EA's Open-World Star Wars Game Has Now Reportedly Been Canceled
You all may have forgotten about this one; I know I certainly did. That's because for a long while now, EA has gone completely silent about their in-development open world Star Wars game over at EA Vancouver. In case that doesn't ring any bells, maybe this will: The story-based Star Wars game that was formerly being headed by Naughty Dog's Amy Hennig and developed by Visceral Games (of Dead Space fame). A lot has gone on with this project, and the course of its development has been tossed and turned pretty much every direction imaginable. Now, reports are coming in that the game has been outright canceled. These reports come in from sources speaking to website Kotaku, and are referred to as "three people familiar with goings-on at the company". What a rough time for this game, huh?
Back before this Star Wars game was being developed as an open world title, it sat in the hands of Visceral Games. In a surprise twist, Amy Hennig joined the project and team at Visceral after her departure from Naughty Dog. Soon after, reports suggested that with her writing chops, the game was shaping up to be a more linear, story-focused Star Wars game ala Uncharted (which she wrote). The game was codenamed Ragtag at this time, presumably because it dealt with a team of 'ragtag' smugglers within Star Wars' universe. Then, the bad news hit. On October 17th, 2017, EA shut down Visceral Games. It was an abrupt and sudden blow for both Hennig and the team at Visceral, and led to the changing of hands for Ragtag. EA Vancouver, who had previously been assisting on the project, took over full development control. It was from there that the game's style shifted entirely, going from a linear experience to something more open world.
Despite that, we've never actually seen any footage of the project outside of a very short clip provided at E3 many years ago before Visceral's closure. It didn't take long for fan outcry to get sent EA's way, with many accusing the studio of changing the project because linear, story-centric games weren't deemed as popular or marketable. Whether that's the case has been left uncertain, but statements from EA themselves certainly painted that picture. "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," EA said at the time of Visceral's shutdown. "A development team from across EA Worldwide Studios will take over development of this game, led by a team from EA Vancouver that has already been working on the project." Essentially, the more grounded and linear approach that Ragtag was originally going for wasn't cutting it.
As for why in the world the game has been canceled now, Kotaku later received further reports indicating that this Star Wars game (entitled Orca) was canceled in favor of yet another new game on a much smaller scale. The reports suggest this was to meet deadlines, and this new, smaller project is expected in 2020. Multiple sites have reached out to EA for confirmation, including Kotaku themselves, with no word back as of this writing. While this Star Wars project may be axed, there's still stuff to look forward to where that series is concerned. After all, it was announced at E3 2018 that Titanfall developer Respawn is actively working on their own Star Wars title. It's expected to launch in Fall of this year, and is going by the title of Jedi: Fallen Order. Not much is known about what direction the game will take yet, as there hasn't been any footage of it either. Considering Respawn's history, however, the game could certainly shine in both single player and multiplayer respects. As far as the series timeline is concerned, Fallen Order takes place shortly after Star Wars: Episode III during "the dark times". For the full report on EA's seemingly-canceled Star Wars game, check out Kotaku's original report.