With the fate of the Jedi-loving hordes precious Star Wars franchise having been taken over by everyone’s favourite mouse and friends, a number of concerns and complaints have been voiced rather loudly. Well the Disney empire strikes back with their first game as owners, Star Wars: Attack Squadrons and it looks rather good indeed, giving us all a new hope that everything is not lost.
There’s no doubt that the fans of Star Wars are probably the most loyal, die-hard, enthusiastic fans of all, showcased in the absolute mass of media, merchandise, and collectibles that exist, not to mention the huge world of cosplay that can be found when delving into the galaxy far, far away. When combining Star Wars with video games, it can be a bit of a hit or miss, with each one leaving the community feeling either elated or devastated, respectively.
So with this new game announced, and held within the clutches of a new parent company, the fans are feeling a bit nervous. After all, this is their first game, and regardless of games released after this, Star Wars: Attack Squadrons, will set the tone for everything else to come. If the game is a success, we will all have renewed faith in Disney, and excitement over the upcoming films will be at an all-time high. If however, it is a disappointment, it will be a huge setback for Disney, and they will start on a long uphill struggle, having to battle heavy criticism around every corner.
Of course, what has happened with this new game is that it appeals to the hardcore fans, particularly those who played X-Wing Vs. TIE Fighter. We asked our community all about their most and least favourite Star Wars games, and the amount that X Vs.TIE came up was, well, a lot. So releasing a game that looks more or less exactly the same, but with much improved graphics (or so we hope, as it’s sixteen years later), is no doubt going to cause a buzz.
We’ve had some great Star Wars games in the past, from space simulators, like the aforementioned X-Wing Vs. TIE Fighter to RPGs like BAFTA award winning Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. They had a new generation of fans playing cooperatively with their friends on Jedi Power Battles and on an even larger scale on Star Wars Galaxies (pre disastrous overhaul of course). More recent titles have let us enjoy a more personal journey with Starkiller in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed as well as oodles of casual fun with the hugely popular LEGO Star Wars Series.
We’ve also been let-down with the still-a-bit-toofresh cancellation of Star Wars 1313 at the hands of The Walt Disney company themselves. After being announced and even revealed at E3 2012, it felt like a real kick in the teeth to anyone who had hopes of playing it. Even now there is a flicker of possibility that it might still make it to our PCs and even consoles but that light seems to be fading fast, leaving behind a rather disappointed community.
Needless to say with the ups and downs that we, as Star Wars fans, and gamers have experienced, we really have our hopes pinned on this one, and it could potentially be super-awesome, but there are a few questions that need to be asked. Star Wars: Attack Squadrons will be a free-to-play online game, with customisable ships that you collect. Free… customising… collecting… you know where this is heading; microtransactions. Microtransactions are the pet peeve of many a gamer, especially when they are of the game changing variety. In this case, when applied to a franchise that has such dedicated fans, who will want, or even need to collect everything in the game, they could end up spending an absolute fortune.
Disney need to be really careful here, because if they produce a microtransactions-orientated game, with new content to buy every month, compelling you to collect more, they could piss off a lot of people. At the end of the day, we don’t know until its release just how it is going to work, but how long can our nerves can hold out? Not much longer.