According to reports from those close to the studio, publishing giant Electronic Arts has canceled its open-world Star Wars project. Originally developed by Visceral Games, the game has since continued its development under the arm of EA Vancouver.
First reported by Jason Schreier of Kotaku, the Vancouver based studio had been developing the project since October 2017, when EA shut down Visceral, While the project was under development at Visceral at the time of closure, reports suggest that the development of the game had changed quite drastically since the Vancouver studio took control. Code-named Ragtag, the game centered around a linear action-adventure play-style, with Uncharted director Amy Hennig leading the project. Since taken it over, EA’s in-house studio replaced much of the game, outside of a handful of art assets, to fit their open-world gameplay.
EA Vancouver handles support for multiple franchises within EA, including FIFA and Battlefront, with the Ragtag being a main focus with a portion of those within the studio. While it is not clear what EA Vancouver’s next project will be, but Scheier suggests that it may fall within the Star Wars IP.
In 2013, Disney and EA signed an exclusive, 10 year licensing agreement for EA to publish Star Wars games developed by then Visceral Games, DICE, BioWare, and now Respawn Entertainment. While the deal is approaching its sixth year, it has only beared witness to two console experiences (Battlefront 1 & 2), along with the mobile experience Galaxy of Heroes (iOS and Android). With the poor reception to both Battlefield entries from DICE, along with multiple game cancelations for the series, one must ask, at what point does Disney explore its options with the IP, including terminating its agreement with EA?
Respawn Entertainment, an EA owned studio, announced at EA Play event at E3 2018 that they were currently developing a new single-player, narrative driven Star Wars game, titled Jedi: Fallen Order. The game is currently scheduled for a 2019 release, with many expecting to see the game hit store shelves this fall.
We will continue to provide more information as it becomes available.
UPDATE (1/16/19): More details have began to surface since our previous post. Schreier notes those close to the project, codenamed Orca, have detailed that it would’ve set players in the role of a scoundrel or bounty hunter who could explore various open-world planets and work with different factions across the Star Wars universe. He also notes that the game was quite early in development, and that when EA’s top decision maker’s examined their internal road map for the next handful of years, they decided they wanted to get a project out sooner rather than later. Enter a new, smaller-scale project that EA and their Motive studio will be heading, that is planned to launch as early as 2020 (also noting this would line up well with the rumored 2020 launch of next generation hardware, although none of this has been confirmed). Also important to note that EA did not lay off anyone as part of this transition, and possibly rebooting the Ragtag project (technically again) isn’t off the table in the future.