After shutting down the LucasArts game studio last month and promising to license the studio’s valuable properties to third party developers, Disney has reached an agreement with publishing giant EA for the exclusive rights to the Star Wars franchise. Disney and EA issued a joint press release Monday announcing the “multi-year” deal, and clarifying that EA will focus on the “core gaming audience,” which we believe means AAA console and PC titles, while Disney will reserve the right to publish casual titles on mobile platforms. The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Disney Interactive’s John Pleasants stated his company’s approval of the agreement in the press release:
This agreement demonstrates our commitment to creating quality game experiences that drive the popularity of the Star Wars franchise for years to come. Collaborating with one of the world’s premier game developers will allow us to bring an amazing portfolio of new Star Wars titles to our fans around the world.
EA’s Frank Gibeau added:
Every developer dreams of creating games for the Star Wars universe. Three of our top studios will fulfill that dream, crafting epic adventures for Star Wars fans. DICE and Visceral will produce new games, joining the BioWare team which continues to develop for the Star Wars franchise. The new experiences we create may borrow from films, but the games will be entirely original with all new stories and gameplay.
As Mr. Gibeau mentioned, EA and its subsidiary studios already have some experience with Star Wars. Bioware developed the fan-favorite RPG Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, in 2003 and is currently managing the online game Star Wars: The Old Republic, which launched in 2011.
Disney acquired the rights to Star Wars and other LucasFilm properties with its $4.05 billion purchase of the studio that George Lucas founded in 1971. In addition to new Star Wars games, Disney has promised a new trilogy of films, starting with Episode VII in the summer of 2015.