Not too long ago, EA announced that it will be shutting down one of its studios, Visceral Games, as well as the Star Wars project the team at Visceral was working on codenamed Ragtag. The main reason cited by EA was that they did not think that a linear, single-player game will be able to make much money.
Cut to the recent Star Wars Celebration where Respawn announced its latest Star Wars game under publisher EA, Jedi: Fallen Order. What’s interesting are some of the key selling points of the game, namely that there will be no multiplayer and no loot-boxes. That’s right, Jedi: Fallen Order will be a single-player game, just like what Ragtag was intended to be.
Eurogamer had a chance to catch up with Amy Hennig, who helmed Project Ragtag at Visceral Studios before it got shut down, at Reboot Develop in Dubrovnik to ask how she felt knowing that the upcoming Jedi: Fallen Order has no multiplayer mode and microtransactions.
“[It’s] odd! I have to be candid with you,” Hennig said, “I mean, it’s coming from the EA Star Wars Twitter handle, so it’s certainly part of the plan, but I don’t know whether it’s implicitly referencing previous comments they made after our project was killed?”
Hennig, however, adds that she is all too aware of how volatile the industry is, “There is so much change in this industry all the time. Over the course of my time at EA, we were back and forth on what the overall publishing corporation wanted. Everybody’s trying to figure out what the right path is.”
She also mentions that Jedi: Fallen Order was likely already in development when EA acquired Respawn, which gave the studio a leg up in creative decisions.
“This is all speculation on my part, I don’t know why the change of heart happened,” Hennig adds, “because that was very clearly not an acceptable plan when we were working on Ragtag! But you know, things change.” According to Hennig, it has been almost two years since Ragtag got cancelled and a lot can change in two years, such as a company’s view on the direction a game should go in.
Two years ago, EA clearly felt that microtransactions and multiplayer games were the way to go. Cue the Battlefront 2 loot box drama.
Hennig concluded the interview with Eurogamer by expressing her excitement over Respawn’s upcoming game, “I don’t have any insider knowledge, but there’s a lot of reasons they could have adopted a new attitude for this. And I’m glad for Respawn’s sake, because I’m excited about their game, and I’ve heard great things about it.”
As for what Ragtag could have been, Hennig reveals that the game would have been a lot like Uncharted, another game Hennig worked on as director and writer. Though instead of following a lone padawan and his droid buddy, it would have followed a ragtag (hah!) group of individuals who have to work together to accomplish their goals.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order will be released on November 2019.