Star Wars Rogue One Writer Slams EA Over Cancelled Project
Star Wars Rogue One's scriptwriter and co-developer hits hard at publisher Electronic arts after the cancellation of future projects by EA Vancouver.
In a bizarre turn of events, publisher Electronic Arts has once again pulled another Star Wars project from development — this time citing concerns that the timetable for their current project would take too long. And while they are reportedly “fully committed” to creating a game in the Star Wars universe, co-developer of Rogue One has a lot more hesitation about EA’s capabilities.
To create a bit of a backdrop, let’s go over the timeline of events. Following a disastrous PR launch for Star Wars Battlefront II, EA let go of Uncharted‘s Amy Hennig and canceled her Star Wars project with Visceral Games. The assets were then rolled over to EA Vancouver to make a more open-world title… a game that was just last week put into an indefinite hiatus as they move to a new Star Wars project. Yikes.
With all of that in the past, Rogue One‘s co-developer Gary Whitta joined Kinda Funny’s Greg Miller to discuss his take on the cancellation of EA Vancouver’s “Project Orca.” Whitta as a commentator draws from two different knowledge pools. On one end, he was the scriptwriter for a principal Star Wars film, working hand-in-hand with Disney and executives well-versed in the series. On another end, Whitta also understands the gaming industry, writing for publication ACE (before it shuttered) and helping found PC Gamer.
So when asked about what Whitta thought about the situation, he didn’t hold any punches. After spending nearly three whole minutes with his head in his hands.
“The deal was signed in 2013, it was a 10-year deal. We’re pretty much just over halfway through the deal at this point. … So let’s imagine I’m Bob Iger, I’m the head of Disney and I call in the EA guys. … Let’s check in and see how you guys have been doing. … We put out two Battlefront games, one of which didn’t have a story at all, both of which were kind of mediocre, and one of which ended up being a major major embarrassment because of the microtransaction fiasco. Not just to EA, but to Disney and the Star Wars brand.
You had a game that was a linear Uncharted type Star Wars experience game which was being developed by the writer of the Uncharted games and probably the best narrative designer in the business. It looked phenomenal. Canceled that. Rolled all your assets into this new, bigger, more ambitious EA Vancouver open-world game. … Canceled that. Okay, what else… nothing. That’s what we’ve done in five years.”
Outside of a brutal (yet accurate) play-by-play of the events, Whitta underscored it with some choice words. He called EA’s usage of the Star Wars license as “catastrophically mismanaged” and an “embarrassment,” given that the property is crown jewel among other IPs.
When asked if there is any chance the property will be renewed, Whitta states that he thinks “neither party really wants that.”
While Kinda Funny is very much an informal forum to rant and rave about these sort of industry events, this is bold language from Whitta and surely the most hostile towards EA of anyone tied to a Star Wars name. While it isn’t a definite indication on how Disney themselves are treating the situation, this is a good baseline on how others with their hands on the franchise are viewing the events.
In the meantime, we are going to twiddling our thumbs while we wait for the next major console Star Wars release, with a rumored deadline of 2020. Meanwhile, if you haven’t checked out Rogue One, feel free to grab a copy on Amazon. If you want to watch the interview in full, check out the video below: