UPDATE: Because of all the noise Kotaku made when reporting the pulling of Star Wars Arcade: Falcon Gunner, LucasArts has allowed the game to stay on the App Store. For now. There may not be any kind of timescale for when the game has to come off but you can be sure that one day it will so if you’re at al interested, you may want to pick it up sooner rather than later. The cynic in me is saying the move is nothing more than a publicity stunt aimed at obtaining those last few purchases while the situation is still fresh in our minds. The rest of me thinks it’s LucasArts doing something cool for someone else.
In November last year, I reported about an iPhone game that uses the Star Wars license in a new and interesting way by incorporating an Augmented Reality feature. Star Wars Arcade: Falcon Gunner put you in the seat of the Millennium Falcon’s gun turrets, filling the screen with TIE fighters as you twist and turn to shoot them all down. I bought it, I played it. It’s cool though my compass kept crapping out on me obscuring the view for some reason but still, SWA:FG is a fun and innovative little shooter. Or it least it will be remembered that way because come March 31st, the game will be yanked from the App Store, possibly for good (via Kotaku).
The reason isn’t sinister or anything to do with Apple themselves but an unfortunate loss of licensing. THQ Wireless who had held the right to distribute Vertigore’s Falcon Gunner which uses the intellectual property of LucasArts. But THQ have lost those rights meaning the distribution of games using it has to stop. In the world where that distribution is digital, Falcon Gunner will simply disappear. If you already own it like I do, fear not, nothing is going to happen to your copy or at least that’s the general consensus, it just won’t be able to be downloaded ever again.
Why this particularly sucks is how it highlights one of the problems to a future where games are sold only via digital distribution like some industry insiders believe will happen. With a physical disc, you’re more likely to find a copy kicking around in various locations if production halts or you could even borrow it from a mate. It’s a lot harder if not impossible to do the same when the process is purely digital.