EA is shutting down Visceral Games
What does this mean for the upcoming Star Wars title?
Published: 17th October 2017 | Source: EA |
EA is shutting down Visceral Games
Visceral has been working on an upcoming Star Wars adventure game since 2013, with this announcement leaving the game in a troubled state. Visceral's upcoming Star Wars game will now be developed by teams across EA Worldwide Studios, with a team within EA Vancouver leading its development moving forward. This unannounced Star Wars game has also been delayed indefinitely, as this change will move development in a new direction which will delay it past EA's original 2019 (financial year) timeframe.
Our Visceral studio has been developing an action-adventure title set in the Star Wars universe. In its current form, it was shaping up to be a story-based, linear adventure game. Throughout the development process, we have been testing the game concept with players, listening to the feedback about what and how they want to play, and closely tracking fundamental shifts in the marketplace. It has become clear that to deliver an experience that players will want to come back to and enjoy for a long time to come, we needed to pivot the design. We will maintain the stunning visuals, authenticity in the Star Wars universe, and focus on bringing a Star Wars story to life. Importantly, we are shifting the game to be a broader experience that allows for more variety and player agency, leaning into the capabilities of our Frostbite engine and reimagining central elements of the game to give players a Star Wars adventure of greater depth and breadth to explore.
This move leads to a few other changes:
A development team from across EA Worldwide Studios will take over development of this game, led by a team from EA Vancouver that has already been working on the project. Our Visceral studio will be ramping down and closing, and we’re in the midst of shifting as many of the team as possible to other projects and teams at EA.
Lastly, while we had originally expected this game to launch late in our fiscal year 2019, we’re now looking at a new timeframe that we will announce in the future.
EA is said to be in talks with Amy Hennig regarding "her next move", which likely means that EA wishes to transfer her to another EA studio. It has also been confirmed that EA plans on relocating as many Visceral employees as possible to other projects and teams within the company.
Visceral has been in a bad position since the lukewarm reception of Dead Space 3, which sold well under EA's sales targets for the game. After that release, the studio worked on Battlefield: Hardline, which also received a mixed reception from both critics and end users, giving the studio a bad reputation within EA's corporate structure.
This comes less than three months after EA's decision to merge Bioware Montreal with EA Motive, effectively closing down Bioware Montreal. It is also known that Respawn Entertainment, the developers of Titanfall, is also working on their own Star Wars game.
At this time it is unknown what this change will bring to the development of Visceral's story-driven Star Wars game, or what EA means with phrases like "closely tracking fundamental shifts in the marketplace" and "shifting the game to be a broader experience that allows for more variety and player agency" actually means. Hopefully, this project will still result in a good game, though the question now is how long will it take for us to actually see it?