In addition to the films, literature, fan works, and animated series, fans of Star Wars have also been treated to a number of video games over the past decade or so that have been inspired by the mythology of the franchise. One of the most renowned is Star Wars: Battlefront, a first-person shooter series that has produced a total of five games so far.
Since 2009, Star Wars: Battlefront has been dormant, with numerous games cancelled due to financial, marketing, and time reasons. Yet Disney’s takeover of Lucasfilm in 2012 could now mean that the series enjoys a renaissance.
Not only is this good news for Star Wars enthusiasts and video game devotees, but also stock market investors, as the success of movie franchises and other media opportunities can boost the share price of companies like Disney significantly. In laymans terms: everyone’s a winner.
The development of Star Wars: Battlefront
The first instalment of the Battlefront series, which was released in September 2004 and developed by Pandemic Studios, received positive reviews from critics and gamers alike. On the back of this success, a sequel was introduced just a year later and yet again earned critical and commercial acclaim.
But, while three other games were released for handheld consoles and mobile devices, the development of a third major instalment ran into various problems. Game studio Free Radical Design claimed it was “pretty much done” in 2008, only for LucasArts to abandon the project, reportedly because they didn’t want to commit a big spend on marketing.
In 2010, an online-only Battlefront title was also cancelled, this time said to be because developer Slant Six Games didn’t meet its deadline. But, in spite of these disappointments, the Star Wars: Battlefront series would live to fight another day thanks in large part to Disney.
Disney’s takeover of Lucasfilm
Disney announced plans to acquire Lucasfilm in October 2012 and just a couple of months later the Federal Trade Commission approved the deal. Along with the announcement that Disney would produce a seventh instalment of the Star Wars film franchise in 2015, hopes that the Battlefront series could be resurrected were also ignited.
Sure enough in May 2013, publisher Electronic Arts (EA) obtained exclusive rights to develop Star Wars games, including Battlefront. EA subsidiary DICE said the long-awaited third instalment would be its own “interpretation of what Battlefront should be,” while still incorporating what made the previous two releases so successful.
After two years of development, the latest Star Wars: Battlefront game was released to the world in November 2015. But, in order to boost its chances of success even further, EA decided to coincide the availability of downloadable content with the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Seeing as the video game industry is becoming just as powerful and influential as the cinema, Disney must receive praise for combining the two. Along with bringing the Battlefront series back to life, Disney has also managed to integrate it into the main aspect of Star Wars to great effect.
With The Force Awakens set to break box office records and Battlefront sales predicted to reach 13 million units by the end of March, Star Wars will undoubtedly do wonders for Disney investors, reaping rich rewards for its substantial investment.