My nephew's favourite iPhone game will be pulled from iTunes later this week because the people who released the game are losing the Star Wars licence. This is what happens when video games are sold only as official downloads and not on discs. On any given day, they can disappear, and you may never be able to buy them again.
The vanishing Star Wars game is called Star Wars Arcade: Falcon Gunner. It uses an iPhone's camera so you can treat the outside world like it's the full of swarming TIE fighters. You're in a turret, shooting them down like you're Luke Skywalker and you're getting cocky.
The game came out in November and got some hype when its creators set it up atop the Empire State Building and saved New York City from Imperial Invasion. It got another round of hype over Christmas when I showed it to my nephew and he started blasting bad guys.
Falcon Gunner will be pulled from iTunes after March 31, according to Josh Shabtai, the game's creative director who runs a small development studio called Vertigore. Shabatai says the game is getting delisted because publisher THQ Wireless lost their deal with the Star Wars licensing people. In a blog post, he praises them and Apple for their support, hypes his new games and mixes sadness with the recognition that his game fulfilled a 27-year-old dream: "We had a good run. We got to make a friggin' Star Wars game!"
Shabtai may be coming to peace with this, though he laments that we'll never get to see a Battle For Endor expansion nor the iPad 2 version of the game. He also signals a more severe threat: that all the Star Wars games on iTunes might vanish at the end of March 31. If true, that would mean no more Star Wars: Trench Run, no more Star Wars; Battle for Hoth, no more Star Wars: The Force Unleashed on iTunes, the App Store equivalent to when the Emperor ordered the simultaneous extermination of all of the Jedi.
We're checking in with THQ and Star Wars gaming company LucasArts for comment about which games are going where and what the future of Star Wars gaming on iPhone and iPad gaming will be. For now, we've got one game confirmed as being pulled. We'll keep you posted on what more we hear.
This is, perhaps, a cautionary tale of what gaming could be like if we couldn't buy games on discs and only in formats locked to specific digital stores.
If you want to buy Star Wars Arcade: Falcon Gunner, click here before the end of the month.
It Is A Dark Time For The Rebellion [Shabtallica]