[Updated] Open-World Star Wars Game Cancelled By EA

Published: January 15, 2019 9:17 PM /


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[Update] Last night, Kotaku's Jason Schreier clarified some of his article to give a reason why the Star Wars game was cancelled.

According to Schreier, the game, code-named Orca,  was in very early stages of development, and would see the player as a scoundrel or bounty hunter who would explore various open-world planets while working for different factions.

Because it was in an early stage, EA's top brass, after looking over their roadmap for releases over the next few years, decided that they needed a game to be released earlier than Orca's planned release date. The decision was to cancel Orca in favor of a smaller-scale Star Wars project that could be released much sooner - like late 2020 according to the sources. Schrier also notes that 2020 is around the timetable that next-generation consoles are planned to launch, meaning this new, smaller scale Star Wars game might be a candidate for a launch title on hypothetical systems.

The sources also noted that EA did not lay off anyone over this transition, meaning the entirety of the EA Motive and Vancouver studios team is intact. There is also speculation that project Orca may be revived after the smaller-scale Star Wars game is released.

[Original Story]It looks like another Star Wars game has been canceled by EA.

According to Jason Schreier of Kotaku, several inside sources have informed him that EA has quietly canceled the planned Open-World Star Wars game that has been in development since 2017 in their Vancouver offices.

The game, originally being developed by Visceral Games, was first a linear action title that was being directed by Uncharted director Amy Hennig.  Codenamed Ragtag, EA Vancouver was assisting Visceral on the project at first, until the studio was shut down in 2017. The reasons for the shutdown of Visceral were discussed by Schreier previously, noting clashes between Hennig and the staff, an overextended budget and problems with the Frostbite Engine, among others. EA Vancouver took over the bulk of the development, along with the newly created EA Motive Studios, which expanded in 2018 under the EA Worldwide brand.

Ragtag was fully rebooted, into a planned open-world game of some kind, utilizing some of the art assets from the Visceral version of the game. Both EA Vancouver and EA Motive would work on the project before its now rumored cancellation. At the time of Visceral's closing Patrick Söderlund, Chief Design Officer at EA made the following statement.

Throughout the development process, we have been testing the game concept with players, listening to the feedback about what and how they want to play, and closely tracking fundamental shifts in the marketplace, it has become clear that to deliver an experience that players will want to come back to and enjoy for a long time to come, we needed to pivot the design.
That game never got far into development, though the reasons why are unclear. What EA plans to do with their exclusive Star Wars license, which gives the company rights to develop Star Wars games under a ten year period, is unknown at this time.

Quick Take

Schreier is a reliable source when it comes to these rumors, so I don't really doubt that the game was quietly canceled. There can be many reasons why this game got axed too. Maybe the cost was too high, or maybe Disney had a hand in it as well, causing more clashes that were similar to the problems seen with Battlefront 2. Or, it just wasn't fun and EA is cutting their losses and going back to the drawing board.

We never saw anything substantial for the game, and we are far removed from Ragtag, so it may be for the best. Start fresh and think of another way to use the license. EA still has five years left on it before they re-negotiate, and outside of mobile games and the Battlefront series, there are still endless possibilities to be had. The question now is what can they, or what are they allowed, to make? 

What are your thoughts on all of this? Do you believe the rumors? Leave your comments below. 

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| Staff Writer

A longtime player of games, creator of worlds, and teacher of minds. Robert has worked many positions over the years, from college professor to education… More about Robert