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A Lack of Faith: EA Needs its Star Wars Privileges Revoked




EA took another hit last week with the cancelation of its Star Wars Vancouver project and, as a result, so did Disney. EA has long garnered its fair share of criticism, but, when the titan publisher received the rights to publish Star Wars titles, it was handed keys to the universe. Suddenly, a pantheon of developers had the chance to build on something uniquely special.

With endless lore to pull from, material that can be easily translated into video games, and existing IP to build off, EA should have had its next decade of titles in the bag. Sadly, Star Wars has only proven to be a burden for EA, and now is the time for Disney to act on the damage the game publisher has caused.

Perhaps the most controversial of EA’s Star Wars titles is DICE’s Battlefront series. Fans had been frothing at the mouth at the simple idea of a Star Wars: Battlefront reboot for decades, and EA had every intention to deliver. DICE was familiar with massive-scale battles thanks to its time with the Battlefield series and made for the perfect fit.

EASome of the hype turned out to be misguided though, as both of DICE’s Battlefront titles faced varying levels of scrutiny. While the first Battlefront had a backbone comprised of stellar graphics and strong gameplay, the abysmal content offerings did little to justify a USD$60 price tag. The second Battlefront brought with it an entire single-player campaign, but also single-handedly stirred up the loot box controversy the industry is still facing. Either way, looking back on both titles in a positive light can be difficult thanks to the shroud of controversy. Nevertheless, rushed development and strange microtransaction choices are not necessarily the fault of the developer.

Overt and intrusive business choices are all over the Battlefront name and, by extension, Disney’s name too. The heads of the publisher were the ones overseeing everything at DICE and need to be held accountable for two fiascos in a row. A duo of Battlefront controversies is bad enough, but the parade of bad Star Wars decisions does not stop at the shaming of a single project.

eaDICE managed to please its publisher, which is more than the folks who worked at Visceral Games can say. When EA announced its Star Wars deal, Visceral, the developer behind the genre-defining Dead Space series, was among the few revealed to be working on a Star Wars project. Promises of a narrative-driven action game in the Lucasfilm universe had everyone on the edges of their seats. Even famed third-person action game director Amy Hennig signed on to steer the project. However, despite a promising view from the outside, the project may have always been doomed.

Kotaku reported back in 2017 that some employees felt EA had no desire to support single-player games anymore. Potential closure was a heavy burden to bare too, which produced an “unhealthy” working environment. Messy management on EA’s part was all over the development of the unreleased Star Wars project. Furthermore, Visceral had been on death’s door since Dead Space 3 failed to perform. Even so, EA seemed to have thought that shuffling around the studio’s scheduled projects by ham fisting a Star Wars game was the right call. Visceral was closed for good by late 2017 and, with everything considered, the shutdown seems almost inevitable.

eaPassionate people all wanting to put out the best title possible were let go. Regardless of the circumstances, what the public sees after a studio closure is a parent company that failed to care—not only for the business it puts out the world, but for the people who were sacrificed to do so as well.

What was to become of Visceral’s aborted final game? Well, EA decided to move the assets over to EA Vancouver so that the next team up on the chopping block had a chance to deliver on impossible demands. This series of events all led to what transpired behind the scenes last week. EA has proven to be a business bent on failing with the Star Wars brand: so much so that one may struggle to justify the continuation of the Disney deal.

Now that the Vancouver team had to finally scrap this long-running project, rumors have emerged that the same team has begun work on a much smaller Star Wars title. Titanfall developer Respawn Entertainment is also working on its game, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. These tedious attempts to regain the trust of consumers is exhausting, so where does the buck stop?

eaNot one of the projects started so far have favored positively among fans. These games are not failures, but companies do not exist to create sub-par experiences that will only garner so-so sales. Star Wars is a name that floats, and EA is shooting holes in its own boat. Disney needs to step in because EA’s third strike is already up. Audiences want to see what Respawn can do with such a fitting IP, but Disney finding new management or talent is a better call than taking the same risks over and over again. Now is the time for EA to stop trying because its opportunity to “do or do not” is long gone.

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Three Single-Player Games to Watch Out for in July 2019



Three Single Player Games (July 2019) - Sea of Solitude, Fire Emblem Three Houses, Wolfenstein Youngblood

July, the middle of winter down here in Australia. Even in the bizarre New South Wales climate, the biting cold makes for a great excuse to stay inside and play games. 

Weirdly for single players, quite a few prestige games this month include additional co-op modes. With acclaimed designers behind them, such games will hopefully avoid the pitfalls of accommodating multiple players, as too many games have done in the past.

