EA has reportedly canceled the unannounced open-world Star Wars game in development at EA Vancouver.
Kotaku has reported that three different sources familiar with the game’s development verified the cancellation. This was the Star Wars project that rose from the ashes of the canned Visceral Games Star Wars project, code-named Ragtag—you know, the one that was under direction of Uncharted’s Amy Hennig and eventually caused Visceral’s untimely closure.
Since reports about the game’s cancellation first surfaced, more details about the project have emerged. Code-named Orca, the project was still “very early in development” and would put players in the role of a bounty hunter that could take jobs from various factions. It’s unclear, however, when on the Star Wars timeline this game would have taken place.
So why was it canceled? According to sources, the game was just too darn big, and EA needed a game to launch sooner than when Orca would have launched. Specifically, EA wanted a Star Wars game to launch in late 2020 when next-gen consoles are rumored to launch, but it sounds like Orca wouldn’t have made the cut. Now, EA is looking to develop a “smaller-scale Star Wars project” to hit that deadline.
Thankfully, this cancellation hasn’t caused EA to close its Vancouver studio, at least for the time being. In fact, in response to these reports, EA released a statement to IGN stating that the “great work by our team in Vancouver continues and will evolve into future Star Wars content and games” and that the publisher is fully committed to making more Star Wars games.” That makes it sound like Vancouver is still working on a Star Wars title, but that it’s pivoting the work it’s done so far into a new direction.
The irony in Orca‘s cancellation (besides the fact that it was internally referring to an open-world, live service title as a species of whale) is that EA canceled Ragtag because it was a smaller, story-based experience that didn’t fit with “fundamental shifts in the marketplace” that supposedly demanded more live-service, open-world titles. Now, EA is in desperate need of a smaller, more manageable Star Wars project, and it’s scrapping its live-service project.
EA already has a couple of other Star Wars projects in the works. Respawn Entertainment’s Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is scheduled to launch in 2019, and EA Motive is also working on a Star Wars game, though it’s unclear what that game is or how development is going after the departure of studio founder Jade Raymond. After its loot box debacle with Star Wars Battlefront II, EA’s future as the sole publisher of Star Wars titles came into question, and another canceled Star Wars project can’t help mend those previous wounds to its relationship with Disney.