It has taken more than six years, but Electronic Arts has finally proven itself worthy of the Star Wars video game license. The company only shipped three games since making the deal in May 2013. But after a humbling experience with Battlefront II, it has spent years turning that game around with tons of new content from the entire saga. And then it released one of the best of the year in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. So the publisher is in a good place when it comes to Star Wars games.
Now, I’m not saying that another publisher couldn’t make better Star Wars games. And I’m not implying that we wouldn’t get better games if Disney worked with multiple developers on a variety of projects. Oh, and this has nothing to do with whether or not EA and Disney have made enough money to justify the deal.
Speaking strictly as a Star Wars fan, I think EA has earned stewardship of the franchise.
Star Wars has come a long way since 2017
The story of EA and Star Wars was a tumultuous one. It cancelled a couple of games and closed one of the studios making a Star Wars game. And then it released Star Wars: Battlefront II to one of the loudest and most intense backlashes ever.
The short version of the Battlefront II history is that you could pay to improve the strength of your character. Fans hated this idea. Many compared it to gambling. And before the game even officially came out, EA pulled all microtransactions from Battlefront II.
And the next year or so after the release of Battlefront II was a dark time for Star Wars under EA. The game sold 9 million copies, but that was below expectations. And then most of the news coming out of the publisher related to the franchise were about cancellations.
This led a lot of people to speculate that Disney would pull the plug on the deal as soon as possible. Others thought that the company had one last chance to prove itself with Jedi: Fallen Order. And now that game is out, and it seems like EA did go ahead and prove it can handle the far, far away galaxy.
Electronic Arts and Star Wars are in a good place
I’m putting together my list of the games of the year as I write this, and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is currently No. 1. I don’t know if it’ll hold that spot after I do some soul-searching, but it’s a lock for my top 3.
In my review of Fallen Order, I call it a “series-defining adventure.” And it absolutely is that. It’s everything a Star Wars game can be. Even beyond the trappings of its license, it’s a fun game that I’m kinda itching to go back and play again — let alone play a sequel.
But Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is only a part of the reason EA has earned Star Wars. The other major factor is Battlefront II.
When I say that EA has earned Star Wars, what I mean is that these games make me happy as a fan of the series. And Battlefront II is a huge reason for that.
DICE has spent the last couple of years turning Battlefront II into a celebration of Star Wars. And it is getting ready to close out the Skywalker Saga alongside the movie.
Tomorrow, December 17, EA and DICE will release The Rise of Skywalker update for Battlefront II. With this, the game now has content from all of the movies in the the Prequel Trilogy, the Original Trilogy, and the Sequel Trilogy. It even has content from the Clone Wars television show.
Battlefront II finally feels like a love letter to everything Star Wars. And if EA continues to make games like this for this universe, I’ll be happy.