Blockbuster films are generally followed by video game tie-ins. A couple of years ago those video games took the form of console titles that told mainly the same story as the film, but more recently they’ve changed to mobile, where it’s cheaper and faster to develop a game alongside a movie. However, no matter the platform, these games are almost universally dreadful. Due to this, the most awaited movie of 2015 will not have a standard movie game – rather, it will have several smaller tie-ins. Although there is no video game called Star Wars: The Force Awakens, there’s a whole pile of titles that highlight J. J. Abrams’ new movie through downloadable content as well as other add-ons.
The biggest part in the Star Wars onslaught is Battlefront, a multiplayer shooter than occurs during the incidents of the original trilogy. It’s basically nostalgia in video game form, including amazingly accurate sound design. However, a new add-on launched this week allows gamers to explore the “Battle of Jakku,” an event referred to in the upcoming movie, but never quite explored before. However, Battlefront is definitely not the only game to touch on the new film. Disney Infinity 3.0, the first game in the toys-to-life sequence to introduce Star Wars characters, will release an expansion on December 18 that covers the new movie, and involves toys based on characters like Ren, Kylo, Rey and Finn.
There are also several mobile games. Strategy title Star Wars: Commander, which was initially released last year, was updated recently with new units and a planet inspired by The Force Awakens, while Star Wars: Uprising released a new update on Thursday that allows players to learn Force powers and even carry a lightsaber. It’s a big update that brings the game nearer to the movie in terms of the timeline. At the same time, EA just launched Galaxy of Heroes, which mixes together characters from every period of Star Wars for a free-to-play collectible RPG where you make teams of iconic Star Wars characters.
With The Force Awakens, the final edit of the movie was only recently finished, making it nearly impossible for a game studio to create a compelling experience that closely reflects the film and releases at the same time. Rather, Disney, EA, and their partners are making much smaller experiences and attaching them onto existing Star Wars games.
Basically, each game provides a small taste of the upcoming movie, and each game provides a very different experience. For instance, the fast-paced action of Battlefront is perfect for showing off a huge battle, giving gamers a real sense of the size and scale of the battle by actually placing them there. Meanwhile, the more story-driven Uprising was a better option for filling in some of the holes between the original trilogy and the upcoming films.
As more and more Star Wars movies are released, the multi-game approach is something Disney and EA plan to continue, but it possibly might not be a strategy that can be applied to other franchises.