Disasterology: Electronic Arts reportedly cancels open-world Star Wars game

Electronic Arts
Electronic Arts /

The canceled open-world Star Wars game would be the latest in a long line of Star Wars-related blunders for Electronic Arts since acquiring exclusive licensing rights to make games based on the IP.

Rewind back to 2012. Disney had bought Lucasfilm lock, stock and barrel and with it, the incredibly valuable Star Wars IP. Though Lucasfilm had their own game division — LucasArts and Disney had a history of developing their own games internally — moving forward the plan seemed to be to let someone else do the work while Disney just collected money from licensing fees.

That, someone, became Electronic Arts. In 2013, they acquired exclusive rights to make video games based on the Star Wars franchise. It seemed like a pretty good deal at the time. Electronic Arts is one of the biggest game companies in the world and have the money and resources to make large scale, impressive games worthy of the Star Wars license. Surely, this would be a good thing with at least a few quality games to come out of it, right?

Fast forward to 2019, and it seems like Disney has honestly gotten a raw deal. Star Wars Battlefront was fine but lacking in content. The follow-up was one of the worst messes in recent memory, essentially changing how Electronic Arts approached games, in general, moving forward.

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Then there’s the notorious unnamed game that started life at Visceral Games. This was supposed to be the quality, story-driven game that fans who didn’t want a loot box-infested multiplayer shooter were hoping for. Electronic Arts even hired Amy Hennig, the acclaimed award-winning writer for the Uncharted series, to help head the project.

At some point, whatever Visceral and Henning’s vision for the project was didn’t match with the goals Electronic Arts had for it. They closed Visceral Games, Amy Henning left and the game — in whatever state it was left in — was to get a complete overhaul, aside from some preliminary concept art at EA Vancouver.

Now Kotaku reports that this game, which under EA Vancouver was supposedly an open-world action game, is dead. We may never get official confirmation of this from Electronic Arts, but Kotaku is an extremely reliable source. While games get canceled all the time, this is a high-profile project that just seems like the latest blunder in Electronic Arts’ mishandling of the Star Wars game license.

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There’s really no other way to look at it at this point; nearly six years in, Electronic Arts handling of the Star Wars video game license has been a pretty massive disappointment. Is there even any hope for Respawn Entertainment’s Jedi: Fallen Order at this point? Is Disney going to pull rank and do whatever it takes to avoid further damage to the extremely valuable brand? Star Wars movies and television shows might be going strong, but its future as a game franchise is anybody’s guess.