Ubisoft is partnering with the the newly launched Lucasfilm Games to make an open world game based in the Star Wars universe, Wired reports. This apparently signals the end of EA’s previous exclusivity deal regarding the development of Star Wars video games.
Ubisoft Massive, the studio behind The Division, will be leading development on the new Star Wars adventure with Julian Gerighty, who oversaw The Division 2 and The Crew, as creative director. Wired also reports that the game will make use of Ubisoft Massive’s Snowdrop engine (the same one used for The Division 2), but said Lucasfilm Games hasn’t yet revealed when and where in the Star Wars universe the game will take place. (Update - 10:53 p.m. ET, 1/13/21: in a Q&A over on Ubisoft’s website, Gerighty says the new game will be a “departure from the world of The Division,” and “totally different” from what the studio has made in the past.)
Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot, whose company last year faced a wave allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse triggering a massive shake-up in organizational and creative leadership, described the upcoming game to Wired as, “an original Star Wars adventure that is different from anything that has been done before.”
EA had previously snagged an exclusive deal to develop Star Wars games back in 2013 shortly after Disney purchased Lucasfilm. It now appears the terms of that deal have expired, or changed. According to Wired’s report, EA will still continue to develop Star Wars games, but Lucasfilm Games, a new gaming label rolled out earlier this week, will be overseeing the production of other Star Wars games as well. (EA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.) Yesterday, Lucasfilm Games also announced a collaboration with Bethesda’s Machine Games to make a new Indiana Jones game.
Prior to Disney shutting down the original LucasArts, it had been working on a number of new Star Wars games including Star Wars 1313 and Star Wars: First Assault. Since the beginning of its exclusivity deal, EA has released Star Wars: Battlefront 1, 2, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, and last year’s Star Wars: Squadrons. During that time it also notably cancelled an ambitious Star Wars game being created by Uncharted writer Amy Hennig and Visceral Games, maker of Dead Space, before going on to close the studio completely. EA’s Battlefront 2 was also at the epicenter of a global backlash against loot boxes when it launched with exploitative pay-to-win mechanics.
Meanwhile, Ubisoft Massive taking on an open world Star Wars project, which Wired points out is still very early in development, seemingly leaves the future of The Division series in limbo. The Swedish studio is also currently working on a video game adaptation of James Cameron’s Avatar, which Ubisoft announced last year would be delayed until 2022.
Update 9:46 a.m. ET, 1/13/20: In a new post over on the Star Wars website, VP of Lucasfilm Games, Douglas Reilly, says that it’s been in talks with Massive about the new project for “almost a year now,” and that despite this new partnership, it will still continue to make games with EA.
Said Reilly, “While we may not have a lot of details to share at the moment, we’ve got a number of projects underway with the talented teams at EA.”