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.