So when push came to shove, and EA really wanted to get the next Star Wars game right, they gave Respawn Entertainment, the team that emerged out of the husk of Infinity Ward after Modern Warfare 2, the first crack at taking on the job.
This is according to Press Start who spoke to Respawn recently about Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Here’s how game director Stig Asmussen described the interaction between EA and Respawn:
“I think it started with EA approaching us at Respawn, and asking. I had a team, we were working on a game, and they said, “What do you guys think about Star Wars?” said game director, Stig Asmussen
“And unanimously, my team hands down, everybody was interested in working on a Star Wars, even though we were really interested in the other game that we were working on, we saw this as an opportunity. It’s like, “Hey, when are you ever going to get a chance to work on a Star Wars game?” continued Asmussen, via Press Start.
EA has multiple teams of developers that have worked on Star Wars games before in the past, and they were passed over in favor of Respawn. While we don’t know the exact reasons yet, it’s a move that makes a lot of sense for EA.
In the last few years Respawn has built up an incredible reputation for high quality games. While Titanfall 2 wasn’t a massive commercial success, partially due to the fact that EA decided to compete with itself by releasing Battlefield 1 at the same time, it was still a critical hit and made a legitimate case for GOTY back in 2016 for many publications, including ours.
What surprised people about Titanfall 2 wasn’t the polished multiplayer mode, which is something you would expect from the creators of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare; rather, it was the perfectly paced and emotional single-player campaign that put the game over the top.
It’s not only one of the best single-player FPS campaigns from this generation, but one can easily make the argument that it’s one of the best of all-time.
With the Star Wars license behind Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, EA likely doesn’t need to worry about sales as that’s going to be almost a given. Even with the loot box controversy, Battlefront 2 still sold 9 million copies in its initial quarter of availability.
What EA desperately needs is someone they can trust to get the story and gameplay right at launch, and without the need of post-launch patches to fix problems.
There are naturally going to be fans on the fence, waiting to see if EA screwed up another Star Wars game before buying. The trust of these fans is going to need to be earned via strong reviews and positive word of mouth from influencers.
Even if BioWare was able to take on this project, you certainly don’t go to them for this task. They have not proven lately that they are capable.
Between Titanfall 2 and most recently Apex Legends, another game from them that got it right at launch in a genre where it’s acceptable to be a bit funky at launch no less, it’s obvious that Respawn has earned the right to take on EA’s most sensitive projects.
We have until late this year to see the fruits of their labor with Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, but if there’s any team under the EA banner that I trust to finally put Star Wars back on track, it’s Respawn. It’s definitely a bit weird to say that considering the team’s origins, but it’s not any less true.