My god, everything seem to happen when I’m asleep, but it’s now been reported that EA Vancouver’s open world Star Wars game has been permanently shelved by publisher Electronic Arts, not long after the title changed hands from the now shuttered Visceral Studios last year.
Visceral Studios, which is best known for the popular Dead Space game series, was developing its own Star Wars game. Which was code-named Ragtag, a linear action-adventure Star Wars game directed by Uncharted director Amy Hennig. It sounded promising, a proper story driven game. We even got a glimpse of what could have been as well back in 2016:
EA Vancouver had been assisting on the project, and when EA closed Visceral Games back in October 17 of 2017, the Vancouver studio then took over the project. It was said that Vancouver rebooted the project the game entirely, keeping some of the art assets but transforming it into an open-world game.
And now, that project is cancelled too.
The cancelled game (which was code-named Orca), apparently would see you playing as a bounty hunter who could explore various open-world planets and work with different factions across the Star Wars universe, was based on a desire to produce a Star Wars game in time for the release of Sony’s Play Station 5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Project Scarlett. Apparently, this smaller title is internally aiming for a late 2020 release date.
So when EA’s “top decision-makers” looked at the road map for the next few years for their Star Wars games and decided that they needed something earlier than the planned release date for “Orca”, according to two people familiar with what happened to the now cancelled game. Cancelling “Orca” in favour of a smaller-scale Star Wars project for a late 2020 release.
Those same people did say, to EA’s credit, the publisher has not laid anyone off as part of this transition. And that this news comes at a time of “cost-cutting” across the industry. Though there “might” (just in case don’t get your hopes up) some employee at Vancouver are hoping that “Orca” might be restarted after this new project is finished. So fingers crossed.
Since the EA was given the Star Wars Licence to publish Star Wars games, we’ve seen two. (Three if you count Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order which is due out later this year) In the span of seven years. Both receiving mixed reactions from the Star Wars fan community. Either to do with content (more like lack of) or EA’s shady business practises.
EA you have a, no the licence to one of the biggest franchises in the world: Star Wars. A franchise that is loved by millions. It’s one of those films (there’s few of them) that explodes a child’s imagination upon viewing. And you only have a few more years of it left. There’s so much you could do with the Star Wars licence, it’s untrue. Heck even I brought up a suggestion on an idea for a game.
For those that didn’t click a brief outline, imagine something like Elite Dangerous, Star Citizen and Everspace. But Star Wars. Choose a Planet/Species and fly around the Star Wars Galaxy in your own ship. Do jobs, engage in dog fights, join a Faction, go to a Shipyard and have a cruiser built and jump into a Space Battle.
Surely you can do better EA, because it is possible that when your contract is up, Disney may go else where. Given how fans & Disney have reacted thus far. Let your developers create, stop restricting them.
Written by: Connor Heggie