EA may have finally released a Star Wars game (and a good one at that) last year, but that doesn’t mean every Star Wars game made it out alive in 2019. A new report has found that EA canned a Battlefront spin-off was meant to release at the end of 2020, but met its untimely fate once the realism of that tight schedule set in.
Kotaku‘s report on the title, codenamed Viking, comes from interviews and six people familiar with the matter. Viking somewhat comes from the ashes of Visceral Games’ Ragtag and EA Vancouver’s Orca. Orca was, of course, being built partly from Ragtag‘s assets, but Orca ended up being cancelled, too. EA Vancouver, coming off its game being axed, was starting a new third Star Wars game, which ended up being Viking.
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.
There is reportedly a KOTOR remake in the works and Disney has expressed that it wants more games like Respawn’s but these good signs are juxtaposed against the backdrop of EA consistently killing or kneecapping its own Star Wars games.