Here’s a question for you: Are Star Wars games relevant anymore?
I don’t know how much enthusiasm there was for Star Wars games ten years ago, because ten years ago I was too young to be really paying attention to the video game industry as much as I do now. But, it seems to me like optimism for the Star Wars franchise in video games is at an all time low. Obviously, this pessimism isn’t unwarranted; just look at the last five Star Wars games that were released, how far apart they were released, and the average Metacritic score (I’m not counting Star Wars Pinball).
Kinect Star Wars (2012) — 55/100
Star Wars: The Old Republic (2011) — 85/100 [Also lost EA millions of dollars]
LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars (2011) — 70/100 [Averaged portable and console versions]
Star Wars: Imperial Galaxy (2010) — 56/100 [iOS]
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II (2010) — 61/100
Do we see a trend here? Not only are games released far too often, but they’re consistently mediocre or bad. The one exception on the list is Star Wars: The Old Republic, a game which lost tens of millions of dollars for EA and failed to become the giant MMORPG that everyone was expecting it to be. These games are failing to make any sort of indent on gaming culture, and failing to prove themselves worthy of any mindshare.
Years ago, Star Wars Games were adored, often garnering great critical reception, even making their way into GoTY talks. Star Wars: Battlefront and Star Wars: Rogue Squadron were on the top of everyone’s minds. Now, it’s hard to get excited for a Star Wars game, since gamers are already trained to expect a “meh” quality game.
Earlier this week, EA announced that it has exclusive rights to publish Star Wars games for the next several years. On one hand I’m disappointed. I’m not necessarily mad that it was EA that got the exclusive rights; I’m frustrated that ANYONE got exclusive rights to Star Wars. If Star Wars was leased out to multiple publishers, then every publisher would try to make their game as good as possible, thanks to competition. Now, in standard EA fashion, as with Madden, EA can sloppily put out Star Wars games for the next few years, knowing full well that gamers’ only option will be to purchase EA’s Star Wars game.
But, once again I’m lead to my baseline question: Are Star Wars games relevant anymore? With this train of thought I begin to become indifferent to EA’s acquisition. I realize that Star Wars in video games are really no longer relevant, and I don’t care at all what happens with the license. After all, the last ten years haven’t wielded any good Star Wars games, so why was I expecting good Star Wars games in the next ten?
With that, I close; interested in how EA will manage the brand, but largely indifferent to the result.
What about you guys? Does anyone believe that Star Wars is still relevant in video games? Let us know in the comments section below!