Here’s everything we know about EA Vancouver’s Star Wars game

Visceral's Star Wars game had heists and starred seedy heroes

Electronic Arts has several Star Wars projects in development, including November’s Star Wars Battlefront II, but there may not be any more intriguing than the action-adventure title formerly in development at Dead Space developer Visceral Games. The project, which is now in production across EA Worldwide Studios led by EA Vancouver, is a largely unknown quantity. Even before the project “pivoted,” very little of the game had been shown to the public. Despite all the mystery, many fans were waiting with bated breath, as its team included (still includes?) some of the most talented developers in the industry. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that it won’t suffer the same fate as Star Wars 1313. Here is everything we know so far about EA’s mysterious Star Wars action game.

What is it?

Well, that’s the million dollar question.

The game was originally in development at Visceral Games, under the stewardship of Uncharted series writer Amy Hennig. During Electronic Arts’ 2016 EA Play presentation, we saw a few seconds of what was labeled “early in-game footage.” It showed a human male protagonist exiting a building on a desert planet that looked like it could be Tatooine, with Imperial flags draped over two structures nearby. There are Star Destroyers overhead, which points to a galaxy firmly under the control of the Emperor. In 2015, voice actor Nolan North told Metrocon attendees that the game would be “along the same lines” of the canceled LucasArts game Star Wars: 1313 and the Uncharted series.

It’s unclear, however, how much of that original premise will make it into the final game. In October 2017, EA announced plans to shutter Visceral. The publisher said the game is still in development at EA Vancouver, which had already been working on the game in a support capacity. The company announced that EA Vancouver would be assisted by other EA studios as well. Executive Vice President of EA Patrick Söderlund described the Visceral project as “a story-based, linear adventure game.”

The decision to close the studio seems to be centered around the decision to drastically alter the game’s structure to create something more open-ended.

“We will maintain the stunning visuals, authenticity in the Star Wars universe, and focus on bringing a Star Wars story to life,” Soderlund said. “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.”

A post-mortem of Visceral’s unfinished project reported by Kotaku could provide clues into those “central elements.” Visceral’s Star Wars game was called Ragtag, pitched as Star Wars meets Oceans Eleven. Given the nature of that premise, it would’ve likely been quite different (and still could be) from your typical Star Wars experience. You would play multiple protagonists, but when you weren’t controlling a certain character, they’d still be able to utilize their unique abilities to help out your team. An integral aspect of Ragtag were “sabotage” moves, which let players alter the environment to distract enemies and make progress. Sabotage powers were said to take the place of traditional Jedi tricks (the Force).

Hennig’s continued involvement in the project seems unlikely. In a statement to IGN, EA said it is “in discussions with Amy about her next move.” EA also specified that EA Vancouver will use assets made for the Visceral game in the new project.

From the sounds of it, the still untitled game will be reworked into a less linear experience.

What’s the story?

While there’s no way to know how the project’s story will change following Visceral’s dissolution, the Kotaku report on Visceral’s demise confirmed rumors that the game was set to take place between the events of the original Star Wars film and The Empire Strikes Back.

The game was supposed to hone in on Dodger, a criminal who dodged the draft and earned enough money working for Jabba the Hutt to pay his way off the Imperial hit list. The grand scale threat, and the central crisis, was the destruction of his home planet, Alderaan.

The Kotaku story revealed Dodger’s teammates: Oona, a mob boss’ daughter, and Buck, the team leader.

While these story elements could be completely scrapped, it’s possible that the “reimagining of the central elements of the game” may still involve some of these characters and storylines.

When can we play it?

With the move to EA Vancouver, this untitled Star Wars project is now even further off than before. In the post about Visceral closing down, Söderlund said a new launch window will be provided “in the future.”

Update: Edited to reflect the closure of Visceral Games.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

This list of PlayStation 4 exclusives puts its competitors to shame

The PlayStation 4's game library and incredible selection of exclusive games could make anyone with an Xbox One or Nintendo Switch think twice. Here's our list of the latest and greatest PS4 exclusives.

These are the best indie games you can get on PC right now

Though many indie games now come to consoles as well, there's still a much larger selection on PC. With that in mind, we've created a list of the best indie games for PC, with an emphasis on games that are only available on PC.

Blizzard’s latest hiring spree is likely for the unannounced ‘Diablo 4’

Activision Blizzard is hiring for more than a dozen positions on unannounced Diablo projects. Some of the roles are likely for the unannounced Diablo 4, the next mainline entry in the series.
Movies & TV

From premiere date to footage: Here's all we have on 'Game of Thrones' season 8

With the eighth and final season looming, Game of Thrones fever has officially become a pandemic. Our list of all the relevant news and rumors will help make the wait more bearable, if you don't mind spoilers.

Xbox app lets you access your console while away from home. Here's how

Microsoft's Xbox allows you to access your profile information and launch media content directly from your mobile device. Check out our quick guide on how to connect your smartphone to an Xbox One.
Product Review

‘Resident Evil 2' is a terrifying new virus you'll want to catch

Resident Evil 2 brings the Raccoon City incident to a new generation of players, acting both as a nostalgic throwback and a thoroughly modern horror game with some of the best visuals of the generation.

Goodbye, Machinima: YouTube gaming channel pulls the plug after 13 years

Machinima, a YouTube gaming channel that was launched in 2006, has suddenly shut down, with all of its videos set to private. The #RIPMachinima hashtag is now making the rounds in social media to reminisce about the channel's content.

Overkill’s ‘The Walking Dead’ delayed indefinitely for PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Overkill's The Walking Dead for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have been postponed without a new release date. The co-op zombie shooter suffered massive delays, then received lukewarm reviews once it launched for the PC through Steam.

The hottest Nintendo Switch games you can get right now

The Nintendo Switch's lineup started off small, but games have steadily released as the console continues through its second year. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games available now.

How you can give your PS4 a fresh start with a factory reset

Learn the many ways you can factory reset your PS4. From reverting your settings to factory to doing a full wipe and reinstalling the latest PlayStation firmware, we cover it all here, step by step.

Can't stand keyboard gaming on PC? Here's how to use a PS3 controller instead

Properly connecting a PlayStation 3 Controller to a PC is no easy task, especially when you opt for third-party peripherals. Thankfully, our guide will help you through the process.

‘Fortnite’ update makes you the most dangerous snowman ever

The latest content update for Epic Games' Fortnite adds the Sneaky Snowman item, turning players into stealthy masters of disguise. The update also changes the Sniper Shootout game mode.

Having issues with your PS4? Check out our solutions to its most common problems

Just because the PlayStation 4 is a remarkable system doesn't mean that it's immune to the occasional hiccup. Thankfully, we've vetted some of the bigger PS4 problems and found solutions for whatever might ail you.