Despite a tumultuous history making Star Wars games, EA says it will now "double down" on creating new titles in the billion-dollar IP.
Making Star Wars games is hard. Every little decision has to be run through Lucasfilm for approval (like every Star Wars game, the most recent, Jedi: Fallen Order, was built on compromise). And if you're EA, you've already cancelled three big Star Wars games--one from Visceral and two from EA Vancouver.
Now it looks like these cancellations are over. Thanks to Jedi: Fallen Order's success as a singleplayer-only game, EA might finally start embracing Star Wars titles that aren't online experiences. EA is also shifting away from over-monetization. Case in point: the newest Star Wars Squadrons game combines both online and offline play, but it's not monetized.
This is just the beginning. EA CEO Andrew Wilson, who didn't necessarily want the Star Wars IP when it was handed down to him from a previous deal from ex-EA CEO John Riccitiello in 2013, is now promising a stronger emphasis on Star Wars titles.
"We've had success in first-person shooters, in RPGs, in action adventure, in MMORPGs, in mobile, and I believe we're going to have success with Squadrons as well. We're going to double down on that partnership. Disney continues to be very very committed to the IP and to the canon," Wilson said in a recent EA Fireside Chat with Investors stream.
"We've got the combination of great IP, great development expertise and experience and success from us across genres, across platforms, across business models. And we've got new generations [of fans] coming to the IP all the time. So our expectation is we think there continues to be a really really strong opportunity in an around that relationship and that IP going forward."
Given the huge cancellations that actually led to the closure of Visceral Games, this is refreshing news.
Here's a breakdown of the games EA has cancelled so far:
Project Ragtag (2017) - EA cancelled this game in 2017 and shuttered Visceral Games at the same time. It was ultimately killed because it didn't fit with EA's live service scope. Project Ragtag was a third-person action-adventure game set around bounty hunters andvery far into development before it was cancelled. It would've featured a multi-perspective cinematic story arc.
Project Orca (2018) - EA Vancouver's Project Orca game was cancelled in 2019, and used the original assets of Visceral's Project Ragtag. EA Vancouver had been helping Visceral on Ragtag, but they rebooted the project once they took over in 2017. Orca was open-world, but we're not sure if it was a live game.
Project Viking (2019) - When EA cancelled Project Orca, EA Vancouver moved to a smaller-scale project. This was Project Viking, a Battlefront spin-off that was cancelled in early 2019. Not a whole lot is known about Viking, but it was described as an open-world game set in the Battlefront franchise. It could've also included live elements of some sort.
Squadrons, the latest Star Wars game, releases October 2, 2020 on PS4, Xbox One and PC, complete with cross-play on all platforms and full native VR support on PC-powered HMDs and PlayStation VR.