Rumor: EA Vancouver cancels open world Star Wars game in favor of smaller-scale project

Update 2: Electronic Arts issued the following statement in response to our inquiry:

"There’s been speculation overnight about one of our Star Wars projects. 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."

Update: After the initial report went live, other sources told Kotaku that EA Vancouver's open-world Star Wars project, codenamed Orca, was "very early" in development when EA executives decided that its scheduled release date was too far off. Because of that, they elected to pull the plug on Orca in favor of a smaller-scale project that's loosely aimed for a late 2020 release, possibly to coincide with next-gen console releases. 

So there is apparently still going to be a Star Wars game coming out of the studio, just not as ambitious as was originally envisioned: Orca, according to the report, would have featured multiple open-world planets for players to explore as a bounty hunter-type character. And there were no layoffs at EA Vancouver as a result of the change in direction, which is also very good news. 

Original story:

Electronic Arts has canceled development of the open-world Star Wars game that was in development at EA Vancouver, according to a Kotaku report, which says that three sources have told it that work on the project has ended. The studio had been working on the game since October 2017, when it took over development of the Star Wars project codenamed Ragtag that had been in development at Visceral Games. 

EA Vancouver posted a job listing in early 2018 for a "Star Wars open world project," which we speculated at the time could have been a continuation of Ragtag. It had originally been envisioned as a linear, story-based game, but EA vice president Patrick Soderlund said when Visceral was closed that the company wanted to change it to "a broader experience that allows for more variety and player agency," with "greater depth and breadth to explore." 

The Kotaku report says that the open world game in development in Vancouver was in fact the rebooted Ragtag; if so, that means the heavily-hyped five-year effort, headed up by renowned developers Amy Hennig and Jade Raymond—both of whom have since left EA—has now ground to a final, ugly halt. Kotaku said that EA Vancouver may actually now be working on another, different (and much further off) Star Wars game.

I've reached out to EA for more information and will update if I receive a reply. 

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.