This weekend's reveal of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order was met with a lot of enthusiasm from the gaming public. While the trailer was just a bunch of pre-rendered nonsense that showed off nothing about the game, developer Respawn Entertainment's comments that 'There's no multiplayer, and there are no microtransactions" was seen as a move in the right direction for EA. It's pretty curious, though, since the cancelled game being developed by Amy Hennig, Creative Director on the Uncharted series, was basically the same thing. What happened?
At the Reboot Develop conference in Dubrovnik this past weekend, Eurogamer caught up with Hennig to ask her how she felt about Jedi: Fallen Order having no microtransactions or multiplayer components. "[It's] odd! I have to be candid with you," she told Eurogamer correspondent Edwin Evans-Thirlwell, "I mean, it's coming from the EA Star Wars Twitter handle, so it's certainly part of the plan, but I don't know whether it's implicitly referencing previous comments they made after our project was killed?"
She continued, "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." She mentions that Jedi: Fallen Order was likely in development before EA acquired Respawn, thus giving the studio a leg up on creative decisions. Co-founder Vince Zampella, being a member of EA's executive team, would have sway in protecting the creative direction of any game Respawn creates.
"This is all speculation on my part, I don't know why the change of heart happened," Hennig stated, "because that was very clearly not an acceptable plan when we were working on Ragtag! But you know, things change." Ragtag was the codename for the title Hennig's team was working on, which was set to be a single-player title in the vein of something like Uncharted. While Hennig pushed to make it strictly single-player, creative disputes came up about the direction the title would take.
Hennig went over how the choice to cancel the title was made in Summer of 2017 with the team being informed in October of that same year. Since then, many gamers have been vocal about their desire to have single-player experiences. As she put it, "There's been a pretty public and vocal backlash against the idea gamers don't want single-player finite games without all these extra modes. Of course they do, of course we do." Hennig concluded her part on Jedi: Fallen Order by saying, "I don't have any insider knowledge, but there's a lot of reasons they could have adopted a new attitude for this. And I'm glad for Respawn's sake, because I'm excited about their game, and I've heard great things about it."
The rest of the post reveals some new details on the game Hennig's team was developing. It sounds like it would have slotted directly into the official Star Wars canon, with some direction being taken straight from the films. The focus would have been on a ragtag group of heroes fighting against the Empire, a shift away from the more singular style of Uncharted. It does sound like a pretty good time, but we'll sadly never get to see it come to fruition.