawlers like Batman: Arkham Asylum; which revolutionized games by allowing players to live out their Batman fantasies. Batman: Arkham City, which revolutionized games again by allowing players to live out their Batman AND Catwoman fantasies. Batman: Arkham Knight, which again revolutionized games by allowing players to live out their Batman fantasies while also blowing s--t up with a tank. And, last but not least, Batman: Arkham Origins, which revolutionized games one last time by not letting players live out their Batman fantasies and removing everything fun from the game entirely.
Like Ubisoft, Rocksteady Studios knows that the best approach to games is a formulaic approach, but at least we know their formula is fun as hell and they know how to effectively adapt established properties for video games. Just imagine the combo-based/button-mashing combat of the Arkham games but given to a lightsaber-wielding Jedi. Then as soon as you’re done hacking and slashing your way through helpless goons, you hop in your sweet Jedi tank and start blowing everything to bits!!! I’d play that game.
Visceral Games is a beloved developer renowned for creating astonishingly immersive, ground-breaking, and terrifying space adventures like Dead Space, Dead Space 2, Dead Space 3, and Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07. I’ve often argued that Star Wars needs more cosmic horror, and who better to give us a ghastly experience than the team behind Dead Space?
Even if Visceral didn’t take their Star Wars title in a horror direction, their specialization in single-player, story-driven games makes them a perfect fit for Star Wars. Plus, Amy Henning, writer of a little known game series called Uncharted, could helm the project to ensure it meets the cinematic intensity of a Star Wars experience. Just think of the possi——
Oh. Yeah. I forgot. Visceral was making a story-driven Star Wars game with Amy Henning at the helm and, because EA apparently hates money and praise, the game was canceled and the studio closed. My bad, dear reader.
Activision is a beloved publisher renowned for creating astonishingly immersive, ground-breaking, and genre-spanning games like Destiny, Call of Duty, Quake, Soldier of Fortune, and Spongebob Squarepants: The Battle for Bikini Bottom. The best part about an Activision published game is that you absolutely know what you’re getting: one game a year, per franchise, that is probably fun but nearly identical to the previous iteration. And ya know what, I think we all need some consistency and predictability in these uncertain times, so Activision would be perfect for Star Wars.
Why have Star Wars: Battlefront be a re-skinned Battlefield clone when you could get a Star Wars: Battlefront that is a re-skinned Call of Duty clone released yearly with minor upgrades? Or a podracing game that isn’t a re-skinned Need for Speed game, but a re-skinned NASCAR The Game, also released yearly, instead? That’s the exact stable predictability Star Wars games need right now, and I know Activision would deliver.
CD Projekt Red
CD Projekt Red is a beloved developer renowned for creating astonishingly immersive, ground-breaking, and awe-inspiring open-world action RPGs like The Witcher, The Witcher 2, The Witcher 3, and Cyberpunk 2077. Unlike the other selections on this list, I am deadly serious about this one. The Witcher 3 is a truly outstanding achievement in video games, presenting gamers with an unparalleled fantasy RPG experience with engaging conversations, challenging and intricate combat systems, and a sprawling narrative. On top of the hundreds of hours of gameplay in the base game, CD Projekt Red supported the game post-launch with two critically acclaimed and budget-friendly expansion packs bursting with content.
As one of the most universally beloved developers in the world celebrated for their consumer-first practices, I couldn’t think of a better studio to give us a game set in a galaxy far, far away. Ever since Disney acquired the Star Wars rights in 2014, gamers have yet to get a truly next-gen Star Wars experience — one that takes advantage of modern console’s abilities to support living, breathing worlds bustling with opportunity, conflict, and adventure. Just as they adapted the world of The Witcher novels into jaw-dropping gaming experiences, CD Projekt Red could take the exact same approach to Star Wars and give gamers a fresh, stand-alone Star Wars experience with hundreds of hours of content.
At the end of the day, Ubisoft really isn’t that bad. I just hope I showed you that there are better, less controversial, and more dependable options for the Star Wars license.
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