Star Wars is a genre that’s been well-suited for the real-time strategy (RTS) genre, so it’s weird to think that the last time that it’s been done in a computer game format was with 2006’s Star Wars: Empire at War and that game’s expansion, Forces of Corruption. However, it does not seem like this is the end for Star Wars games in this format, as the director of Empire at War has discussed the possibility of making a sequel to the game with Electronic Arts, who currently have an exclusive license to make Star Wars games until the end of 2023.
Ted Morris directed the original Empire at War, and his name has recently popped up in the spotlight with last year’s announcement that the original Command and Conquer game, along with Command and Conquer: Red Alert, would be getting 4K remasters. The Petroglyph Games developer has been involved with multiple prior Command and Conquer titles, so it seems inevitable that someone would ask him about whether or not there would be a new Star Wars game made in the same genre. As it turns out, the person asking him was not a journalist, but a fan!
In this Reddit post by MegaJake95, he sent an e-mail to Morris asking about whether or not the possibility of a remaster, sequel, or reimagining of Empire at War could actually happen at EA, noting that their sudden interest in the long-dormant Command and Conquer IP makes it seem like developing more RTS games could be on the table. To his surprise, Morris explained that he has spoken with EA, and while all hands are on deck making the new Command and Conquer collection as great as it can be, there’s clear interest at the company in revisiting Empire at War.
The image of the exchange has been mirrored below (click on the image to see it in a higher resolution):
From the sound of things, it seems like any hypothetical new Empire at War game would be a new take on the concept, given that the original game featured lots of content from the Star Wars Legends iteration of the universe. Some of that stuff no longer jives with what Lucasfilm have made in the years following the release of Forces of Corruption, so a new take would make more sense. One thing that a new Empire at War game could do that the original didn’t would be to explore new eras in the Star Wars universe; there’s a popular fan mod called Republic at War that does the same thing for the Republic/Confederacy era, but there’s no real total-conversion mod for the First Order/Resistance era. It would be great to see those eras explored in an official capacity by the people behind some of the best games in the RTS genre.
As someone who has expressed disappointment with EA’s prior mismanagement of the Star Wars license, I would have to say that a move of greenlighting a new take on Empire at War would be an effective step in regaining consumer trust. EA’s Celebration Chicago panel is said to be heavy on Star Wars gaming news with Jedi: Fallen Order, so while I doubt that an announcement would happen that soon, it would be great to hear about a new Empire at War game there. With three to four years left in the exclusivity clause of their contract, EA have a good amount of time to develop a new Star Wars RTS, and since the sequel trilogy will be wrapped up at that point, they’ll have plenty of content to utilize for as many as three eras of Star Wars battles. Hopefully, the Empire at War series will see new life in it yet, and EA will realize that they should take a shot at this opportunity before some other publisher snatches it away from them.