Visceral Games was shut down by its owner and publisher Electronic Arts on October 17th. The Star Wars action adventure game they were working on, code-named Project Ragtag, was canceled and workers either went to other EA positions or looking for employment. Visceral’s Star Wars game was going to be modeled after Naughty Dog’s Uncharted series, but until now the public has never known much about it other than a quick snippet of video during EA’s E3 2016 presentation. Kotaku spoke to former and current EA employees, including Visceral sources, and uncovered some details. The ambitious single-player game put the player into the shoes of Dodger, a Han Solo styled rascal, and his ragtag (get it?) crew of ne’er-do-wells. Set between the movies A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, Ragtag would focus on the seedier criminal elements of Star Wars. Heists, Hutts, and hand blasters.
What killed Ragtag? A little bit of this and a little bit of that. According to Kotaku’s sources, game director Amy Hennig’s project design was maybe too ambitious for the understaffed studio, while simultaneously being too conservative for EA’s strategic plans. The game was just too expensive, too complicated, and EA wasn’t going to see the kind of monetary return they needed to keep their shareholders happy.
“EA executives are like, ‘FIFA Ultimate Team makes a billion dollars a year.’ Where’s your version of that?”
After Star Wars: Battlefront shipped and EA shifted to the more profitable games-as-service model, the writing was on the wall for Ragtag. Dodger and company were done. EA’s announcement of both the game’s and the studio’s demise included a note that EA Vancouver had taken over the project and shifted the design to a “broader experience” for players.
If you’re already sick of the snow planet, forest planet, lava planet, and Arizona in Star Wars Battlefront, then Electronic Arts and DICE have some good news for all the Rebels and Imperials trudging through the same four environments. Customers that pre-ordered Star Wars Battlefront will get The Battle of Jakku DLC tomorrow. It’s another desert environment, but this one is less red and rocky than the one already in the game, and it has a bunch of spaceship wreckage strewn around. The free DLC features two maps and a new Turning Point game mode that pits twenty Rebel players against twenty Imperials.
The Rebels spawn in and need to locate three control points in Imperial control and try to capture one of these. The clock is ticking, but if the Rebels succeed with a capture additional time will be added and new control points will be available for capture. Moving through these increasingly challenging checkpoints, the ultimate goal is the Empire’s base where the final stand will take place.
Fans of the franchise will recognize the Jakku aftermath from the trailers for the upcoming movie. The game version takes place during the original trilogy timeline, which means you’ll still have to deal with Boba Fett laying waste to everyone. Players that did not pre-order the game will still get the Battle of Jakku DLC for free, just a bit later on December 8th.
It’s pretty easy to be dismissive of Zen Studio’s latest pinball tables. Check it out:
Zen Pinball continues their tradition of milking franchises with three more Star Wars tables. These include a Darth Vader table with traditional ramp-based gameplay. It opens with the infamous “noooooo” scene and continues with the Sith Lord commending your performance with basso profundo observations such as “fantastic”, “awesome”, and “absolutely marvelous”. Okay, maybe not that last one, but that’s probably because I haven’t gotten enough points yet. It’s a very open table, a very red table, and a very “Uh, really? Why?” table. You also get a Return of the Jedi table that iterates on the excellent Empire Strikes Back table in the last Star Wars pack. But just as Return of the Jedi is a pale shadow of Empire Strikes Back, the Return of the Jedi table is a pale shadow of the Empire Strike Back table, featuring Ewok collection, a terrible Princess Leia impersonator, and a mission in which R2-D2 and C-3PO have to walk to the door of Jabba’s palace. George Lucas and maybe even Richard Marquand would be proud. 2 stars.
See? How easy that was?
But, after the jump, there is another. Continue reading →