You knew the resurrected Lucasfilm Games brand would eventually produce a Star Wars game, but now it’s clear just who will be involved — and this time, it’s not EA. Lucasfilm Games told Wired that Ubisoft’s Massive Entertainment, the team behind The Division 2, is developing an open-world Star Wars game using the studio’s Snowdrop engine. The project is still so young that Massive is in the midst of hiring for it, but The Division 2 director Julian Gerighty will helm the new title.
The news comes a day after Lucasfilm unveiled plans for an Indiana Jones game from Bethesda’s MachineGames, the unit behind modern Wolfenstein shooters. Massive has still indicated that it’s working on its Avatar game, although it’s still uncertain when that might arrive.
The Ubisoft deal marks an end to EA’s exclusive rights to make Star Wars titles. Disney senior VP Sean Shoptaw told Wired that EA would remain a “very strategic and important partner,” but wasn’t shy about Disney’s desire to broaden its range of developers for the space fantasy franchise. “We did feel like there’s room for others,” Shoptaw said.
It’s not a surprising expansion. Critics have accused EA of squandering its Star Wars rights for most of the past eight years, with few major titles reaching players — the publisher is almost better-known for cancelling games in the franchise than releasing them. Throw in questionable decisions like Battlefront II’s early pay-to-win mechanics and it may feel like EA only recently made good use of the Star Wars name through games like Jedi: Fallen Order and Squadrons.
Ubisoft’s involvement would increase the volume of blockbuster Star Wars games. More importantly for Disney, it might also reduce the chances that any one release sours people on the concept of a Star Wars game. While Disney and Lucasfilm Games are still likely to be picky about developers, it won’t be surprising if they invite more partners going forward.