Update August 22, 2016: EA have commented on the reasoning behind the decision to force Galaxy in Turmoil to cease using the Star Wars license, saying they didn’t have a choice.
EA executive vice president Patrick Soderlund lifted the lid on the decision in a recent Gamescom interview, explaining that the fact they don’t fully own the license complicates things.
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“What I would say is that we’ve seen back in the day with Battlefield 1942, we had a bunch of mods that truly helped people become aware of Battlefield as a brand and associate a lot of good things with it,” Soderlundsays in an interview with GameInformer.
“We saw the Desert Combat mod. We saw several World War II and even a World War I mod that we played and enjoyed. The community of people out there that are passionate about adding to something in existence is, in general, a good thing. I see no badness from that. That stems from passion and desire to build.”
The difference here is that this isn’t based on something that’s entirely EA’s property – it’s just an IP that the company has invested in to secure an exclusivity deal, which also means they need to be seen to be protecting that deal.
“It’s a lot easier for us to make decisions for brands that we fully own. When it comes to something as big and well-known as Star Wars, there are so many other parts that come into play,” Soderlund explains. “What is considered canon? What can you do within the brand? It becomes very complicated. On top of that, between Disney and EA is a substantial business deal where one partner has paid the other a lot of money to gain exclusivity. Without knowing details of exactly what happened, that’s kind of how I look at it in general.”
Original Story August 1, 2016: Perhaps unsurprisingly, the excellent-looking but trademark-conflictingGalaxy In Turmoil, which wanted to be a successor to Battlefront II, has had to cease production as a Star Wars game after discussions with Electronic Arts and Lucasfilm. Posting on their blog and the Steam forums, Frontwire Studios president Tony Romanelli said that despite a meeting with top Lucasfilm execs the project and studio will be “pivoting away from Star Wars” to make a free, large-scale, sci-fi shooter of their own.
Romanelli recounts how he received a letter from Lucasfilm telling them to cease all production in late June but didn’t want to “[lay] down at the first sign of trouble” and so set up a meeting with Lucasfilm. This meeting, which he describes as being with “two of the top decision makers” at Lucas, revealed that Electronic Arts had already blocked the idea of a licensing deal with Frontwire, as well as the idea of putting the game “behind EA’s paywall.”
Romanelli also says that the nature of the contract between Lucasfilm and EA meant Lucas were obliged to demand the project be shut down. EA also failed to respond to direct communication. He goes on to say that he does not blame EA for protecting their “golden egg.”
While Frontwire believe that they would be operating within Fair Use law to continue development, they have no interest in a legal battle with companies the size of Lucasfilm and EA. They don’t want to waste all their work either, hence they will continue development of their games in a “never before seen universe.” The blog post promises “massive 64-player battles, ground-to-space combat, destructible capital ships, and a full single-player campaign.”
Have a read of the full blog for a bit more info, as well as what Frontwire plan to do regarding crowdfunding their project – it’s happening, but they want a fully playable demo first.