Last October, EA shocked Star Wars fans by closing Visceral Games, abandoning the linear single-player project being led by Uncharted vet Amy Hennig, and giving EA Vancouver the keys to redevelop the project in a more open-world direction. The decision to tap a studio best known for making sports games left many scratching their heads.
When we sat down with Motive Studios general manager Jade Raymond at this past E3, we asked what about the Vancouver studio made it a good fit in their eyes for developing a high-profile open-world game for one of the biggest entertainment brands on the planet.
“Ragtag was being co-developed already with the team in Vancouver, so there was already a group of people who had been collaborating on it,” Raymond said. “The core team there is super, super strong. There are people who had worked on Skate, SSX, and bunch of Need For Speeds back in the day, so there is a core group that was part of EA Black Box when that was a thing. It’s people who worked on a lot of non-sports stuff out of Vancouver over the years.”
Beyond that, the studio strengthened its ranks with developers who have extensive experience developing open-world titles.
“There are people who worked on Sleeping Dogs, a bunch of people who worked on Prototype, some who worked on a new IP that was kind of open world,” Raymond said. “So, there is a mix of people from the original team and people who we supplemented.”
We also asked what, if anything, the studio planned to preserve from the original linear single-player concept spearheaded by former Uncharted creative director Amy Hennig, who recently left EA to start her own studio.
“I don’t know how much we’re saying about that stuff, but the goal is … We have three terabytes of Star Wars artwork, which is crazy, and there is a lot of really good work there,” Raymond said. “When we announced we were moving the game, the idea was pivoting more into player agency but still keeping a lot of the stuff that was great about it. There was a lot of really cool stuff like tons of assets and really cool characters that had been created. So, there’s the goal of making sure we use all that.”