interview

Jade Raymond Outlines EA's Star Wars Release Schedule, Teases Upcoming Titles

by Andrew Reiner on Jun 12, 2016 at 02:27 PM

At today's EA Play press conference, Jade Raymond, the founder of EA's Motive Studios, took to the stage to give a general outline of EA's plans for upcoming Star Wars games. We didn't learn the name of any new titles, but we did get a brief snapshot of the studios working on the projects. I sat down with Raymond for a few minutes following the press conference to discuss EA's plans and to get some clarity about what is coming next. Raymond wouldn't reveal too much, but she also didn't deny certain assumptions.

You were onstage at EA’s press conference as the voice of Star Wars. What is your current role at Motive and with EA’s Star Wars games?

I’m overseeing Visceral, where we’re making the Star Wars game with Amy Hennig. I’m building up the new studio Motive in Montreal for EA, where we’re also making the next Battlefront [with DICE]. I’m also helping the overall Star Wars portfolio and strategy at EA. Not all of the projects report in to me, but more working on the Star Wars strategy for EA, and how we collaborate across all projects.

How involved is Lucasfilm in that collaboration?

They are very involved. We workshop with them as if they are an internal writing team. They get to look at all of our assets as we are building them up, and they even have people who used to be in game development as well as the story team, so they have a production team. They deliver insightful comments that you wouldn’t expect in terms of game development.

Obviously Battlefront is a multiplayer-focused game that tries to adhere to canon, but are you making games that will be considered part of the new canon?

Yes, it has to be a part of canon. We’re helping expand the universe. That’s what I was talking about onstage about Amy Hennig’s game. She’s working on a new narrative, but it’s in collaboration with Lucasfilm’s story team. The goal is to expand that canon. That’s why we are working so closely with them.

We got a brief glimpse of that game during the press conference. You use the word “new” a lot when describing EA’s Star Wars games. Does that mean you are not looking back to the films that came before? Is the focus now moving the timeline forward?

We actually have projects spanning many eras, not just the new movies.

To probe deeper, does that mean these games are set before the original trilogy and prequel films? Or will we see games that revisit the movies like Battlefront just did?

It’s a little bit of both, actually. We have stuff that’s slotting into different films, including the newer and older ones, and we have some things like what Amy Hennig is working on that is an original narrative.


Jade Raymond on the stage at EA Play 2016

With Battlefront, you said you are listening to fans. John Boyega, who played Finn in The Force Awakens is a big fan. He tweeted about wanting a single-player campaign. Is that something you are adding to the next Battlefront?

We are listening to fans! We’re giving fans what they are asking for. (laughs)

You mentioned DICE, Visceral, Motive, Bioware are all working on Star Wars games. Can you walk us through the timeline and give us an idea of when these games are coming out?

We have a new Battlefront game that is coming out next year, then after that in 2018, we’re going to have Amy Hennig’s third-person action/adventure game. We have quite a few other things in the works that we haven’t announced specifically like that Respawn game that will come after that.

Could there be more studios involved than you listed?

There could be more studios. (laughs)

Back to listening to fans, is Motive working on that potential single-player campaign for Battlefront? And is DICE doing the multiplayer content?

Someone might guess that. (laughs)

This is all so cryptic.

Well, if you look at the [press conference] video, and you pay attention to the era these games are taking place in, you should get more hints about the games.