EA’s had its ups and downs with the Star Wars license, most recently posting critical and commercial success with Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, however, reports indicate that EA canceled a Star Wars Battlefront spinoff game that was in development at EA Vancouver. The canceled game, codenamed Viking, was in development using assets from Visceral’s canceled Star Wars project, Ragtag. Ragtag was the game originally being helmed by Amy Hennig before EA canceled the game and shut down Visceral. At that time, EA said that Ragtag art assets were being given to EA Vancouver for an open-world Star Wars game that would eventually become Orca before it too was canceled and replaced by Viking, and in 2019 that would subsequently be canceled as well.
The report comes from Kotaku’s Jason Schreier, who cites six anonymous sources familiar with the Battlefront spinoff project and its cancelation. Viking was intended to be a “smaller” project following Orca’s cancelation, launching fall 2020 to coincide with next-gen consoles. It was said to fill a financial hole in that window. It was going to feature open-world elements and spinoff of the Battlefront franchise in some way. EA planned to lean on Criterion to help out with Viking’s development.
EA Vancouver was the studio doing initial prototyping and brainstorming, but the addition of Criterion—based in London—became a development issue. Criterion was supposed to be given the role of lead developer, and Kotaku’s sources say it became an issue of “too many cooks” as developers from EA Vancouver and Criterion tried development across different countries in completely different time zones. It was said that Criterion’s vision for the game put story and characters first.
In the first half of 2019, it was obvious to the studio that the game wouldn’t be finished in time to meet its fall 2020 window, and instead of extending the project, EA executives opted to scrap it altogether. Reportedly, EA’s fall 2020 “financial hole” is not being filled now that Viking is no longer taking that slot.
It was recently announced that Criterion got back behind the wheel of the Need for Speed series, and EA Vancouver is reportedly supporting BioWare and Respawn on Anthem 2.0 and Apex Legends respectively.
This cancelation was all behind the scenes and well before the release and success for Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order had come to light. EA reportedly still has two Star Wars games in development; another one with Respawn (expected to be a Jedi: Fallen Order sequel) and “a smaller, more unusual project at EA Motive.”