EA Lays Off 5% of Its Employees, Cancels Star Wars Respawn FPS and Seeks to Move Away from Licensed IPs

Veloz Lamma

EA Lays Off 5% of Its Employees, Cancels Star Wars Respawn FPS and Seeks to Move Away from Licensed IPs

In yet another chapter of the seemingly unending layoff news, Electronic Arts (EA) announced it’s laying off 5% of its employees, amounting to around 670 people.

Ridgeline Games, a Seattle studio founded by Marcus Lehto of Halo and Disintegration fame to make a Battlefield single player title, will be shut down. Lehto had recently left Ridgeline Games, and some employees will join Ripple Effect (rumored to be working on a free-to-play Battle Royale mode for the next Battlefield), while Criterion Games will lead the Battlefield single player work.

EA also confirmed the cancellation of the Star Wars first-person shooter game in development at Respawn Entertainment, which was rumored to be about a Mandalorian bounty hunter. There will, however, be a third Star Wars Jedi game. Laura Miele, President of EA Entertainment and Technology, wrote:

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. Knowing this, we have decided to pivot away from early development on a Star Wars FPS Action game to focus our efforts on new projects based on our owned brands while providing support for existing games. 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. Giving fans the next installments of the iconic franchises they want is the definition of blockbuster storytelling and the right place to focus.

That’s part of a broader EA strategy to gradually move away from licensed IPs. CEO Andrew Wilson explained:

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

The reason is likely due to the massive fees involved in big licensed IPs. However, beyond Star Wars Jedi 3, EA Motive will continue to work on the Iron Man game, while Cliffhanger Studio is still on the Black Panther game. At the same time, given this new strategy, it’s hard to imagine these games getting sequels unless they are incredibly successful.

EA is only the latest company to announce massive layoffs in 2024. Riot cut 11% of its staff, and Microsoft around 8%, just like Sony did this week. There were also many cuts at smaller companies like Hidden Path, Supermassive Games, and more.

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