Visceral Games, the developer behind the Dead Space series and the Battlefield: Hardline cops & robbers spin off, is to be shut down, EA’s Patrick Söderlund revealed today. The team had been working on a Star Wars action adventure game, headed up by Amy Hennig who had directed the first three Uncharted games at Naughty Dog, but this game will now be overhauled and developed at another studio.
The decision revolves around focus testing the game and finding that it was not meeting expectations. Clearly EA decided that Visceral were not the studio to pull this off, though it’s unclear which studio within EA could do this right now and whether Hennig and her co-writer Todd Stashwick will continue to be involved.
Söderlund’s explanation is as follows:
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.
One possible developer to take would be the team at Motive Studios that were working alongside Visceral could expand to take on the entire game’s development. Motive have recently grown as the Mass Effect Andromeda team at Bioware Montreal were merged into this studio, and the team working on Star Wars Battlefront II’s single player campaign will have recently or soon be wrapping up production on that game. This is of course wild speculation.
It’s always a sad day when a storied developer is shut down, and we hope that all those affected at Visceral find land on their feet soon.