DICE and Visceral developing new Star Wars games, EA becomes exclusive publisher of license

Months after acquiring Lucasfilm, Disney shuttered its games division, LucasArts. Since then, fans have wondered: what will happen to Star Wars games? Surprisingly, they won't be published by Disney Interactive. Instead, Electronic Arts has announced a "multi-year exclusive licensing agreement to develop and publish globally new games based on Star Wars characters and storylines."

According to the press release, "EA will develop and publish new Star Wars titles for a core gaming audience, spanning all interactive platforms and the most popular game genres, while Disney will retain certain rights to develop new titles within the mobile, social, tablet and online game categories." These social games could be extensions of the unannounced games that LucasArts was working on before its closure.

This isn't EA's first foray with the Star Wars franchise, of course. It launched Star Wars: The Old Republic--an ambitious MMORPG that later had to go free-to-play as subscriber numbers dwindled. What is surprising is that EA says its top studios will work on new games based on the Star Wars universe. "Every developer dreams of creating games for the Star Wars universe," EA Labels president Frank Gibeau said in the announcement. "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."