Good morning, happy Groundhog’s Day! Reports have emerged Electronic Arts has canceled yet another Star Wars game. The open-world third-person action game in development since 2017 has been shelved according to a report from Kotaku.
Development on the unnamed Star Wars game commenced in October 2017 following the shutdown of Visceral Games and its own unannounced cinematic third-person action Star Wars title. The new game in development was intended to use the work done by Visceral to spin off into a new ongoing open-world Star Wars.
Tracing this story backward, Visceral’s Star Wars project was canceled “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.” By that we understood it to be an ongoing experience designed around recurrent user spending. According to Kotaku, this project was codename Orca and it involved bounty hunting across open-world planets, playing various factions against one another.
Then, in March 2018, EA began hiring for a AAA open-world online Star Wars game. This sounded like the same product, possibly chasing the Destiny/Division style of shared open-worlds and PvE content. In June of that year, ex-Naughty Dog director Amy Hennig parted ways with EA. This was followed by producer Jade Raymond, of Assassin’s Creed fame, also leaving EA in October. A lot of big names jumping ship, a canceled game, a rebooted project, and now yet another cancellation.
EA’s “top decision-makers” decided Orca was going to take too long to develop and thus called the project to a halt. In order to salvage something from this sorry mess, they have allegedly decided on a smaller-scale Star Wars project that they believe can be turned around quickly and will be ready to launch in late 2020, potentially for next-gen consoles. They’ve scrapped a game in development for several years in order to begin another game which will be in development for less than two years. The way that EA has tried and failed to chase after trends with this IP over the last five years, I’ll eat my hat if this project isn’t Star Wars Battlefront hastily repurposed for Battle Royale. Watch this space.
I can only begin to fathom the billions and billions of dollars EA has left on the table by repeatedly screwing up its use of the Star Wars license. We’ve had four new Star Wars movies in the past four years, the franchise has arguably never been bigger. The only new AAA Star Wars games? Star Wars Battlefront and its ill-judged sequel. EA has screwed up this opportunity in a huge way. A Star Wars game is practically guaranteed to sell millions and you couldn’t move for new Star Wars games during the 20 years prior. It’s a sad state of affairs for Star Wars fans, although there remains a beacon of hope in the shape of Respawn’s Star Wars: Jedi - Fallen Order, which is rumoured to be out later this year.