EA just spent $400 million to make sure the next big ‘Star Wars’ game actually comes out

The next major

caption
The next major “Star Wars” game, “Star Wars Battlefront 2,” launches on November 17.
source
EA
  • EA announced the acquisition of Respawn Entertainment on Thursday night.
  • The purchase price was $455 million in total – a combination of cash, equity, and performance-based bonuses.
  • More than just a development studio, Respawn is responsible for an upcoming “Star Wars” title.

EA is buying Respawn Entertainment for $455 million – a move aimed at securing the future of EA’s license to make games based on the “Star Wars” franchise.

Respawn is a Los Angeles-based game development studio co-founded by game industry veterans Vince Zampella and Jason West. The two men were responsible for leading creation of the enormously popular “Call of Duty” franchise, and Respawn has thus far focused on the “Titanfall” game franchise – a fast-paced, multiplayer-focused first-person shooter that competes with the “Call of Duty” franchise.

But it’s Respawn’s other current project that EA is likely buying the studio for: A new “Star Wars” game.

caption
“Titanfall 2” is a futuristic first-person shooter that combines supersoldier humans with massive “titan” robots.
source
Respawn Entertainment

The announcement that EA is buying Respawn comes just a few short weeks after EA’s announcement that it shuttered Visceral Games – a long-time EA studio that was working on a new “Star Wars” game. The “Star Wars” project has been shifted to EA’s Vancouver studio, and Visceral Games is out of business.

Thus, EA buying Respawn looks an awful lot like EA attempting to shore up control of Respawn’s “Star Wars” game. As a Piper Jaffray note from Friday morning says, “We believe EA undertook the deal to gain further control over specific titles in development, most notably an action title that leverages EA’s ‘Star Wars’ license.”

Notably, EA locked in a deal with Disney back in 2013 that gives EA exclusive rights to produce “Star Wars” games “for a core gaming audience.” The cancellation of a major “Star Wars” game at EA from Visceral Games makes this game from Respawn all the more important.

Little is known about the “Star Wars” game that Respawn is working on. It was announced in May 2016 as a “third-person action/adventure game,” and no other information has been given since. That said, we can glean a few more tidbits from what we know about the deal:

  • It’s not a mobile game – “core” means that it’s intended as a blockbuster, “triple-A” game for living room game consoles and PC.
  • “Third-person action/adventure” describes games like “Assassin’s Creed” and “Uncharted.” It sounds like this new “Star Wars” game will be something along those lines.
  • It’s unlikely to be a shooter. EA already has its biggest shooter studio, EA DICE, churning out “Star Wars” shooters. “Star Wars Battlefront 2” is a few weeks away from launch, and it’s a first-person shooter.
  • It will likely be very high quality. Despite “Titanfall 2” not selling very well, it’s an excellent, expertly-crafted game.

Since Respawn’s “Star Wars” game was originally teased back in early 2016, it’s reasonable to expect we’ll hear more about it in 2018. In the meantime, there’s another brand new “Star Wars” game for you to play.