EA announced it’s shutting down Visceral Games and shifting the production of the Dead Space and Battlefield Hardline studio’s untitled Star Wars project to a development team led by EA Vancouver, which will take the game in a completely different direction.
“Our Visceral studio will be ramping down and closing, and we’re in the midst of shifting as many of the team as possible to other projects and teams at EA,” EA executive vice president Patrick Söderlund announced in a recent statement.
According to Söderlund, due to “fundamental shifts in the marketplace,” the Visceral Star Wars game, code-named “Project Ragtag,” will move away from being a “story-based, linear adventure game” and move closer to a “broader experience that allows for more variety and player agency, leaning into the capabilities of our Frostbite engine and re-imagining central elements of the game to give players a Star Wars adventure of greater depth and breadth to explore.”
The original concept for the game was set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, and featured a new character named Dodger, an Imperial-draft-dodger-turned-bounty hunter who would have been equipped with a light whip and a blaster—think Nathan Drake combined with Han Solo and you have a pretty good idea of what you’ll now be missing.
It makes even more sense that the game was supposed to be a linear adventure with a compelling storyline given that Amy Hennig, of Uncharted fame, was acting as creative director on the project. However, it seems as if this is changing as, according to a recent statement by an EA spokesperson, EA is “in discussions with Amy about her next move.”
According to an email that Söderlund sent out to staff, the new game will use assets created for “Project Ragtag” as the “foundation” for the new Star Wars game. The development team will be led by Steve Anthony, an executive producer at EA who previously worked on titles like SSX On Tour and Need for Speed: The Run.
Meanwhile, whatever this new Star Wars game is going to become will be delayed until the end of the 2019 fiscal year. Given these changes are being made due to “fundamental shifts in the marketplace,” it’s sounding like the new Star Wars game will be a Frankenstein’s monster that’s mixing assets created for Visceral and Hennig’s single-player game with gameplay elements that will involve loot boxes and microtransactions. Some are predicting that the game will be more like Destiny than Uncharted now, but it’s still a little too early to tell.