Sea of Solitude

Release Date: July 5, 2019
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

At first blush, Sea of Solitude looks like yet another story of a young adult struggling with questions of identity and mental health while exploring a beautiful but harsh fantasy world.

Actually, that’s what it is. ‘Quirky, life affirming indie adventure’ is a whole cottage industry these days, but the fact that such games are now more prevalent should never dismay.

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice was a masterpiece of refined design and storytelling, and Sea of Solitude appears be something similar—this time dealing with a fantastical vision of depression that turns ordinary people into literal monsters.

Players take charge of Kay, who has sought out the eponymous Sea—or rather, a flooded city based on Berlin—in the hope that there is a cure for monstrosity. However, despite its name, she is not the only person in the Sea. Avoiding the other monsters of the Sea seems to be a major part of the gameplay. These tense encounters are likely to provide rhythm and variety to the adventure and keep it from being a just walking simulator. (Not that being a walking simulator is inherently a problem.)

Although published by EA Originals, one would do well to remember that EA the company does not actually profit off the Originals that they publish. With a focused story and themes that still are not often explored in bigger games, Sea of Solitude should be of great interest to single player fans in a month otherwise dominated by multiplayer titles.


Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Release Date: July 26, 2019
Platform: Nintendo Switch

Almost certainly the biggest single player release of the month, and tied with Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 as another massive Switch exclusive, Fire Emblem: Three Houses might be exactly what single players need right now.

Lately the Fire Emblem franchise has exploded in both its popular profile and sales success, buoyed by a hunger for both deep anime RPGs and polished tactics games. Three Houses seems to have doubled down on exciting trends and features in both genres: particularly a Persona/Harry Potter inspired magic school setting and an even deeper tactical battle system that ditches the rock-paper-scissors for more nuanced character progression options. As with many Japanese RPGs, the story is also a major focus and hinges upon a time-jump.

The early part casts the player as a teacher at the Officer’s Academy, situated in the center of the game world and attended by students from the three most powerful nations. Five years later, the second and likely larger part concerns the drama between the player’s teacher and their former students, whose nations are now locked in a massive three-way conflict.

As is to be expected for a series finally coming back to consoles after a long time on the 3DS, Three Houses is a massive technical leap over its predecessors. The game boasts better realised battlefields, more detailed armies, and a slick animated style that appears much more consistent compared with the three or four different art styles on the 3DS.

With such improvements, as well as the overall pedigree of the Fire Emblem brand, Three Houses should have no trouble satisfying single player fans looking for a meaty middle-of-the-year RPG.

Wolfenstein: Youngblood

Release Date: July 26, 2019
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One

The recent Wolfenstein revival series is such a remarkable achievement in traditional shooter design and great, if goofy, sci-fi worldbuilding that the co-op focus of this latest instalment is somewhat disappointing.

Yes, as with F.E.A.R. 3 and Dead Space 3, following a well-received second chapter the Wolfenstein series now pivots to a co-operative focused chapter. Though the game is not a mandatory multiplayer experience, combat encounters and puzzles have been redesigned to accommodate the two player mode, giving single players an AI-controlled partner and bullet sponge enemies.

However, all hope is not lost for Wolfenstein: why else would it be the third game on the list? The narrative has been pushed forward in time, as B.J.’s twin daughters are now in their adolescence, now giving players a glimpse at the 1980s of Wolfenstein‘s skewed universe. Additionally, the level design itself is more freeform thanks to development assistance from Arkane, the developers of the Dishonored series.

Will Wolfenstein: Youngblood successfully deliver more of the series’s goofy charm and crazy alternate reality? Almost certainly. On the other hand, will the game be as fun to play alone as in multiplayer? That remains to be seen. Last month’s E3 demo that raised such concerns was naturally only a snapshot of a game in development, so MachineGames and Arkane have had plenty of time to resolve these potential downsides to a co-op focused game.

Those are our three big single player games to look out for this month. Other interesting titles coming soon include Stranger Things 3 on July 4 and Attack on Titan 2 on July 5, both games hitting Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

On July 12 we will see the sequel to an almost-fantastic Minecraft-like RPG spinoff, Dragon Quest Builders 2 on Switch and PlayStation 4, as well as the Switch port of “anime Monster Hunter”, God Eater 3

The week after, July 19 brings us Switch-exclusive Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order, and at an undetermined time during the month Klei Entertainment’s anticipated survival-sim Oxygen Not Included will finally leave early access on PC.

Have we missed anything that you’re looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below and be sure bookmark OnlySP and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. You can also join the discussion in our community Discord server.

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