When news broke last week that EA had partnered with Disney for an exclusive contract to develop all upcoming Star Wars games, the world clamored for more details. EA announced that the first new Star Wars game, which will run on Battlefield 3‘s Frostbite Engine 3, won’t be out until 2015; presumably to coincide with the release of Episode VII in theaters. They also stated that the three major developers that would soon begin working on Star Wars licensed games were BioWare, Visceral Games, and DICE. According to DICE general manager Karl-Magnus Troedsson, originally reported by the Wall Street Journal and picked up by Gamasutra, EA is now opening a studio in L.A. and assembling a team to begin work on the new game.
The California-based studio is projected to staff 60 employees by the end of the year. Troedsson also noted the studio has already begun the hiring process and are currently working with former EA staff whose previous work experience includes the Medal of Honor series.
Say what you will about EA as a business, but the studios that develop underneath their umbrella tend to put out some high-quality stuff. While the games sometimes fall short in the narrative department, they are always visual spectacles that feature groundbreaking technology and physics. DICE in particular did a great job on Battlefield 3 with the use of the Frostbite Engine 3.
Taking a closer look at the studios and the potential games they could develop, some pretty exciting ideas start to come to mind. While it’s starting to become an issue in the industry to typecast developers into creating certain genres featuring similar game mechanics, allow me to do just that. Considering DICE’s background in the massive-scale FPS department, it wouldn’t totally surprise me to hear they are spearheading an all new Battlefront title, or at least a spiritual successor to the popular shooter. As far as BioWare is concerned, let’s just say if they’re not developing Knights of the Old Republic 3, I will be sorely disappointed. The only real wildcard is Visceral Games, the studio behind the Dead Space series. If I had to take an educated guess, I’d say they’re working on an action-adventure game of some sort a la The Force Unleashed. If so, they have the unenviable task of living up to the standard Star Wars 1313 looked to set with it’s impressive graphics and gameplay engine, before being canceled during Disney’s acquisition of the now-defunct LucasArts.
What would you folks like to see from the new L.A.-based DICE team? Would you prefer they work on some sort of Battlefront-esque shooter, or break character and develop something of a different genre? Do any of you aspiring game designers in the L.A. area plan to apply for a job at the studio? Let us know in the usual place, and don’t forget to like IGXPro on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or give us the ‘ol +1 on Google+.