April 23, 2024

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Respawn's Star Wars FPS has been cancelled, but work on the next Jedi, Black Panther, and Iron Man will continue

Respawn's Star Wars FPS has been cancelled, but work on the next Jedi, Black Panther, and Iron Man will continue

EA today announced a major change at the company that will result in approximately 670 people, or 5% of its workforce, losing their jobs. As part of this same reorganization, a Star Wars FPS game in development at Respawn was cancelled.

Following CEO Andrew Wilson's announcement of the cuts today, EA Entertainment President Laura Milley shared a memo with employees explaining in more detail EA's business priorities moving forward. This includes its announcement that EA will shut down the Star Wars FPS action game to early development as part of a continued focus on its owned brands and support for its existing games.

The Star Wars: Jedi franchise will continue, despite EA's increased focus on proprietary intellectual property.

“It's always difficult to walk away from a project, and this decision does not reflect the team's talent, perseverance, or passion for the game,” Milley wrote. “Giving fans the next installments of popular franchises they want is the definition of blockbuster storytelling and the right place to focus.”

Not much is known about the Star Wars FPS, but it has been rumored to feature a Mandalorian protagonist in some way. The fate of EA's Star Wars strategy game is also unclear. EA is making the move in part because of what it sees as a rapid shift toward large open-world games, massive communities, and live service games.

IGN understands that the team previously working on this game will largely be reassigned to other projects including Apex Legends, Iron Man, Black Panther, and Jedi – for which EA has confirmed the existence of a third installment. The Star Wars: Jedi franchise will continue, despite EA's move to focus on its own proprietary intellectual property, and EA will reportedly remain focused on its long-term relationship with Disney/Marvel.

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The discounts continue

Additionally, EA will be restructuring its Battlefield teams somewhat following the departure of Marcus Leto announced yesterday. Ridgeline Games is almost done, bringing some of its developers into Ripple Effect. Criterion's Danny Isaac and Darren White will oversee single-player work on the series going forward.

EA will also be discontinuing a number of mobile games, including games that have already been announced F1 Mobile Racing and MLB Tap Sports, Plus Kim Kardashian Hollywood and The Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-earth – which was released less than a year ago.

EA is focusing on in-house franchises like Apex Legends in a pivot away from "Licensed IP in the future."
EA is focusing on in-house franchises like Apex Legends in a pivot away from “future-licensed intellectual property.”

IGN understands that EA intends to redirect its business and development plans to focus on some of its largest franchises, including EA Sports, Apex Legends, Star Wars: Jedi, Iron Man, Black Panther, Battlefield, Need for Speed, Dragon Age, and Skate. And sims. IGN has also learned that the team is still working in pre-production on the next Mass Effect game, though Bioware's current focus remains on Dragon Age.

“It's not lost on me that these changes are more than just words on a page; they directly impact the work you do every day and, in some cases, mean we're eliminating roles and saying goodbye to talented colleagues,” Millie wrote. “I will never lose sight of the human impact of these decisions, and I know that change and disruption is not easy. In difficult moments, we must remember how important it is to show up for our players and for each other.”

The gaming industry is still suffering from layoffs

For the fiscal quarter ending December 2023, EA reported net bookings of $2.37 billion (up 7% year over year) and net revenue of $1.945 billion, driven largely by EA Sports FC and Madden. The company's layoff of approximately 670 people is another example of ongoing mass layoffs that are shaking the entire industry, affecting… Nearly 10,000 developers In 2023, and Close to 8000 In just the first two months of 2024. EA itself It already laid off 6% of its workforce about a year ago, with Wilson at the time citing very similar motives to this year's. Despite these layoffs, the total number of employees before the cuts is higher today (13,400) than during the last mass layoffs (12,900).

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The company's filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) indicates that the company will incur approximately $125 million to $165 million in costs in connection with these layoffs, including costs related to office space reductions, severances, and costs related to licensor obligations, Which is likely related to the canceled Star Wars game. .

Rebecca Valentine is a senior reporter at IGN. Got a story tip? Send it to [email protected].