Disney goes after Clash of Clans with new Star Wars game

The new mobile game, Star Wars Commander, is Disney's latest effort to cash in on the sci-fi franchise it acquired in 2012.

Ian Sherr Contributor and Former Editor at Large / News
Ian Sherr (he/him/his) grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, so he's always had a connection to the tech world. As an editor at large at CNET, he wrote about Apple, Microsoft, VR, video games and internet troubles. Aside from writing, he tinkers with tech at home, is a longtime fencer -- the kind with swords -- and began woodworking during the pandemic.
Ian Sherr
2 min read

Play as the Rebel Alliance or Galactic Empire in this new Clash of Clans-inspired game. Disney / Lucasfilm

Walt Disney thinks the force is strong with this one.

The company unveiled a new strategy game Thursday called Star Wars Commander. The title, which Disney worked on for about 18 months in collaboration with Lucasfilm, mimics the popular Supercell game Clash of Clans, which encourages players to build up armies and towns in an effort to battle one another.

Disney's twist on the genre is the introduction of a strong storyline allowing gamers to choose whether to join the Rebel Alliance or the Galactic Empire shortly after the events of the original 1977 film. Nathan Etter, vice president at Disney's game making division, said the two factions will not only lead players down different storylines, but also generate different types of gameplay.

"We wanted to give players an authentic feel for being a part of the rebellion or the empire," he said, adding that many aspects of the game are drawn from the Star Wars storylines, including its popular characters like Han Solo and Princess Leia.

The game is free to download, but Disney charges for special features to speed up a player's progress through various parts. It will only be available for Apple mobile devices at first, and Disney declined to say when it plans to release the title for competing products.

Disney isn't the first company to attempt to unseat Supercell's popular game, which regularly occupies one of the top spots in Apple's top-grossing game charts, pulling in an estimated $654,000 per day last October.

This Star Wars game also represents the latest time that Lucasfilm or Disney has decided to bring the franchise to a popular genre in mobile gaming . The most famous use was likely when Rovio released Angry Birds Star Wars shortly after Lucasfilm was acquired by Disney for about $4 billion in 2012. A sequel was launched less than a year later .

Disney has since attempted other games as well, but Matthew Fillbrandt, an executive producer at Lucasfilm, said his company and Disney's game making division worked particularly closely on Star Wars Commander.

"We wanted an authentic Star Wars experience," he said, adding the company plans to introduce a new character and various new locations for the game.

To keep Star Wars Commander fresh, Disney plans to add more storylines and other items through downloadable updates. Players will also be able to fight against one another, much like they can in Clash of Clans. But even if they only play the primary storyline, Disney says a dedicated gamer will take about two months to get through the entire game.

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