With the upcoming release of Star Wars Episode VII, EA and Disney have signed a multi-year deal to publish Star Wars games made by DICE, BioWare, and Visceral Games. The agreement covers all “major platforms”. However, Disney still retains the rights to make social and casual games for mobile devices, tablets, and the web.
This is both exciting and horrifying at the same time. Imagine the possibilities of a Frostbite 3-powered game set in the famous universe. Imagine BioWare’s narrative and technical skills in a Star Wars game again. Imagine Visceral making a hack-and-slash or Dead Space-esque game set in this universe. The possibilities are, quite interestingly, endless. What’s horrifying is the fact that EA might put draconian DRM—Simcity, anyone?—in these games. How about endless waves of DLC?
Honestly, I’m excited at the prospect of more Star Wars games. The great thing is that all these studios are great at what they do—making good games. Excellent graphics, engaging gameplay, and good narratives are all that I can hope for at this point. I just hope EA doesn’t screw it up with their underhanded tactics.
LucasFilm president Kathleen Kennedy is similarly excited, noting that the company chose the publisher which could “consistently deliver great Star Wars games for years to come.” That’s for console platforms though; casual and social titles will be made by Disney Interactive itself.
No specific games were announced, though we can expect some announcements soon.
Following Activision’s lead, EA may be planning on launching a premium service for Battlefield 3 players. In fact, it may be launched as early as June 4, according to this report from Battlefieldo.
The site states that customers will get a premium knife, soldier camos, weapon camos, black dog tag, extra assignments, and more. It also claims that the game will receive a fifth expansion pack in March 2013.
The purported launch date puts it close to E3. I believe EA will use the event as a platform to begin offering this service.
Battlefield 3 may have proven to be too popular for its own good. Players noted recently that all of DICE’s official servers for the game appeared to be unavailable. That raised a number of questions which EA was quick to answer.
DICE runs a number of official servers that can be rented by players, and if too many players rent official servers, they can appear to be unavailable. The studio wants the best for its players, so they are going to “reserve a percentage of servers for players who prefer to connect through DICE-hosted servers” in the future.
They are hosting a double XP weekend for all ranked servers and matches today and tomorrow. While this may not be in direct response to this issue, it’s still a good gesture. And hey, free points!
With the console versions out of the way, it appears DICE is pimping up the upcoming release of the PC version of Mirror’s Edge with support for PhysX’s physics engine, noting that NVIDIA 8-series and above cards will offer enhanced physics support for the game.
In fact, to show off the power of the PC, they released a trailer showcasing PhysX effects below. The game is due out on PC in January 2009.
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This post on the Battlefield Heroes website carries word that testing on the shooter will end tomorrow. The developers are incorporating feedback earned during the closed beta into the final game and that they plan on reopening the beta “early next year.”
The subscription-free multiplayer shooter will be released sometime next year. It was originally marked for release this winter.
Former employees of Digital Illusions Canada have opened Redjade, a new game development studio focusing on supplying art creation services for the PC and next-generation consoles.
Led and founded by Fredrik Liliegren, who was previously the CEO of Digital Illusions AB, the company is based in London, Ontario and will focus on creating 2D and 3D art assets. Further information can be found on Redjade’s website.
The Battlefield 2142 website carries details of a “veteran’s program” for the game, giving perks to those who pre-order the upcoming entry in the venerable multiplayer shooter series.
Players who pre-order the game from GameStop or EBGames will receive an instant promotion the first time they log on to the game; they’ll get immediate access to unlocks including the shotgun add-on for the assault rifle, and more. Those players will also be marked as veterans and will be indicated via an on-screen indicator of their status. There’s more to it, so check out the site for details.