Star Wars in gaming has had a bit of a rough history, encompassing both some of the most beloved games and worst flops we’ve ever seen. Due in part to the renewed recent popularity Star Wars is seeing under Disney, along with a few recent video game successes, all Star Wars games will now fall under the newly formed Lucasfilm Games banner.
Announced today on StarWars.com, the Lucasfilm Games banner isn’t a publisher or even a development studio, but rather a unifying brand header and licensor that houses all officially licensed Star Wars games. Speculation at the time is saying that Disney is preparing for 2023, when EA’s 10-year contract exclusivity for Star Wars games will end. At that time, it’s expected that Disney will begin licensing out the Star Wars brand to various publishers and developers.
“[Luscasfilm is] a name that encompasses the company’s rich catalog of video games and its eye toward the future,” the announcement says. It seems to be a similar tactic Disney is using for Marvel, using the Marvel Games header and branding to unify all Marvel titles no matter which developer or publisher they are being made under. They released a short sizzle reel of past Star Wars projects, with an eye towards the future.
Back in 2013, EA first landed a 10-year contract for all Star Wars games, but the publisher ended up with a lot of false starts, cancellations, and failed to fully make use of the license until more recently, with lauded releases like Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and Star Wars Squadrons. Though it’s unknown what exactly the formation of Lucasfilm Games means for EA’s ability to develop new Star Wars games, many expect Disney to open up the brand’s licensing to other studios in order to broaden the interactive Star Wars portfolio. While EA may lose its Star Wars exclusivity, games like Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order almost ensure the publisher will still be able to create titles within the Star Wars universe.
Lucasfilm Games is actually full circle in terms of branding. Lucasfilm Games existed back in the ’80s, created by George Lucas. It was later rebranded to LucasArts in 1990, the company behind lauded adventure games that incubated industry talent like Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert. While the new Lucasfilm Games is a brand header and licensor as opposed to its own production company or developer of its own, it still shows a renewed commitment to the Star Wars brand within the interactive space.