Or propel it back into the light?
Electronic Arts. Probably the best known game developers ever. But for a bad reason. Infamously, EA has produced triple A rated, of which are extremely average, whilst, most noticeably, with the greatly feared ‘micro-transactions’. Anthem is a key example of a game that EA has produced, which though looked stunning at E3 2016–18, looked less than average and received poor reviews after its late February release. Though the issue of micro transactions have been largely thwarted thanks to gamers, after Star Wars: Battlefront 2s controversial release, the money grabbing reputation of EA has lived on, and since 2017 and 2018 was a poor year in terms of video game releases, Fallen Order, needs, to be good, or it be EA’s next disaster.
Announced back in E3s 2018 conference, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order has been likely the most anticipated Star Wars game since EA’s (surprisingly successful) rerelease of the Star Wars Battlefront series. It's a single player story, where you play as a rogue Jedi Padawan, recently escaping the wrath of Order 66, now helping Saw Gerrera’s Rebel cause; it's the culmination of what fans have been wanting for a long time, and finally EA has listened. Its recent gameplay has proven its exactly what fans have been wanting; the Assassins Creed type gameplay and combat, but in a Star Wars setting, it's pretty much as perfect as it could get.
But EA’s audiences has been catfished by the developers before; Anthem, despite its overwhelmingly visually stunning gameplay, storyline and ideas and originality, it failed miserably. The lies EA presented at E3 created something overhyped to such an extent, it ruined Anthems chance at any success, in summer 2019, only four months after its release, it has less players than Battlefield 1, a 2016 release. Even though we’ve seen gameplay from Fallen Order and have heard EAs descriptions of the game, its only what EA has given us. They are spoon feeding us the good bits. But that's a given with all advertising on any media. But given the fact that EA has quite a strong history with false, or misleading advertising (but not as much as Hello Games — the creators of No Mans Sky), could Fallen Order really just be another car crash of a game?
The answer to this, in the short term, is easy — no. Releasing less than a month before the last installment of the Star Wars Trilogy, Star Wars Episode Nine: The Rise of Skywalker, the hype train for last movie of the nine piece saga will inevitably leak into gaming, and in excitement, Fallen Order will sell out fairly quickly. But so did No Man's Sky, with a few million players in the games first week — a success — in the short term. In the long term, the backlash for the false marketing and other aspects of the game (which I shan't detail — it's a long list), was the biggest for any game release ever. Millions stopped playing after a few days. In the long term it was a disaster (but three years later, its stitched up its reputation and is now rated ‘very positive’ on steam). So in the long term, it may not do as well, depending on how well the advertised version stacks up against the real version.
Compared to Anthem, Fallen Order has a major advantage. Its Star Wars. Despite the current state of Star Wars, with the last film release, Solo: A Star Wars Story, hugely under performing, people still love the franchise. It's the prequels and originals that are preferred though, as in some fans view, Disney has somewhat butchered the saga with Episode Seven and especially Episode Eight. But that's the games advantage; set between Episode Three and Four, the favourite time period of most fans, with the recent birth of Darth Vader and in it being largely unexplored in the films despite so much being inferred to be occurring, it’ll invigorate fans with the Star Wars that they’ve been missing since the sequels.
Though Anthem was an original idea, it drew from many dating ideas, like Destiny and Warframe, which is where it's downfall originated from; people got quickly bored of these over exploited, open world, RPG ideas, of which Anthem was too late to the party to jump onto. Relating to Assassins Creed like combat and gameplay, Fallen Order is using a model that has worked for decades; mixed with a period of Star Wars that everyone loves, it will undoubtedly be popular, if EA successfully delivers.
In terms of genre, Fallen Order has been dubbed ‘a linear open world game’. Now that's slightly confusing as these two genres are almost polar opposites, but according to EA, this linear open world, is a setting where you complete missions that force you to play in certain open world areas, encouraging exploration; but it's still not entirely clear. The Battlefront 2 story was entirely linear, so it won’t be anything like that. Destiny 2 was largely open world, and though story oriented, it encouraged exploration to quite a large extent. Its likely that Fallen Order will be somewhere in between (probably — EA’s never really been very good at communication). It sounds like something worth exploring, and to many, just the fact that's it's been branded as an open world star wars game, millions will flood to get their hands on it.
But if in the long term it fails and is a disappointment, not only will EA have another failure economically and in its declining reputation, but they’ll be another wave of hate directed towards EA. The company need this boost to stay afloat in the industry. As this is the last Star Wars game they’ll produce, because Disney has revoked EA’s contract over Star Wars Games, they’ll try and finish on a high note (or it could just be there last effort to rip enough money off of the fans as possible). But this needs to be a success, as after they have the licence for Star Wars revoked, it could be more difficult for them to push for the selling of new games, like Anthem, pushing EA into further decline. But with Dice and Ubisoft under their wings, EA will probably be able to produce games a long time after Fallen Order, no matter its success.
Based on the fact that it releases perfectly around the time of Episode Nine, whereas also being set in a fan favorite period of Star Wars, in a much loved style reminiscent of Assassin's Creed, in a (presumably) open world, with a canon story, it ticks all the boxes for what fans have been wanting for a long time. As long as EA has leant from its mistakes from Anthem’s marketing, Fallen Order is likely to be a great long term success; EA’s reputation could be led back into the light.