Publisher Electronic Arts tells Variety that it’s still fully committed to making more “Star Wars” games following a report that its studios are no longer working on an open world game set in the “Star Wars” universe, but rather a smaller game with a faster development turnaround.
Three anonymous sources told Kotaku on Tuesday that EA was killing the open-world “Star Wars” project that’s been in development at its Vancouver offices since October 2017 — the same month the publisher shuttered developer Visceral Games and a “Star Wars” project codenamed Ragtag.
EA Vancouver reportedly rebooted Ragtag, keeping some of its assets but widening its scope from a linear action-adventure to an open-world game. The project, now codenamed “Orca,” was in very early development, according to Kotaku, and it involved a scoundrel or bounty hunter character who interacts with various factions from the “Star Wars” universe.
But, EA top brass reportedly decided to publish a “Star Wars” title sooner than “Orca’s” planned release date, so they’re now working on a smaller project that’s aiming for a 2020 release window.
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EA didn’t outright confirm or deny that “Orca” is canceled in its statement to Variety on Wednesday. Instead, it said Vancouver’s work is continuing and it will “evolve into future ‘Star Wars’ content and games.”
“There’s been speculation overnight about one of our ‘Star Wars’ projects,” EA said. “As a natural part of the creative process, the great work by our team in Vancouver continues and will evolve into future ‘Star Wars’ content and games. We’re fully committed to making more ‘Star Wars’ games, we’re very excited about ‘Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order’ from Respawn, and we’ll share more about our new projects when the time is right.”
The company declined to speak further about the exclusive licensing deal between EA and Disney.
The Walt Disney Company, which owns the “Star Wars” franchise, signed a multi-year, multi-title exclusive licensing agreement with EA in 2013. The publisher would focus on creating games for the core “Star Wars” audience, while Disney Interactive focused on titles for casual audiences on mobile, social, and online gaming platforms. Since then, the only games EA has produced are a pair of online shooters, “Star Wars Battlefront” and “Star Wars Battlefront II.” A third project from “Titanfall” developer Respawn Entertainment, called “Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order,” was announced during E3 2018.