It’s no secret that Star Wars is a huge brand, and its popularity has far from waned. It only makes sense that the video game industry, particularly Electronic Arts who holds the rights to make Star Wars games, would want to capitalize on this. The problem is, Electronic Arts hasn’t had an overwhelming amount of success on this front. By no means have they exclusively produced bad games, but the fact that they are the only company allowed to make these games is a bit of a hindrance on Star Wars games in general. With the Battlefront series, the publisher looked into gaming’s past to try to create great new experiences that would benefit from the franchise’s legacy. While that didn’t exactly pan out, the strategy isn’t a bad one, and EA should continue to dig through the Star Wars games of yesteryear.
Part of the reason Star Wars has inspired so many good games is likely a result of so many developers having permission to create games in that universe. Similarly, the expanded universe from novels, which has no been stricken from canon, was so beloved because so many creators had a chance to add to the body of Star Wars experiences. When so many creators are producing games, and the Star Wars name is a big force in selling a game, a lot of unconventional approaches could lead to gold. That said, there were still plenty of bad games. It’s all a matter of numbers.
To an extent, EA is already embracing this approach. Their upcoming title, Star Wars: Squadrons harkens back to the very popular Rogue Squadron series. It’s also a bold move because there aren’t many games in this genre on the last two generations of consoles. It’s this kind of spirit that leaves me somewhat optimistic, even if I’d still prefer the rights to be open to more companies. In the meanwhile, EA should look at a few other amazing titles that they might be able to revitalize. At the very least, they should look to them for inspiration.
Fans have long clamored for a continuation of the Star Wars Jedi Knight series, and the fact that Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy was rereleased seems to indicate that folks in the industry are aware of this. People were endeared to the characters and story, but the canon of those games were also destroyed with the ruling about the extended universe. Meanwhile, EA’s game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is considered canon. Since EA has the ability to release games into the canon, this might be their preference. That said, this could be a good opportunity to canonize some of those old stories that are now considered “legends,” even if it meant some rewrites were in order. If EA could get the go ahead to do this, I would imagine it would play out well for them.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed was another game formerly considered canonical that could be ripe for a re-telling. The first game was an amazing experience that told the story of Darth Vader’s apprentice and filled in some of the gaps between the prequels and the original films. It also helped depict an interesting beginning to the Rebel Alliance. Its protagonist, Starkiller, was being considered to be a character in the well-received canonical show Star Wars Rebels. Maybe this means he’s a very eligible candidate for a spot in current canon.
There are far more examples like this. There are stories that could be reinserted into the Star Wars universe. There are fan favorite games that could be reproduced in good faith. EA releases Star Wars games at such a slow place and that can be a bit frustrating. Just take old blueprints, EA. We won’t judge.