Project Ragtag was set to be the “best Star Wars game ever made,” according to Zach Mumbach, producer on the now-cancelled title. A new interview from MinnMaxShow has revealed more details about the project, including what led to its eventual demise. Ragtag was helmed by veteran game director and writer Amy Hennig and had major ambitions. It was set to be a massive open world Star Wars game following a rogue group pulling off some form of epic galactic heist.
Tensions between developers Visceral Games and publishers EA were previously well known, but the new interview has shed more light on the actual cancellation of the game and the development process that formed the game’s rocky foundations.
“The sequence of events was like, ‘hey, we have a studio with their own engine who make really high quality single-player games, the Dead Space series, and we’re going to take that studio, move them to Frostbite and have them make a Battlefield game’ … I stayed there and worked on that,” Mumbach told MinnMaxShow. “We had a lot of people at the studio who were experts on narrative and single-player games and those people left … So to ship [Battlefield: Hardline] and go ‘hey, you guys are now going to make a single-player third-person [property]…’ that’s the thing which is hard for me to get over.”
Mumbach described a studio in turmoil, split by EA’s publishing decisions and a lack of a plan. “Who’s making this plan? There is no plan, obviously,” he told MinnMaxShow. “We had this leadership team come in from Vancouver … they were like, ‘we need to ship this thing, let’s go. Cut this, cut this, cut this.”
Despite the interference of higher-ups, Mumbach praised the vision for the game and the directorship of Amy Hennig. “We have the chance to make the greatest Star Wars game ever made and a possible Game of the Year contender,” he said in the interview. “I think we would have made the best Star Wars game ever made. The story and the setup and the characters… [were] set up for success but what we had to execute was going to take a while. I think the company saw that.”
He cites the EA press release decrying single player adventure games as a clear indicator of EA’s feelings at the time — but the single player Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order was released just two years later, indicating a late change of heart at the publisher. Still, Project Ragtag never returned to EA’s agenda after it pulled the plug.
With some gameplay sequences complete, levels close to done and a “crazy” AT-ST escape sequence laid out — which Mumbach related to Uncharted‘s frantic chases — Project Ragtag was brimming with potential. A combination of master storytelling, well-designed set pieces and an intriguing cast of characters could have been the perfect recipe for a new Star Wars blockbuster. But as Mumbach describes, the timing just wasn’t right.
You can view the full interview below:
It’s a fascinating glimpse into a video game world we’ll never get to experience.