Now here's an idea that makes a lot of sense: Take World of Warplanes' gameplay and monetization model, slap some Star Wars on top of it, and stand clear of the avalanche of money that's about come your way. That seems like the gist of Disney Interactive's announcement today that it is developing Star Wars Attack Squadrons, a free-to-play space combat game.
Disney said that it will have more information in the coming weeks, but you can already sign up for the beta here .
The press release describes it as a team-based dogfighting multiplayer game with up to 16 players at a time, allowing players to customize popular Star Wars ships from both the Rebel Alliance and Empire. It currently lists three competitive modes: Free For All (deathmatch), Team Dogfight (team deathmatch), and the more intriguing Base Defense.
The game is being developed by Area 52 in conjunction with Disney Interactive and LucasArts. Area 52's official website doesn't list any previous, current or future projects. It doesn't even say where it's located, though a quick lurking on LinkedIn suggests that it's in the Seattle area, where Area 52's CEO Jason Robar is located along with other "industry veterans."
Robar's experience is with free-to-play, browser-based games, and Unity 3D (and the frightening term: Advergaming), which along with the press release stating that Attack Squadrons is an "open web" game might mean that it will be browser-based as well.
Star Wars: Attack Squadrons also promises items, upgrades, and customization for your ship, and regular content updates every month. The whole plane porn aspect of World of Warplanes is completely lost on me since I didn't build models as a kid and am not very interested in the history of aviation. I did, however, pine for X-Wing and Tie Fighter toys, and nerded out over this book detailing every vehicle in Star Wars' universe, so this all poses a real danger to my financial situation.