Jason Schreier from Kotaku shared on Twitter some quite depressing news for Star Wars fans. According to his sources, BioWare tried several times to start work on the third installment of the legendary RPG series Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. However, the studio did not have much luck. The game project was always rejected by the publisher, Electronic Arts. Unfortunately, we don’t know any further details in this matter. We don't know when exactly the developer presented the idea for the new installment or whether Lucasfilm wasn’t the reason for rejection.
Let's add that in a new article on Kotaku, Schreier performs a deeper analysis of the problems that Electronic Arts has faced with the production of Star Wars games in general, which certainly stood in the way of Knights of the Old Republic III. Their effect is a limited number of licensed projects accepted by the developer. As we find out, for years the company was to be fixed on the results of consumer polls and wasn’t keen on taking any risks by moving too far away from the dominating popular image of Star Wars, which was captured by the original film trilogy. What’s more, the company was also not bery interested in single player games, but mainly on multiplayer-focused titles that allowed for monetization. A natural reference for the company's managment and shareholders is always the FIFA franchise, which, thanks to microtransactions, brings hundreds of millions of dollars of pure profit. In this situation, many game ideas, including those put forward by external developers, were doomed from the start.
Andrew Wilson, the company’s CEO, is also taking the blame, as he was not particularly pleased with the contract with Lucasfilm and Disney, negotiated by his predecessors. For Wilson, the most important is self-sufficiency of the company and building its own IPs that will make it independent of the whims of external partners. An example of such reqirement would be the fact that all studios under EA are forced to use the Frostbite engine. In light of these facts, the cooperation with the owners of the Star Wars franchise is like an albatross on BioWare’s neck . It comes as no suprise then, that despite the desire to return to the Old Republic, BioWare was forced to work on an original title (Anthem), whose shape and development could have been dictated by EA.
As we have already pointed out, it is highly probable that Lucasfilm also stands behind the rejection of the proposal for a new KOTOR game. The contents of the first two installments of Knights of the Old Republic, as well as the MMO game Star Wars: The Old Republic, is, in many aspects, not compatible with the new Star Wars canon, developed since the rights to the brand were acquired by Disney. The new information about Jedi and Sith, which we find in books, films, comic books and TV series released for the last few years, not only don’t take into account the ideas presented by BioWare and Obsidian, but sometimes even outright deny them.
Lucasfilm's policy, according to which every, even the smallest, published story that takes place in the universe is canon, makes it impossible to develop a direct follow up to the series. What's more, the work on the game need to be carried out in close cooperation with the company's scriptwriters and must be accepted by its designers in a long and bureaucratic process that discouraged EA's management. Lucasfilm has so far avoided the topic of the Old Republic and is likely to be planning to explore this era in future TV series or films. Although it’s nderstandable that the company does not want to be limited by the mythology and history sketched out by the BioWare.
Star War enthusiasts have not had much luck when it comes to the video game adaptations of their favorite universe in recent years. The sale of exclusive rights to the brand to Electronic Arts, which took place in 2013, brought fans only a great disappointment. Over the past five years, only two big games with Star Wars in title (Star Wars: Battlefront and Star Wars: Battlefront II) were released under the EA’s, and their reception was far from enthusiastic and brought about a lot of controversy related to lootboxes. A few days ago, an information has turned up on the net, that EA has canceled yet another game from the universe, in favor of two less ambitious titles, which are to be released earlier. Due to this news, many fans were confused about what project exactly was the news about. Finally, let's summarize all the Star Wars titles released or currently being developed in studios belonging to Electronic Art.
Star Wars games released and currently developed by Electronic Arts
- Star Wars: Battlefront [DICE] – released in 2015 [PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One]
- Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes [EA Capital Games] – released in 2015 [Android, iOS]
- Star Wars: Battlefront II [DICE] – released in 2017 [PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One]
- Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order [Respawn Entretainment] – slated for release most likely in autumn 2019 [PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One]
- Smaller and not yet titled game [EA/Motive Vancouver] – most probably slated for release in 2020
- Second smaller and not yet titled project [EA/Motive Montreal] – release date unknown
- Star Wars: Rise to Power [EA Capital Games] – release date unknown [Android, iOS]