A catalogue of EA’s short history with the Star Wars license.
Electronic Arts has had a somewhat tumultuous relationship with Star Wars since it acquired the franchise’s exclusive game license in 2013. At the time, EA announced three of its top studios — DICE, Visceral Games, and BioWare — would be developing games set in a galaxy far, far away. Nearly six years, a studio closure, and a handful of canceled projects later, DICE is the only EA studio to have put out a AAA Star Wars game, leading many fans to question the publisher’s plans for the franchise.
Now, following yesterday’s reported cancellation of EA Vancouver’s open-world game, we’ve decided to look back and compile a complete list of EA’s Star Wars projects, including games that’ve been released, games that’ve been canceled, and those that are still in development.
EA Vancouver’s Open-World Star Wars
According to a report published yesterday by Kotaku, EA has canceled the open-world Star Wars game in development at its Vancouver-based studio. The now-canceled project, reportedly code-named Orca, would have put players in the role of a “scoundrel or bounty hunter who could explore various open-world planets and work with different factions across the Star Wars universe,” according to the report.
Kotaku says EA ultimately pulled the plug due to the game’s projected length of development. A “smaller-scale Star Wars project,” with a projected 2020 release date, is said to have replaced Orca at EA Vancouver, though “some” workers at the studio are hopeful Orca will be revived following the completion of this new project.
Visceral and Amy Hennig’s Star Wars Game
An earlier incarnation of Orca was previously in development at Dead Space studio Visceral Games, with former Uncharted creative director Amy Hennig at the helm. That project, however, met a similar fate in 2017 when EA shut down Visceral and canceled the game.
Hennig’s Star Wars, a third-person adventure, was reportedly code-named Ragtag and would’ve followed Dodger, a “‘cracked mirror version’ of Han Solo” in a story of crime families, heists, and more.
In a statement provided to IGN at the time, EA said assets from Ragtag would be used as “the foundation” for what would become EA Vancouver’s Orca. However, as we now know, that project, too, has been canceled.
Visceral’s First Star Wars Project, ‘Yuma’
Before Ragtag, Visceral was working on an open-world “space-scoundrel” Star Wars game, code-named Yuma, according to a Kotaku report.
As detailed in the report, a source familiar with the project said, “It was going to be some hybrid between a linear action shooter, where if you’re on the ground it’s Tomb Raider-like, but then in space it’s gonna be [Assassin’s Creed] Black Flag.”
After assisting with the development of Battlefield Hardline in 2014, Hennig shifted her focus to Yuma. However, she reportedly had a different, more linear vision for Visceral’s Star Wars. With that, Yuma became Ragtag. And while a secondary multiplayer mode within Ragtag would’ve reportedly been a “scaled-down version of Yuma,” according to Kotaku, Ragtag’s cancellation meant the end for both of Visceral’s Star Wars visions.
Star Wars Battlefront 2
EA’s latest Star Wars game, a sequel to 2015’s reboot of the Battlefront sub-franchise, was released in 2017. Star Wars Battlefront 2 was marred by microtransaction controversy leading up to its release, after pay-to-win concerns surfaced during the beta. The controversy reached its peak when microtransactions were pulled completely prior to its launch — a decision that reportedly came from executives at Disney.
An overhauled progression system was eventually released in March 2018, followed closely by the return of more accepted, well-balanced microtransactions.
IGN’s Star Wars Battlefront II review said it’s a “Star Wars experience that’s stunning to look at and wonderfully faithful to the source material, but it stumbles hard on the delivery.”
Star Wars Battlefront
2015’s Star Wars Battlefront was the first game to be announced as part of EA’s Star Wars licensing deal.
EA revealed its revival of the beloved sub-franchise during E3 2013, just over a month after the new deal was announced. The decision to bring back Battlefront would prove successful for EA, as 14 million copies of the game were shipped during its first sixth months on the market.
IGN’s Star Wars Battlefront review said it “captures the essence of Star Wars beautifully, harnessing the most exciting and memorable pieces of the universe for a unique and spectacular combat sandbox.”
Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes
Around the same time as its first Battlefront, EA released a mobile game called Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, a collectible-focused RPG featuring iconic characters from the series. While specific figures haven’t been released, the mobile game has seemingly been successful for EA, as the publisher listed it as a top source of revenue in its fiscal year 2017 report.
Star Wars: The Old Republic
Prior to its exclusive publishing deal, EA released Star Wars: The Old Republic, a BioWare-developed MMO for PC, in 2011.
Over seven years later, the MMO is still online and, despite a lack of hard figures, has seemingly been a money-maker for EA; the company listed it as a top source of revenue in each of its annual reports from 2012–2014, then again in 2016.
IGN’s Star Wars: The Old Republic review awarded it a 9.0 and called it “a stand-out, wonderfully crafted MMO.”
In addition to the aforementioned “smaller-scale” project reportedly in the works at EA Vancouver, the company is currently developing two known Star Wars projects.
The first, Star Wars: Rise to Power, is a mobile strategy game currently in closed pre-alpha. According to EA, it’s being developed by “mobile development teams based in Prince Edward Island and Kitchener in Canada, as well as Austin, Texas.”
The second is Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, a third-person action-adventure in development at Titanfall studio Respawn Entertainment. Announced in 2016, Jedi: Fallen Order will tell a story “around a surviving Padawan set shortly after the events of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith,” according to EA. It’s tentatively scheduled for a holiday 2019 release.
Jordan is a freelance writer for IGN. Follow him on Twitter @jdsirani.