Research by developer Motive Studios has revealed that all Star Wars fans want to be the franchise’s biggest fan, which they have yet to realize would require them to stop complaining about it for five seconds.
During the recent Develop conference, EA Motive general manager Jade Raymond discussed the research that her studio has done on the Star Wars brand and its fans. This produced the (somewhat unsurprising) revelation that a key drive behind Star Wars fans wanting to learn as much of the brand’s lore as possible is simply so they can feel superior to their peers.
“You do have to hit Star Wars fans’ expectations,” Raymond said. “Star Wars fans look for authenticity. That’s super, super important. And actually, interestingly enough, the number one motivator for either fans of playing Star Wars games or looking to participate in the Star Wars universe in any way is to become the number one fan. So, basically, to beat their friends at Star Wars trivia.”
“It’s funny,” she continued, “but the number one motivator for most people is that I could, if I do this, I will learn a new little tidbit—it’s a very gamer way of thinking!—about the universe that I can then lord over my friends because I knew this and you didn’t, right? I know it seems funny, but we’ve spent a lot of time talking to Star Wars fans and Star Wars gamers, and that’s the number one motivator for everyone: learning more so they can be the number one expert.”
The 2013 multi-year licensing deal that gave EA exclusive rights to publish Star Wars games has allowed the publisher to create canonical content under the Star Wars brand, which, as Raymond explained, is very important to fans wishing to stay topical. This level of fan attention and scrutiny isn’t always to the benefit of those making the games, with missteps like the cancellation of Visceral’s Star Wars title and the Star Wars Battlefront II loot box controversy leading to widespread backlash. In spite of this, the developers under EA’s roof are offered a reasonable amount of say in the conception of new titles that wear the Star Wars label.
“Each studio can put together a pitch of a game they’d like to make within the Star Wars brand,” Raymond said. “DICE made the pitch for Battlefront. Now we have Respawn that’s working on a game that was just announced at EA Play called Jedi: Fallen Order. Each studio pitches what game they want to make. My role is looking across those pitches, how can we line them up? Obviously, we don’t want to be releasing four Star Wars games in one year. We don’t want to have all our games be Jedi games. It would be good to have some that are focusing on different types of gameplay and different player fantasies.”
Raymond has been making the rounds lately, discussing what is next for Star Wars and her studio. In a recent Game Informer interview, Raymond revealed that her studio’s redirection of Visceral’s cancelled project could use far more assets from the original concept than previously thought, and in the same interview, fans learned that her studio is also currently busy with another, separate project.