Update: EA issued a statement on the status of the reportedly cancelled Star Wars game code-named Orca. Here it is in full:
"There’s been speculation overnight about one of our Star Wars projects. As a natural part of the creative process, the great work by our team in Vancouver continues and will evolve into future Star Wars content and games. We’re fully committed to making more Star Wars games, we’re very excited about Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order from Respawn, and we’ll share more about our new projects when the time is right."
A new Kotaku report (opens in new tab), which cites multiple sources involved with the project, states that EA Vancouver's open world Star Wars game has been permanently shelved by publisher Electronic Arts, not long after the title changed hands (opens in new tab) from the now-shuttered Visceral Studios last year.
The report suggests that EA's decision to cancel the project (code-named Orca), which would reportedly see you playing as a bounty hunter, was based on a desire to produce a Star Wars game in time for the release of the PS5 (opens in new tab) and Microsoft's Xbox Project Scarlett (opens in new tab). Apparently, this smaller title is internally aiming for a late 2020 release date.
EA Vancouver has not suffered from any layoffs in the process of the cancellation, says Kotaku's Jason Schreier, and there's talk of Orca potentially being rebooted again once the studio finishes work on this second Star Wars project. This cancellation marks yet another chink to the armour of EA's relationship with Disney over its Star Wars license, which has been beset by loot box scandals (opens in new tab), delays, and disappointment.
Every new Star Wars movie (opens in new tab) coming until 2021 and beyond
Project Orca was originally in development for many years under the creative direction of Amy Hennig (of Uncharted fame) at Dead Space developer Visceral Games. It was intended to be a linear, story-driven experience of cinematic quality, but EA closed down the studio last year, pivoted the game's design to "a broader experience that allows for more variety and player agency", and handed the assets off to EA Vancouver.
The title was initially expected to release in 2019, but now it looks like it may never see the light of day. In the meantime, Respawn's upcoming action game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (opens in new tab) remains the only known Star Wars title publicly in the works under EA. It's rumoured to be launching later this year.
The publisher apparently wishes to pull something out of its hat by 2020 to redeem the bad will its generated since acquiring the license from LucasArts in 2013, otherwise the rumours of Disney potentially revoking that partnership could come to fruition. We've reached out to EA for comment, and will update this story with any updates from the publisher if and when they are announced.
Star Wars may be a no show this year, but here's all the big new games of 2019 (opens in new tab) scheduled to release in the coming months and beyond.