It’s no secret that EA has come under a fair bit of fire for its handling (or perceived mishandling) of the Star Wars license.
The publisher struck a deal with Disney back in 2013 that granted it the exclusive rights to develop and publish video games set in the Star Wars universe, a universe rife with possibility.
Unfortunately, the common consensus seems to be that EA ballsed it up. Since acquiring the licence, it has put out two FPS titles that are remembered more for the controversy they stirred up than the actual gameplay.
More recently, reports surfaced that EA scrapped the open world Star Wars game it had been working on, which was previously a linear Star Wars title that was also shut down, along with developer Visceral Games.
These developments prompted Rogue One writer Gary Whitta to blast EA’s handling of the Star Wars license as “catastrophic” an opinion widely shared by fans around the world.
Surprisingly, despite all of this, Disney is reportedly pretty happy with how EA has tackled Star Wars, a revelation that’s sure to go down well with the fans.
In a recent earnings call (reported by Variety), Disney CEO Bob Iger essentially acknowledged that video games aren’t the House of Mouse’s strongest area, and that they’re happy to leave it to EA and the “good relationships” the two companies have formed.
Since we’re allocating capital in other directions … we’ve just decided that the best place for us to be in that space is licensing and not publishing. We’ve had good relationships with some of those we’re licensing to, notably EA and the relationship on the Star Wars properties, and we’re probably going to stay on that side of the business and put our capital elsewhere.
These comments are bound to raise a few eyebrows, especially in light of the Star Wars/ loot box gambling controversy that EA brought to what I imagine Disney wants to be an entirely squeaky clean and kid-friendly property.
EA’s license expires in 2023, but they still have a chance to redeem it. The typically excellent Titanfall developer Respawn is working on the single player Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, which will apparently be out by Fall 2019.