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Lucasfilm’s Star Wars deal with Electronic Arts isn’t what it once was, but it is not totally fizzling out. Battlefield developer DICE will not make a new Star Wars: Battlefront game — according to people familiar with the announcement — but Respawn’s Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order sequel will come out of the current situation a survivor. In fact, EA is moving all Star Wars games over to the Apex Legends studio.
EA announced today that Respawn is working on three Star Wars games. This includes the Jedi: Fallen Order sequel and a new Star Wars first-person shooter from the Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond team. Respawn is also partnering with Bit Reactor on a turn-based tactics game set in the galaxy far, far away. Vince Zampella, group GM and founder of Respawn, will oversee all of these new Star Wars projects.
Bit Reactor is a new Maryland-based studio that includes a number of Firaxis veterans. Cofounder Greg Foertsch, for example, worked on XCOM: Enemy Unknown and XCOM 2. And the studio has already announced that it wants to innovate in the turn-based tactics genre.
But beyond the Bit Reactor game, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order’s sequel, and the FPS project, EA is done with Star Wars. DICE, which is still putting out fires with Battlefield 2042, is focusing on the Battlefield franchise going forward. And EA is looking to once again emphasize its own properties. The publisher owns beloved franchises like Dead Space, Dragon Age, and Mass Effect, and it is working on sequels for each of those.
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By reducing its licensing fees and centering its own IP, EA is mitigating some of the risk involved in producing blockbuster, triple-A video games. Even that level of risk has recently scared the company, but the success of Jedi: Fallen Order and games like Resident Evil 2 Remake at competitor Capcom have changed EA’s perception of what can succeed.
For Respawn, this means the studio is juggling more responsibilities than ever. And its Star Wars projects are in addition to the ongoing development of Apex Legends and the prototype stylish, mobility-heavy first-person shooter that I reported on earlier this month.
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