EA Shut Down Visceral Games, Moves Its Star Wars Game To Another Studio

But what's the Motive?

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.

Source: Kotaku

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11 Comments

  1. “it was shaping up to be a story-based, linear adventure game”

    “closely tracking fundamental shifts in the marketplace”

    “broader experience that allows for more variety and player agency”

    I’m gonna call it as EA didn’t like the fact they couldn’t inject loot boxes, coins, etc and so shut it down.

    • It certainly stinks of EA worrying about not being able to keep selling junk to us after release, which is a shame because like Jake says Star Wars games have always been know for their brilliant storytelling. I hope Battlefront 2’s single player lives up to the standard of that cutscene trailer, it could be this tens Force Unleashed. And I hope whatever happens with this Star Wars game that the talent working on it aren’t thrown out on the street and that development continues elsewhere.

  2. “it was shaping up to be a story-based, linear adventure game.”

    Sounds like the kind of game I’d like to play.

    They’ll probably turn it into some basic, bland and completely uninteresting game like Destiny or Star Wars Battlefront.

    Such a waste.

    • Yeah it does sound like they might be moving to something Destiny-ish and I guess this going to put the game back a good few years.

      I wonder if Hennig will stay, Naughty Dog always had one vision and stuck to it, the opinions of playtesters would have not influenced game design as it appears they have here and that’s probably not going to sit well with her.

      • I’m sure Hennig is pissed at the decision and rightly so. It must be frustrating to have a project pulled after years of hard work because EA want a cash cow instead of a decent story-driven, linear game.

        Hennigs work on the first two Uncharted games was excellent and her involvement in this game was one of the reasons I was interested in the first place. Nevermind.

  3. This annoys me.

    I’m sure a single-player story-focused Star Wars game would be great considering the others have been multiplayer as of late.

    Star Wars is a franchise renowned for its incredible story which sadly has never translated into video games well, but I think we’re at a point in technology where it would work well, especially with Amy Hennig penning the story.

    I’m also a massive fan of Dead Space and while there probably wasn’t anything in the pipeline for the franchise anytime soon, I’m sad this almost completely destroys all hope if it happening in future.

    Visceral was my favorite of all the EA studios. It seems to me like EA wants to monetize on the new Star Wars game by changing its direction, and to potentially have loot boxes or microtransactions incorporated into it. Meh.

  4. No PS4 Dead Space :-(

  5. Well, that’s my interest in this game completely blown then, I expect. I was so looking forward to a decent single-player, story-based Star Wars game…

  6. They’re gonna turn it into a bland open world repetitive mission loot box grindfest aren’t they?

  7. I’ve thought long and hard about this and inevitably i arrive at the same conclusion – fucksticks.

  8. I really hope that EA will destroy itself in near future. In the meantime i just do my part and keep distance from EA games. I will be really, really far away from them

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