Electronic Arts has come to an agreement with The Walt Disney Company for exclusive publishing rights to Star Wars video games in the future.
The multi-year deal is set to give EA domain over Star Wars titles aimed at the "core gaming audience," which will span "all interactive platforms and the most popular game genres," while Disney will still make Star Wars games aimed at mobile, tablet, and social gaming audiences.
This news is surprising yet unsurprising at the same time. Following their purchase of Lucasfilm (and thus the Star Wars license) back in Fall 2012, Disney seemingly all but abandoned their Star Wars gaming well, closing down famous developer/publisher LucasArts just last month. It makes sense that Disney would end up giving the rights to someone else, but it's somewhat surprising (yet, again, unsurprising) that the license ended up with EA, the biggest publisher in the business.
Despite trepidations many have against EA, the announcement that Visceral Games (Dead Space) and DICE (Battlefield) are working on new Star Wars is incredibly exciting, as well as the announcement of the return of BioWare to the franchise.
Furthermore, this gives a new hope to previously thought cancelled/on-hold Star Wars games such as 1313, First Assault, and Battlefront III (Imagine if DICE made the next Star Wars: Battlefront!)
Both EA and the Star Wars franchise has been going through some tumultuous changes as of late, but perhaps this licensing agreement will give the EA empire a chance to strike back.