Amy Hennig is taking another shot at making a Star Wars game

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Amy Hennig is back on the Star Wars beat. Hennig, whose Star Wars project at EA’s Visceral Studios—a narrative-focused singleplayer action-adventure game codenamed “Ragtag”—was cancelled in 2017, is heading up a new Star Wars collaboration between Skydance New Media and Lucasfilm Games.

“I’ve often described how seeing Star Wars in 1977 essentially rewired my 12-year-old brain, shaping my creative life and future indelibly,” Hennig said. “I’m elated to be working with Lucasfilm Games again to tell interactive stories in this galaxy that I love.”

The announcement says the new project is a “a narrative-driven, action-adventure game featuring an original story in the Star Wars galaxy,” which to be fair sounds a lot like Ragtag as it was originally envisioned. Hennig described Visceral’s Star Wars project in 2016 as “an original Star Wars story with new characters, locations, tech, creatures,” developed with an approach similar to that used during Uncharted, the PlayStation series she helmed at developer Naughty Dog up until her departure in 2014.

“If you’re trying to re-create that… pulp action adventure experience, you need to deconstruct the films so you know how to reconstruct them in an interactive context as gameplay,” Hennig said at the time.

EA ultimately decided to move away from that style of game, opting for what former EA vice president Patrick Soderlund called “a broader experience that allows for more variety and player agency,” which some took to mean as an open-world game, possibly with a greater focus on microtransactions. (Remember, this was right around the time that the Battlefront 2 loot box controversy was starting to blow up.) But it sounds like that original take on is what Lucasfilm is looking for: “Their vision for making narrative driven and engaging interactive entertainment makes this collaboration very exciting,” Lucasfilm Games vice president Douglas Reilly said.

Hennig has game credits stretching back to the early ’90s, and had a particularly strong run through the first decade of the 2000s, with writer and director credits on the Legacy of Cain games and the original Uncharted trilogy. But her time at Electronic Arts, which she joined in 2014 after leaving Naughty Dog, was not fruitful, and she’s only released one new game since Uncharted 3 in 2011: Battlefield Hardline, a fine but forgettable shooter that came out in 2015, on which she has an “additional direction” credit.

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Despite that dry spell, Hennig’s return to Star Wars development is exciting, if only because of the hope that some descendant of the Ragtag project might actually see the light of day. A faint hope, yes, but the promise of a gritty heist game taking place in the wake of the destruction of the Death Star was, for all its acknowledged problems, one of the most interesting ideas to come out of Star Wars in years. 

We can’t reasonably expect the Skydance project to be a resurrection of Ragtag as originally envisioned, but I would be remiss if I did not point out that two of Hennig’s partners of the project, Julian Beak and Todd Stashwick, are working with her at Skydance.

The new Star Wars game isn’t the only big project in development at Skydance—the studio is also working on a new game set in the Marvel Universe.

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