“It was an engine that was made to do first-person shooters, not third-person traversal cinematic games,” says Hennig.
EA’s string of cancelled Star Wars games has been the source of a great deal of dismay, and while the recently cancelled EA Motive project is the latest in that line, it all started with Project Ragtag, the Star Wars title that Visceral Games were working on under the direction of Uncharted creator Amy Hennig, before the studio was shut down, and the project was canned.
Recently, while speaking with USGamer, Amy Hennig shed a little bit of light on the development of Ragtag. According to Hennig, the game was much farther along in development than you would think- but its development was not without its issues. Due to having to use EA’s Frostbite Engine for the game, the game’s production was hamstrung, owing to the fact that it’s an engine that is geared toward making first person shooters, rather than cinematic third person action titles, which is what Ragtag was going to be.
“I think Visceral was sort of beset with a lot of challenges,” said Hennig. “Even so, we were making a game; people have said it was an Uncharted Star Wars. That’s sort of reductive, but it’s useful because people can kind of visualize something in their head. But what that meant is we obviously had to take the Frostbite Engine, because there was the internal initiative to make sure that everybody was on the same technology, but it was an engine that was made to do first-person shooters, not third-person traversal cinematic games.”
“So building all of that third-person platforming and climbing and cover taking and all that stuff into an engine that wasn’t made to do that,” she continued. “We did a lot of foundational work that I think the teams are still benefiting from because it’s a shared engine, but it’s tough when you spend a lot of time doing foundational stuff but then don’t get to go ta-da! [laughs] You know, here’s the game.”
“I wish people could have seen more of it because it was a lot farther along than people ever got a glimpse of,” Hennig added. “And it was good, you know? But it just didn’t make sense in EA’s business plan, ultimately. Things changed over the course of that time I was there. So you know, what can you do.”
This is not the first time that we’ve heard reports of EA’s mandate for using Frostbite having hampered the development of games. Mass Effect Andromeda was a game that famously suffered several significant issues during development, simply because Frostbite just wasn’t an engine that could do several basic things that a narrative-heavy RPG like Mass Effect required it to do.
As far as Star Wars is concerned, though EA have made a royal mess of their exclusive rights to the property, the relationship between themselves and Disney doesn’t seem to have soured. EA claims it remains committed to delivering more Star Wars games. Respawn’s Jedi: Fallen Order is due out later this year, while reportedly, EA are also planning on replacing the cancelled EA Motive project with another Star Wars project, albeit one of a much smaller scale.