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Daily Reaction: Star Wars Ep 7 and the Future of LucasArts

October 30, 2012 Written by Dan Oravasaari

With the recent announcement that Disney has bought out LucasFilm, and is now starting the process to make another installment into Star Wars universe with Episode 7, the Daily Reaction crew of Dan and Seb discuss the future of LucasArts, and the Star Wars brand.

Dan: Being a big fan of the original Star Wars movies, it’s hard to know how to feel with the news of the Disney now owning Lucas Film and the rights to the Star Wars IP. Yet, given how the last 3 movies were handled a new owner could actually be the blessing fans needed for the film series to not be systematically ruined by George Lucas himself. Although, the biggest issue is that the new owners are Disney, and Lucas himself is now a significant shareholder in Disney also. So while this could be great news in the realm of possibilities, the reality seems to lean more that we might just see the Star Wars world tailspin out of control even faster.

As both Disney and Lucas have a tendency to market and license their properties to the point where the branding will require it’s own garbage dump, we will be guaranteed to see Star Wars everywhere. For fans and loyalists, this could be a good thing as it has been a few years since we have seen a major Star Wars push, and with the issues LucasArts have been having trying to get a proper Star Wars game to be successful in recent years, a new movie could be a great way to regain the mindshare of the public.

Seb: Ugh, I remember when Star Wars used to be good. Sure, it was always a cash cow, but at least the source material was great. Now it’s rubbish and it’s milked with stuff like Angry Birds Star Wars.

To be fair, however, Disney bought Marvel (they’re really taking over) and they haven’t completely screwed that up. Maybe taking this as far away from Lucas as possible is the best thing they can do, even if he will have some involvement like you said.

But my deeper concern is for the games developers that now take their paychecks from Walt Disney and not George Lucas. Disney isn’t interested in console games, just casual mobile stuff. They had their fingers burned with console titles before, ending up with them firing over 140 people in Brighton and shutting down the great guys at Black Rock Studios. They also shut down Propaganda Games, canceling Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned Action and Turok 2. Meanwhile they’ve bought a lot of casual developers like Tapulous, which works on the Tap Tap series.

That’s not what I want to happen to LucasArts.

Dan:  The question that will really need to be answered will be, just who will be the target audience for this next installment of the Star Wars franchise? This question alone will set the pace for how Disney handles the license across the board, as the tone and feel of the movie will ultimately direct any games or toys released alongside it. The fact that actually gives me a new hope, is that Lucas has said that he is handing Star Wars to a new generation of filmmakers. Hopefully this new blood, who probably have grown up with the original trilogy, will understand the needed direction and become the return of the Jedi we all need, and not another menace.

As far as the Disney empire’s ability to handle games, there is a chance for them to strike back, and regain a footing next gen. As Disney will now also owns LucasArts, they have the ability to push out quality titles from a seasoned development studio, and hopefully they see that and stay out of their way. Even still, much like BioWare’s lost investment on The Old Republic, Star Wars is simply not the giant it used to be, and if Disney doesn’t play their cards right it could turn off a whole new set of fans.

Seb: As much as I’d like to say that I find your lack of faith disturbing, I’ve got a very bad feeling about this. We can hope that someone at Disney suggests a new strategy, but at the moment Disney sees the console market as a piece of junk. They plan to stay on target.

Essentially, if one of LucasArts’ console games underperforms, you can bet your Blue Snaggletooth that that studio will be closed or reassigned to casual pastures. And when that happens, I think millions of voices will suddenly cry out in terror.

Of course, I could be wrong. Someone at Disney could realize how successful LucasArts could be on consoles. 1313 looks promising, a new Battlefront would be incredible, and when Naughty Dog stops making Uncharted, an Indiana Jones game would be perfect to fill that gap.

But this is a boring conversation anyway. Dan, we’re going to have company!

How do you feel Disney will handle the Star Wars brand? Are you looking forward to another entry in the movie franchise? Do you think this will have any effect on 1313? Let us know below, by email, or by sending your best slave Leia cosplay pics to Dan, and your Jabba the Hut pics to Seb.