People are pretty excited over the announcement of Respawn’s Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Not only is it by the creators of the mega hit Apex Legends, who also crafted the excellent single player campaign of Titanfall 2, but it will also be devoid of microtransactions, superfluous multiplayer modes, and other typical EA shenanigans. Overall it was a welcome change to the usual upsetting EA announcements, and was a big surprise for everyone.
However, the person who may have been the most surprised was former EA employee, Amy Hennig.
If you’re unfamiliar with Hennig, she was the writer and director of the first three Uncharted games, most of the Legacy Of Kain franchise, and also directed Jak 3. She has a proven track record when it comes to creating engaging stories for video games, even winning two separate Writer’s Guild Of America Awards for Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception.
So it wasn’t particularly surprising when EA hired her on to work on a new Star Wars game, being headed up by Visceral Games. The idea of someone who knew how to write engaging video game stories being given one of the biggest franchises in the world to play around with was an exciting prospect.
Until EA shut down Visceral and completely cancelled the game that is.
EA claimed at the time that single player adventures weren’t what gamers wanted, so the project, code named “Ragtag,” was shut down along with Visceral itself. Hennig would leave the company shortly thereafter. Since then, several single player games have proven EA wrong, selling millions of copies. So Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order’s existence would seem to indicate that EA has changed its tune.
Hennig was present at this year’s Reboot Develop conference, and gave her immediate reaction to the news of Fallen Order. In an interview with Eurogamer, she stated that “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.”
She also had an opinion on EA’s changing outlook on single player games: “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. So maybe this is just a demonstration of a change of strategy for EA.”
Hennig would finish by saying she was “glad for Respawn’s sake,” and excited to play Fallen Order.
We’ll probably never get to see what an Amy Hennig written Star Wars game could have been, but at least it seems like Fallen Order will be free of the usual EA trappings. Hennig is currently working on an unannounced project with her new studio, while Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is expected to release on November 15, 2019 for Xbox One, PS4 and PC.