The Main Reason There’s No Force Awakens Video Game
Some Star Wars fans anxiously awaiting next week’s release of The Force Awakens are probably wondering why there isn’t a full-blown tie-in game. As The Verge explains, there are several smaller tie-ins—including a Battlefront add-on (“Battle of Jakku”), some Star Wars: Commander and Star Wars: Uprising updates, a Disney Infinity 3.0 expansion, and a variety of mobile games—but there’s a simple reason Lucasfilm and Electronic Arts aren’t going all the way: tie-in games usually suck. “You can look over the history of interactive entertainment, and there are very, very few exceptions,” says EA’s Justin McCully, GM for the Star Wars franchise. “Movie tie-in games have rarely been successful.”
The problem with tie-ins is relatively simple: it’s difficult to make a game that matches a film when the film doesn’t exist yet. In order to get a Force Awakens game in stores at the same time as the movie, EA would have had to rely on all kinds of educated guesses about the film’s visual effects and hope that they remained unchanged throughout post-production. This is made even more problematic when you realize that a tie-in game would have been in the works while the movie was still in the shooting stages.
There’s also the matter of Star Wars game history. In the past, many of the games linked closely to the films or characters (Star Wars: Jedi Arena, Star Wars: Masters of Teras Kasi, Star Wars: Force Commander) have been disappointing, while some of the franchise’s best games (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, the shooter games of the ’90s) expanded on the world depicted in the movies, proving that Star Wars games are most ideal for opening new doors than exploring familiar territory. “I think Star Wars is unique,” said McCully. “I can’t think of another franchise that has the depth and the lore and the ability to have that many different experiences.”