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Former XCOM devs say their Star Wars strategy game is "unaffected" after EA cancels Respawn FPS amid layoffs

Bit Reactor are working with the Jedi: Survivor studio on the mysterious project

Cal Kestis from Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order holds his lightsaber ready to fight
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/EA

The developers of EA’s upcoming Star Wars strategy game have confirmed the project survived last week’s mass layoffs at the publisher and the cancellation of a first-person Star Wars shooter from Apex Legends studio Respawn, who are collaborating on the upcoming title.

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The currently untitled Star Wars strategy game was revealed to be in the works at Bit Reactor a couple of years ago, with the newfounded studio made up of former XCOM and Sid Meier’s Civilization devs from Firaxis, led by ex-XCOM art director Greg Foertsch.

We still don’t know much beyond that, except that Bit Reactor had partnered up with Respawn - who of course have experience in the Star Wars universe via Jedi: Fallen Order and Jedi: Survivor - to work on the new strategy title.

Given that Respawn were among those hit by EA’s recent layoffs, which saw close to 700 people lose their jobs, the closure of single-player Battlefield studio Ridgeline and the cancellation of Respawn’s Star Wars FPS - announced alongside the strategy game - in a shift away from licensed IP toward EA’s own brands, there was probable cause to fear for the survival of Bit Reactor’s strategy game.

Happily - or, at least, as ‘happy’ as things get when you’re talking about hundreds of people losing their jobs at the whims of overpaid CEOs and shareholders - it turns out that Bit Reactor’s Star Wars strategy game was “unaffected”, as the developers put it on X.

“Last week was difficult for the industry, and more so because of our strong relationships within the other teams at Respawn,” Bit Reactor wrote. “But for those asking, we are still hard at work, and our game was unaffected by last week's news.”

As for when we’ll hear more, Bit Reactor replied to one commenter saying that a first look will arrive “as soon as it’s ready”.

Katharine spoke to Foertsch about Bit Reactor’s ambitions to do for strategy what Baldur’s Gate 3 did for CRPGs, aiming to “really push on the genre” and presumably make more than an XCOM clone in Star Wars cosplay.

“[Strategy is] the genre with the most room to grow, innovate and change, and have rich stories and immersive art, and it just hasn't gotten its due,” Foertsch said at the time. “We want to make a game and just have people say, 'Man, that's an amazing game, and oh, it happens to be strategy.'”

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