Electronic Arts has canceled another Star Wars game, this time an open-world title in development at EA Vancouver, according to Kotaku. Codenamed Orca, the game was still in the early phases of development. The outlet reports that EA decided to cancel the project because the publisher feared the game would not be ready for a 2020 release date. EA Vancouver will instead begin work on another, “smaller-scale” Star Wars game.
Little is known about Orca except that it was to feature open-world gameplay. Job listings in early 2018 suggested that the game would have had an online component as well, including matchmaking and live services. According to Kotaku, Orca would have allowed players to “explore various open-world planets and work with different factions” with either a “scoundrel or bounty hunter” character.
Orca was actually born out of the ashes of another canceled game being designed by the now-shuttered Visceral Games. That project was called Ragtag and it would have starred a band of rogues led by a scoundrel named Dodger, as they went on heists across the galaxy. Ragtag was described as “Star Wars meets Ocean’s Eleven” and would have been set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, tackling story beats such as the aftermath of the destruction of Alderaan.
Originally envisioned as an action-adventure game, EA decided to cancel Ragtag after months of troubled production at Visceral that saw a multiplayer component tacked on to the more linear single-player campaign per the publisher’s orders. Tensions were also growing at the studio over a lack of resources and creative differences. Visceral was closed down in October 2017.
At the time, EA explained that it had canceled Visceral’s Star Wars game because players don’t enjoy linear experiences as much anymore. The publisher described the pivot to a more open-ended game as a necessary one.
“It has become clear that to deliver an experience that players will want to come back to and enjoy for a long time to come, we needed to pivot the design,” former EA chief design officer Patrick Soderlund said in a blog post announcing the game’s cancelation. “Importantly, we are shifting the game to be a broader experience that allows for more variety and player agency, leaning into the capabilities of our Frostbite engine and reimagining central elements of the game to give players a Star Wars adventure of greater depth and breadth to explore.”
Unlike Visceral, EA Vancouver will get another shot at a Star Wars game. Details on the new project are very scarce at the moment, but we’ll keep you updated as we learn more. In the meantime, read more about Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, the upcoming game from Titanfall developer Respawn Entertainment. Hopefully, both of these games will actually see the light of day.