Electronic Arts’ most recent entry into their Star Wars Battlefront series has become one of the most mocked and disliked video game releases of the past decade. The tactics employed by EA have not only hurt the companies reputation, but they’ve significantly damaged the game’s sales. Originally intended as an apology for the lackluster Star Wars Battlefront, which was released in 2015, EA has only managed to further alienate themselves from their fan base and cause an uproar concerning in-game monetization practices.
Yet, it didn’t need to be this way. Though the company has a track record of emphasizing profit over quality, their acquisition of Disney’s Star Wars license could have proven a fruitful endeavor for the both developer and fans alike. While the video game publisher eventually decided to modernize and reinvigorate their hugely successful Star Wars Battlefront franchise, Electronic Arts initially debated as to the direction they should take with their re-acquired property.
After the lukewarm reception to 2015’s Star Wars title, it appears that EA considered releasing a title separate from the Star Wars Battlefront collection of games. During this period, Double Damage, a studio famous for producing the successful Rebel Galaxy video game, pitched a concept for a game set in the Star Wars universe to the property’s license holder. Though not directly related to the Star Wars mythos, Rebel Galaxy, which was released in 2015, seems to be directly influenced by the popular sci-fi film series. Featuring alien races, dueling space cruisers, and a seemingly infinite universe to explore, it isn’t hard to see why Double Damage may have had what it takes to craft a game about George Lucas’ brainchild.
The game, according to a Polygon article, would have been heavily influenced by not only Double Damage’s previous title, but several games under the Star Wars umbrella like X-Wing and Star Wars Rogue Squadron. These games may not have boasted the massive appeal of another entry into the Star Wars Battlefront series, but it might have been viewed by consumers as a breath of fresh air.
Unfortunately, according to Kotaku, Double Damage knew that the title was something of a long-shot. Travis Baldree, co-founder of Runic Games and head of Double Damage Studios, claimed that his team knew ahead of time that EA would show little interest in what they were proposing. Regardless, they decided to pitch the game to the publishing giant, if only for a bit of self-gratification.
“It was a long-shot, and we had near-nil hopes that it would be seriously considered, but we probably did it to please ourselves rather than out of any hope that it would get greenlit.”
Though there was never much hope for the would-be Star Wars title, fans may be pleased to see that some developers have an interest in the diversification of games in the Star Wars franchise. Electronic Arts, who signed a ten-year contract with Disney for the exclusive rights to Star Wars games, may currently have a vice grip on the property, but the day may come when more consumer-friendly games are allowed to be set in a galaxy far, far away.