Star Wars game cancelled as EA cuts 670 jobs

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Electronic Arts (EA) is canceling an upcoming Star Wars game and will lay off 5% of its employees globally- approximately 670 people.

The game, which was in early development, would have been a first-person shooter set in the Star Wars universe.

The firm said the “streamlining” would “deliver deeper, more connected experiences for fans”.

It is the latest example of the job cuts sweeping the gaming industry.

“With it being an extremely difficult time to obtain funding to start a new game studio, and thousands being laid off by the month, video games run a significant risk of losing top talent outside of the industry and being impacted for years,” said Rich Barham, a former executive at gaming studio, Blizzard.

EA announced in December 2023 that it would be laying off staff at UK developer Codemasters, known for racing games F1 23 and EA Sports WRC.

In a letter to staff, boss Andrew Wilson said the company had begun contacting affected employees, with the redundancies anticipated to be completed by summer.

He also explained the decision to develop fewer new titles.

“We are also sunsetting games and moving away from the development of future licensed IP that we do not believe will be successful in our changing industry,” he wrote.

“This greater focus allows us to drive creativity, accelerate innovation, and double down on our biggest opportunities — including our owned IP, sports, and massive online communities — to deliver the entertainment players want today and tomorrow.”

In a subsequent email to staff, EA entertainment boss Laura Miele said this meant canceling the upcoming Star Wars title being worked on by subsidiary Respawn Entertainment. It was responsible for Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, which had “generally favorable” reviews according to aggregator Metacritic.

“As we’ve looked at Respawn’s portfolio over the last few months, what’s clear is the games our players are most excited about are Jedi and Respawn’s rich library of owned brands,” she said.

“It’s always hard to walk away from a project, and this decision is not a reflection of the team’s talent, tenacity, or passion they have for the game.”

Yet more lay-offs

This is the latest round of cuts to hit the gaming industry, which in January saw Microsoft reveal plans to lay off 1,900 people in its gaming division, including some at recently acquired Activision-Blizzard.

And it comes just two days after Sony announced plans to axe 900 staff, as well as close its well-known London Studio.

“The impact of mass layoffs resonates deeply within the gaming community, particularly for the talented individuals affected,” said Sarah Stevens, head of gaming HR firm e-volveHR.

“Above all, humanity and kindness are the most important ingredients for those navigating these choppy waters.”

Karol Severin, senior analyst at Midia Research, said the latest cuts showed how competition was getting more intense in the gaming industry.

“This is not to say that the industry is in trouble, it is just entering a new, more mature, chapter of its life – a chapter, where efficiency, profitability, and competitive capabilities are the name of the game.

“The games industry is still a $223bn (£176bn) industry, and will grow by approximately another $78bn by 2030”, he said.

“For context, that’s more than the current size of the whole global recorded music industry.”

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