Update: Kotaku added to their report of the cancellation, including new details behind why the game was canceled in the first place. According to “several more people familiar with EA Vancouver’s now-cancelled open-world Star Wars game,” it was actually canceled because EA felt they needed something sooner. The scope of the project—code-named Orca—was big and development was still early. Schreier’s reporting dug up that Orca “would involve playing as a scoundrel or bounty hunter who could explore various open-world planets and work with different factions across the Star Wars universe.” Sounds a whole lot like Star Wars meets Mass Effect.
Orca’s cancellation makes way for a scaled down Star Wars game that is being targeted for a late 2020 release, putting them on the map as a potential launch window title for next-generation consoles. The update also notes that no one was laid off at EA Vancouver as a result of the cancellation.
Original: Back in October 2017, EA shuttered Visceral Games, the studio most well known for the Dead Space series. Visceral had been working on a Star Wars project, which was shuffled over to EA Vancouver and reworked as an open-world game using the assets from Visceral’s project. A report from Kotaku’s Jason Schreier indicates that EA Vancouver’s open-world Star Wars project has been canceled.
The report cites “three people familiar with goings-on at the company,” but also notes that EA hasn’t responded to any request for comment on the cancellation. That’s not surprising. EA Vancouver’s Star Wars title hasn’t ever formally been announced or shown, but EA has at least acknowledged its existence. Back when it was in Visceral’s hands, the project was simply known as Ragtag, a linear story-driven game directed by Amy Hennig of Uncharted fame. When Visceral was closed and development was shifted to EA Vancouver, EA commented on the need to “pivot the design” in order to “deliver an experience that players will want to come back to and enjoy for a long time to come.” Most assumed that this meant some kind of online multiplayer was being added, but this latest report indicates the shift from linear to open-world design.
The report continues, saying that EA Vancouver is setting out on a new project, one that may be a different Star Wars game. It’s unclear what EA’s motivation is for canceling the open-world Star Wars title, but the storied and messy history of development may have just necessitated a fresh start. Until more details emerge, we can only speculate at the nature of the cancellation. For now, it looks like EA’s current slate of Star Wars games will still be limited to their ongoing support for Battlefront II and Respawn’s Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, which we still have yet to see in action.
REPORT: EA Cancels Open-World Star Wars Game