When the formation of Lucasfilm Games was announced earlier this week, it begged the question of what exactly that meant for EA’s exclusivity contract on Star Wars titles. Speculation about Lucasfilm licensing the brand out to other publishers and developers was right. Ubisoft Massive Entertainment, the studio behind The Division series, is working on a story-driven open-world Star Wars game using The Division 2’s Snowdrop Engine.
The Division 2 director Julian Gerighty will serve as director for this untitled project, though don’t expect news or updates for a while yet. Massive is still recruiting for the project right now. Lucasfilm Games has been working with the team for nearly a year getting the project under development. No other details about the setting or characters has been provided at this time, though it’s confirmed that all new Star Wars games under the Lucasfilm Games banner will fall within the same Star Wars world and narrative canon. The galaxy far, far away is a vast universe of ideas to explore, so Massive could be setting up port almost anywhere.
Ubisoft is renowned—and sometimes derided—for its open-world games, and recent projects like Immortals Fenyx Rising have shown the publisher can break free from that traditional “Ubisoft formula” that’s become so ubiquitous in its games over the last five years or so.
— Lucasfilm Games (@LucasfilmGames) January 13, 2021
For nearly a decade, no other developers outside of EA have touched Star Wars properties. This announcement marks an enormous change moving forward, and could herald an era of new Star Wars games from many additional developers thanks to licensing from Lucasfilm Games. “We get no shortage of folks knocking on our door, wanting to play with our toys,” Douglas Reilly, VP of Lucasfilm Games, said to WIRED.
Much like the bevy of Marvel games that still require final approval from Marvel and Disney, Star Wars falls within the same vein. In order to keep consistency within the branding, Lucasfilm Games will have final say on major decisions for its properties, but developers are able to offer unique pitches and their own special flair to each title.
Though no additional developers or Star Wars games have been revealed at this time (apart from EA still making Star Wars games too), this announcement from Lucasfilm Games makes it pretty clear that the Star Wars video game universe is going to be expanding, and this is just the start.
The Lucasfilm Games formation also resulted in the announcement of an Indiana Jones game being made by Bethesda’s MachineGames. While the fruits of the Lucasfilm Games licenses probably won’t be seen for a while yet, it heralds a new era of licensed games not limited by exclusivity to an individual publisher or developer.
What developers would you like to see tackle a Star Wars project in the future?