Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order was finally revealed at Star Wars Celebration 2019 over the weekend and details about the game have slowly begun to filter out since. The biggest news was that the title is an entirely narrative-focused single-player game. According to Respawn Entertainment and EA, this means that it will contain no loot boxes or microtransactions as there isn’t a multiplayer component.
This came as a surprise to many. After all, EA has focused all of its efforts with the Star Wars franchise in its Battlefront series and Respawn is best known for games such as Titanfall and Apex Legends, which all have a strong multiplayer focus. However, it seems that nobody was more surprised than Amy Hennig.
The developer, who is best known for being the lead writer and creative director for the Uncharted series, had been working on a single player Star Wars game under the name Ragtag. She left EA in 2018 after the publisher shut down Visceral Games and cancelled her project in October 2017. The general feeling at the time was that development was halted because the company did not think such a title would have a big enough market.
No microtransactions. No loot boxes. And no, we won't be adding them. A single-player Star Wars story for those of you who are ready to become a Jedi. https://t.co/kTheWVBjJc
In an interview with Eurogamer, she explained how she isn’t sure exactly what prompted EA to shift positions. “This is all speculation on my part,” Hennig said. “I don’t know why the change of heart happened, because that was very clearly not an acceptable plan when we were working on Ragtag! But you know, things change.”
“There is so much change in this industry all the time. Over the course of my time at EA, we were back and forth on what the overall publishing corporation wanted. Everybody’s trying to figure out what the right path is. I also think Respawn’s game has the benefit of being largely developed before they were acquired. It is a protected entity, and Vince [Zampella] makes very sure, because he’s part of the executive team at EA, he can protect the interests of Respawn.”
Hennig goes on to speculate that recent changes in management at the publisher may have also prompted their thinking in terms of single-player games. But it is hard to ignore the fury that erupted over the loot box controversy surrounding the release of Battlefront 2 and the general mishandling of the Star Wars franchise since EA licensed the rights. It is entirely plausible that Disney may have forced their hands to avoid further bad publicity for what is one of the most valuable entertainment properties in the world.
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