The cancellation of the Electronic Entertainment Expo, commonly known as E3, has left a void in the gaming industry, particularly concerning interviews with key developers and industry leaders.
E3 was an annual gathering where game developers, publishers, and industry figures converged to showcase their latest projects, making it a prime opportunity for interviews and insights. However, without this event, securing interviews with elusive figures like Sean Shoptaw, Disney’s head of gaming, becomes even more challenging.
Sean Shoptaw, overseeing Disney’s gaming division and its impressive portfolio of intellectual properties, including Star Wars, Marvel, and 20th Century Fox properties, has earned a reputation for being rarely accessible to the press.
Yet, he wields significant influence in the industry. Despite his infrequent appearances in interviews, Shoptaw recently hinted at the status of the highly-anticipated Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Remake. His comments suggest that the project is still alive and may continue with a new developer, though release dates remain uncertain.
In a recent interview with Axios, Shoptaw commented,
“Not a lot I can say on that point for some hopefully obvious reasons, but KOTOR is obviously an incredibly popular game, one that we are incredibly proud of and think that there’s still a lot of demand for. I’ll leave it there.”
Shoptaw’s role extends beyond Disney’s gaming interests to encompass Lucasfilm Games and a sizable team of producers and business development executives.
While he acknowledges past challenges, such as the mixed success of Marvel console games, he expresses the willingness to collaborate with studios again, emphasizing the inherent difficulties in game development.
Choosing the right developers: A delicate balance
The Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Remake project raised eyebrows when Disney entrusted it to a relatively small and inexperienced studio. Shoptaw’s interview, however, sheds no light on whether the project has transitioned to a more suitable developer, leaving fans and industry observers eager for additional details.
During the interview, Shoptaw provided some insights into Disney’s approach to game development. Unlike some companies, Disney prefers not to shop concepts and intellectual properties to other firms but instead welcomes external studios to approach them with their ideas.
This approach led to a collaboration with MachineGames, the studio behind the upcoming Indiana Jones game.
“They pitched us a really compelling vision for Indy, and that resonated.”
The collaboration with MachineGames, which is owned by Bethesda, has raised questions about exclusivity, as the Indiana Jones game is set to be an Xbox console exclusive.
Shoptaw defended this decision, noting that Xbox remains a significant marketplace for games and that it made sense financially and strategically for the project.
In-depth insights remain elusive
While Shoptaw’s interview provides valuable tidbits about Disney’s gaming strategy and ongoing projects, it falls short of offering in-depth insights into the company’s operations or the specific games they are developing.
Many industry figures and companies maintain a surface-level approach to interviews, limiting the depth of information available to the public and leaving fans hungry for more substantial details.