EA has a turbulent history with Star Wars, even with exclusive rights. At this point, the company has cancelled nearly as many games as its released.
Star Wars has a long history in video games, releasing scores of video games ever since the early 1980s. Beloved games like Star Wars Battlefront, Knights of the Old Republic, and Rogue Squadron have gone down as some of the best games of all time. However, recent years have shown a serious drop in the quantity and quality of Star Wars games.
In 2013 EA made a deal with Disney and acquired exclusive rights to develop Star Wars video games. Needless to say, the company has had a bit of a rough time figuring out what to do with the license, and many of the games the company has released were met with middling reception.
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EA has canceled multiple Star Wars games that were in development, for a variety of reasons. Some projects definitely sounded promising, and fans are most likely familiar with Project Ragtag, the title headed by Uncharted creator Amy Hennig. Here’s every Star Wars game EA has canceled and why.
Just after the release of Dead Space 3 Visceral started development on a project called Jamaica, which was intended to be an open-world pirate game. Development on that project would shift dramatically after Disney shut down LucasArts, and EA formed its massive years-long deal for Star Wars rights. To take advantage of the new deal, EA turned Jamaica into Project Yuma, a new Star Wars game.
Despite being changed to Star Wars the general theme of the game remained, however. Yuma was going to be about space pirates, with players assuming the role of a character very similar to Han Solo. The nail in the coffin for Yuma was actually Battlefield Hardline. As Hardline’s development started suffering, members of Visceral’s Yuma team were forced to help out. Lack of development time along with low morale at the studio ultimately resulted in Project Yuma being scrapped. On top of all this, Amy Hennig had a different project in mind for Star Wars, which resulted in Visceral scrapping Yuma in favor of Project Ragtag.
Project Ragtag (Visceral Games)
Project Ragtag is probably the most famous of EA’s canceled Star Wars projects, as the game was originally headed by Visceral Studios and Amy Hennig, the creator of the Uncharted series. The project sounded surprisingly similar to Star Wars 1313, with players diving into the criminal underground of the Star Wars universe. Ragtag was going to be a third-person action game with massive set pieces, which sounds surprisingly similar to Uncharted. One segment detailed by Visceral Games producer Zach Mumbach had players fleeing from an AT-ST on foot, with the Frostbite engine’s destruction capabilities on full display.
Project Ragtag was set between the events of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, and Visceral planned on creating a crew of misfits for players to control. A central theme of Ragtag’s gameplay was sabotage, letting players hack and change the environment to their advantage. In many ways Project, Ragtag sounded too ambitious, and that’s ultimately what led to the project’s downfall. Kotaku has an extensive report on the development of Ragtag, but during Ragtag’s development, it became clear that the project was too big, costly, and risky for a publisher like EA. With EA’s shifting focus to multiplayer and live service, an exorbitantly budgeted single-player game simply couldn’t make it. It’s clear that Battlefield Hardline was a huge strain on Visceral Games and, in a way, divided the studio down the middle. Considering Visceral Games was shut down in 2017, it’s clear there was mismanagement on some level.
Project Orca (EA Vancouver)
Project Orca is the third in a line of cancellations, and it was formed from the closure of Visceral and Project Ragtag. EA Vancouver was helping Visceral on the project, and after the latter was closed Vancouver took over the project and turned it into something different. Orca still retained the “scoundrel” theme but turned it into an open-world game that would see players exploring multiple planets. Outside of simply announcing the project EA never shared any information on Project Orca, right up until its reported cancellation in 2019. It’s not entirely clear why Project Orca was canceled, especially since EA Vancouver wasn’t closed, but EA likely shifted the studio onto a new project in some capacity. With the end of Project Orca it seems abundantly clear that, after changing studios three times, this project would never see the light of day. That’s especially true with EA’s focus shifting onto Respawn’s game, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.
Project Viking (Battlefront Spin-off)
Yet another canceled project was Project Viking, a Battlefront spin-off that EA reportedly had in development for a short time. Although there aren’t many details on Viking, it reportedly started from the cancellation of Project Orca, to salvage some of the assets that were already created. It seems like the major issue with the project was that EA simply wanted to churn it out too quickly, and developers Criterion and EA Vancouver realized they simply couldn’t deliver in the timeline the company wanted. Viking is the final canceled EA Star Wars game that’s known about, but it’s perfectly possible there were more projects in development at some point in time. EA’s Star Wars license is in effect until 2023, at which point Disney will decide which direction to take the franchise in video games.
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