EA Shuts Down Visceral Games (Dead Space, Single-Player Star Wars Project)
EA have announced that they are shutting down Visceral Games, the studio behind the entire Dead Space series, Battlefield Hardline, and an upcoming unnamed Star Wars game that had been teased by EA in previous years.
Visceral brought Amy Hennig, most famously known as director of Uncharted 2, on board for the studio's Star Wars game that is now being significantly retooled. As EA's executive vice president Patrick Söderlund implied in a blog post, the game seems to be moving from a self-contained single-player experience to a long-term Games as a Service model.
“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.”
Work on the game will slowly wind down at Visceral as EA shutters the studio and will transfer to EA Vancouver, who had already been helping to work on the game. There is no word on how EA plans to proceed with Amy Hennig yet.
As part of this shift, the Star Wars game is also being delayed from 2019 to an undefined date in the future. It is unknown if any of the original teaser or game design will remain.
Electronic Arts have full exclusivity for Star Wars console games, a deal that ensured much of the company would be focusing on the license for the foreseeable future. This continues with the release of Battlefront II on November 17, which is being worked on by studios including EA Motive, DICE, and Criterion.
For better or worse, EA are completely moving to a model of Games as a Service, which seemingly does not include studios like Visceral which specialize in story-driven single-player experiences. We are saddened to hear about the studio's closure and hope for the best for everyone affected.