Kim Bolton discusses Electronic Arts
Ubisoft Entertainment SA said it will develop a new Star Wars game, indicating a longtime exclusivity agreement for Electronic Arts Inc. on the Walt Disney Co. franchise will come to an end.
The new Star Wars title is set to be the first not published by EA since Disney acquired Lucasfilm in 2012. The news sent shares of the two game companies diverging Wednesday. Ubisoft climbed more than 7 per cent, and EA fell as much 3.2 per cent. Representatives for EA and Ubisoft didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
Ubisoft said only that the game will be set in an open-world environment and will developed by the company’s Massive Entertainment team in Sweden, best known for a series of shooting games called Tom Clancy’s The Division. The group is also working on a game based on James Cameron’s “Avatar” movies.
EA struck the exclusivity deal in 2013, following the closure of the long-running development studio LucasArts. It gave EA the rights to publish all games based on the license, expect those on nontraditional gaming platforms such as on phones or Facebook.
Star Wars fans have complained that EA wasn’t doing the franchise justice. The publisher released four Star Wars games and canceled at least three others. With the exclusivity arrangement set to end in 2023, Disney is signalling it’s already preparing for life after EA, although Lucasfilm said in a blog post Wednesday morning that it had “a number of projects underway” with the publisher.
Earlier this week, Lucasfilm said a new Indiana Jones video game is underway at Bethesda Softworks LLC, which agreed to sell itself last year to Microsoft Corp. for US$7.5 billion.