Cancelled Star Wars Game: What Happened, Our Take & Former Developer Reactions

"I find your lack of faith disturbing."

Mack Ashworthby Mack Ashworth

On October 18, EA closed down developer Visceral Games. The studio had been working on an upcoming Star Wars game that was to be heavily story-driven and offer a linear, single-player experience. This vision, steered by former Uncharted writer Amy Hennig, and backed up by various talents from Guerrilla Games and the new EA Motive Studios, has now been crushed.

Visceral Games’ closure and the shift in direction for the upcoming Star Wars game were detailed by EA executive vice president Patrick Söderlund in an EA blog post.

In its current form, it was shaping up to be a story-based, linear adventure game. Throughout the development process, we have been testing the game concept with players, listening to the feedback about what and how they want to play, and closely tracking fundamental shifts in the marketplace. 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. We will maintain the stunning visuals, authenticity in the Star Wars universe, and focus on bringing a Star Wars story to life. 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.

To me, it sounds like EA has lost faith in the single-player experience, and wants to instead compete with the likes of Destiny and other shared-world, open experiences. What’s more, EA’s desire to create a game that players will want to “enjoy for a long time to come,” screams the increasingly popular “games as a service” model. With that said, changes in targets and goals don’t usually mean the total closure of a studio, and I’ve got to wonder what else could have been happening behind the scenes.

Conspiracy theories aside, it’s incredibly disappointing to hear about the closure of a studio, and the loss of many jobs. While we don’t yet know what will happen to this Star Wars project, we can at least look at how the former developers have responded to the cut.