EA shuts down Visceral Games, Star Wars title being revamped

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Dead Space, Star Wars developer Visceral shut down

Dead Space. Battlefield Hardline. And would be Star Wars. These were all titles the EA-owned studio Visceral Games brought to life underneath their publisher, who has continued its trend of shuttering talent it brings under its wing. Dead Space set a new bar for horror games with its atmosphere and sound design, tight narrative and attention to gameplay principles. So to have some of those minds, as well as that of Uncharted designer and writer Amy Hennig, behind a single-player Star Wars game sounded like a dream. One that is likely never going to be more than that.

Visceral Games is closing its doors, announced EA this evening. The publisher offered a simultaneously vague and detailed explanation for the move, most of which rested on the progress of their Star Wars title. The game, which previously had a 2019 release date, was being angled as a single-player, narrative focused adventure. An angle EA seemingly didn’t take to, as it no longer allowed them to pump in post-launch content into it.

If you don’t believe it’s that clear cut, just take a look at some of the wording in the press release.

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.

BioWare has already been repurposed to create EA’s own Destiny in the form of Anthem, and this Star Wars title might see a similar fate. The game is for all intents and purposes cancelled, aiming to be reborn as something entirely new at EA Vancouver (supported by many other EA studios). That project won’t be lead by Amy Hennig though, as Jason Schreier reports on Kotaku. Hennig’s place within EA is also being discussed, and it’s unclear where she might land.

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EA is promising that most of Visceral’s team will be absorbed into other EA studios, but it’s not immediately clear if that means some might be out of jobs entirely. It’s a difficult time in the land of single-player focused AAA games. While fewer are releasing, those that do are seeing sales far below expected targets. While games as service are seeing massive support.

Last Updated: October 17, 2017

Alessandro Barbosa

You can all call me Sandy until I figure out how to edit this thing, which is probably never. Sandy not good enough? Call me xXx_J0k3R_360degreeN0Sc0pe_xXx. Also, Geoff’s a bastard.

  • For the Emperor!

    Nooooooo!

    • For the Emperor!

      Did they not perhaps think that single player sales are lower than expected because the force MP and Micro Transaction BS into every single damn game?

      • For the Emperor!

        If EA published a solitaire game, it would be always online and you would have to buy the premium pack to get the Ace of Hearts and the Ace of Spades would be a pre-order bonus!
        You would also have to compete against some random person on the internet who has all the DLCs and “boosts” like “swap those two cards” or “reveal any face down card and add it to the deck”

      • Matthew Holliday

        ofcourse not, online, multiplayer, microtransactions and half sized games with 2x game sized DLCs are not the problem.
        These are bonuses that do not at all detract from the main game, gifts given to us by our benevolent overlord: EA.

        So if a game doesnt sell well, the studio that made it must be bad and should be nuked.
        EAs policies are not to blame.

        Right?

  • Magoo

    Who knows, maybe EA has finally absorbed enough straight-minded companies that their workforce will one day stand up to the greed.

    • Admiral Chief

      Haha, funny guy

  • Hammersteyn

    Oh but Battlefront 2, Anthem and Need for Speed are on its way. Continue supporting the serial killer of studios. I know I’ll continue my boycott.

    • Admiral Chief

      OR, just replay KotOR 1 and 2 and Republic Commando!

    • Nikola

      What’s wrong with Need for Speed looks awesome? So does Anthem!!
      To be honest I would not mind a Destiny type Star Wars game like I would play the shit out of it:)

      However I was kind of looking forward to a new single player story StarWars game….fucking EA…

      • Hammersteyn

        Nothing wrong with NFS, but everything is wrong with EA.

        • Nikola

          Yeah I agree 99% of the gaming industry is bullshit these days but I just try ignore all the politics and play my games hahaha otherwise flip we should all just play indie games:)

  • Unavengedavo

    Sounds like 1313 all over again… I don’t think we’ll see another epic Star Wars game ever again.

    • Admiral Chief

      Too soon man, too soon. I still remember the gameplay as if it was 5 minutes ago

  • Steffmeister

    As someone who only plays single player story driven games….this is worrying.
    I’m skipping Shadow of War (for now) as I just don’t have time for an open world grind fest. Give me a good 10 hour story rather. But I guess those games just don’t make enough money without some added microtransaction multiplayer component. [sigh]

  • Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

    Isn’t Battlefront 2 a multiplayer game? Are they changing the focus from the single player game to another multiplayer? I don’t get it.

    Also, don’t hate on the publisher. They’re only going where the money is.

  • Nikola

    Just give us a new single player KoToR game please!!! Don’t care about the rest…

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