EA has canceled another Star Wars game, we learned this week, with a proposed spinoff of the Star Wars: Battlefront franchise apparently being binned last year. We’re finding out about it now thanks to a detailed report from Kotaku, who spoke to six different people in the know in order to bring this news to light.
You may already know some details of EA’s somewhat tumultuous time with the Star Wars license: although the team at EA have managed to publish two Star Wars: Battlefront games and one single-player title, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, they’ve also canceled a game codenamed Project Ragtag, a heist-based title that Uncharted‘s Amy Hennig worked on until 2017, and a game codenamed Orca, an open-world experience that EA Vancouver worked on until 2018. And now, we’ve learned that from the ashes of those to projects, another Star Wars game was thrust into development… but that one got canceled too.
The game was codenamed Viking and EA Vancouver started working up ideas for it in 2018. It was envisioned as a spinoff to the Battlefront series that would factor in some open-world elements. The plan was that Viking would release in time to capitalize on the launch of the new games consoles – the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X – both of which are scheduled to hit the market around about the 2020 holiday season.
Viking would’ve been a smaller undertaking than Project Ragtag and Orca, but surely fans would’ve been keen to try out the first Star Wars game on next-gen consoles. And from the perspective of EA, according to Kotaku’s article, the launch of the next-gen gaming hardware was perceived by executives as “a financial hole that needed filling.” That’s a phrase that makes you shudder, isn’t it?
EA teamed its Vancouver studio up with the UK-based developers at Criterion to push towards that holiday 2020 release date target, but apparently there was a sense that “too many cooks” were involved in the development process. Collaborating from different countries is said to have been a struggle, too. Criterion reportedly had ambitious ideas about what the game could be, and the studio is said to have had “a strong focus on story and characters.”
Reportedly, when it became clear that the game would not be finished in time for that holiday 2020 target, EA’s executives decided to cancel the project rather than extend its timeline. This really does make it seem like filling that financial hole is the only thing these big-wigs were interested in, which isn’t exactly a cheery thought for Star Wars fans.
Kotaku’s report ends by noting that EA currently has two further Star Wars games in the works – a sequel to Respawn’s Jedi: Fallen Order and “a smaller, more unusual project” from EA Motive. Here’s hoping those games actually get released.