Ubisoft today announced that it's making a new Star Wars game. Based on market trends and Disney's big new Jedi series, we can make some educated guesses on what to expect from the new project.
Note: This article is speculative, but it's based on Ubisoft's business practices and the current trajectory of the Star Wars universe.
The Division 2 developer Ubisoft Massive is developing a new story-driven, open-world Star Wars game. That sentence alone is enough to give most gamers an idea of what the game could offer--wide exploration, lots of busywork and questing, tons of icons on a huge map, grinding, and slick third-person action.
Ubisoft being the publisher also gives us key information. In 2017, Ubisoft confirmed all of its games will have live services. That means the new Star Wars game will also have live services in some form. That doesn't necessarily mean the project will have online multiplayer (although it's extremely likely given Ubisoft Massive's experience with The Division's infrastructure).
Ubisoft has technically baked live services in singleplayer-only games like Assassin's Creed. Origins, Odyssey, and Valhalla are monetized and have rotating live events, complete with engagement-driven mechanics like grinding materials and endless exploration
The publisher has created a digital-centric empire based around live services, engagement, and monetization. Don't expect the Star Wars game to be any different. Lucasfilm Games should also be attracted to the idea of recurring in-game revenues, albeit not at the expense of extremely controversy like Battlefront II's lootboxes.
The next part is more speculative.
It's possible Ubisoft Massive's new Star Wars game could be set in the new High Republic timeline.
The High Republic (previously known as Project Luminous) is set 400 years before the Skywalker Saga in the golden age of the Galactic Republic, where Jedi were more like interstellar Arthurian knights than secluded monks.
The general themes of the High Republic are exploration, optimism, and a kind of grandiosity that elevates the franchise.
So far, Lucasfilm and Disney have only announced comics, magazines, and books set in the High Republic timeline. Multiple authors and artists will flesh out the new series with multiple works. But video games may be a part of this new golden expansion, and if so, Ubisoft Massive may play a big part.
The scope of Ubisoft Massive's game--open-world, story-driven, live service-based--indicates it could be something bigger than Jedi: Fallen Order, Battlefronts I & II, and Star Wars Squadrons.
Ubisoft's game could be more like EA's ambitious cancelled Star Wars games.
First, there was Project Ragtag in development at the now-closed Visceral Games. Project Ragtag had Uncharted-style exploration and shifted through multiple perspectives. EA cancelled the game because it didn't fit with their live service-based focus (EA has said that live services matter more than full game sales).
The other project was Project Orca, a big open-galaxy game set around bounty hunters that was being made by EA Vancouver.
EA also cancelled Project Viking, an open Battlefront-like spin-off.
Neither Ubisoft nor Lucasfilm Games have confirmed details about Massive's new Star Wars game. We don't know when it's set, we don't know when it's coming out, and we don't know any major themes or characters. Based on the players involved, though, we can still make some strongly educated guesses.
Here's what we know so far, straight from Lucasfilm Games:
Lucasfilm Games and Ubisoft are collaborating on a new story-driven, open-world Star Wars game. It's a genre long-requested by fans, and will come to life via Massive Entertainment, Ubisoft's critically-acclaimed studio based in MalmÖ, Sweden.
"We're really excited about an opportunity to work with the team at Massive, led by David Polfeldt and the creative director, Julian Gerighty. We've spent almost a year now, working to get to know them and what they want to bring to the table," Reilly says.
"I'm a huge fan of them, personally. I think we're really excited about where that project is going, because they have a unique vision for the story and the game they want to deliver."
Of course, Ubisoft and Massive Entertainment are renowned for their expertise in developing immersive worlds, and in pushing the boundaries of technology with their proprietary engine, Snowdrop.
"We know that fans of Star Wars value the feeling of immersion - of being transported into the Star Wars galaxy and moving through richly-detailed environments. It's fun to imagine what the team at Massive can do within Star Wars by bringing their innovative spirit and their commitment to quality," Reilly says.
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