Star Wars Battlefront Spin Off Was Cancelled By EA Last Year
Ever since EA got the Star Wars license, their offerings have been somewhat on the slim side. While they released the highly popular Battlefront revival as well as the latest title, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, it feels like the license has not been utilized nearly as much as you’d expect for such an iconic series. Well, it seems another game in the franchise also quietly bit the dust, if a new report is to be believed. Project Viking wasn’t a complete unknown. After Visceral’s Star Wars game under Uncharted director, Amy Hennig was canceled, EA Vancouver inherited some assets from project Ragtag to work on its own game which became project Orca.
When Orca was also canceled, EA Vancouver began working on a third Star Wars project that was planned to be released in fall 2020. This project was Viking. Electronic Arts was given an exclusive license to develop Star Wars games in 2013, but it hasn’t worked out to be quite the coup that most people expected. On top of the Ragtag/Orca/Viking headaches, the Star Wars Battlefront comeback was derailed by the loot box mess sparked by Battlefront 2. The only resounding success to come out of the deal so far has been Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.
Viking was going to be an open-world spin-off of the Battlefront franchise was going to be co-developed with Criterion, a team that helped with DICE’s Battlefront games in addition to creating the Burnout racing series. However, this collaboration wasn’t ideal, given the distance between the London-based Criterion and the Vancouver-based EA Vancouver. London is eight hours ahead, which would naturally make it a little difficult to communicate.
Criterion was also trying to push its vision of the game which involved a focus on the story and characters. Given the “too many cooks” aspect of it all and the creeping unlikelihood of it hitting its holiday 2020 target, EA canceled it.
We don’t know what kind of game Viking was supposed to be, but given its connection to Battlefront, it wouldn’t be outlandish if it was also a first-person shooter. Regardless, it’s disappointing to see EA toss away yet another Star Wars game. Despite their sales successes and the newfound love of the second one, the Battlefront series has had a rough go this generation. Jedi: Fallen Order did review well and sell a fair amount of units, but one win from the get-go out of many losses and stumbles is not a good ratio.
While game cancellations aren’t uncommon, it does seem as if EA has developed something of a troubled history with the license. Schreier does also say that a Fallen Order sequel is in the works, which has been speculated on for awhile, as well as a smaller title. Hopefully, they survive.
Whether or not Disney reevaluates its relationship with EA, this pattern of egregious cancellations outnumbering released successes should worry anyone looking forward to the alleged reboot of the Knights of the Old Republic franchise. For now, Respawn is still cooking up a Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order sequel, while EA Motive works on an unknown project. Still, it seems Star Wars: Battlefront II will be the last gamers see of the multiplayer series for quite some time.