Visceral Games, the developers behind the Dead Space series and Battlefield Hardline, have been shut down by their owner, EA.
The Californian development offshoot of EA started out in 1998 as EA Redwood Shores, developing a handful of PlayStation games that included Future Cop: LAPD and Road Rash: Jailbreak. A bunch of licenced games followed, including several based on properties such as 007, The Godfather, The Lord of the Rings and The Simpsons. But it was 2008’s Dead Space and its ensuing sequels that really put their name on the map.
“Yeah, but what have they done lately?” you may ponder. Well, Visceral were working on a new Star Wars game with Amy Hennig – the creative director of Naughty Dog’s Uncharted series – that was promising to be more story-based than EA’s Battlefront releases. Due in 2018, the game was set to have an original Star Wars universe story, complete with new characters. Needless to say, that date has been pushed back to some point that’s yet to be specified.
EA’s executive V.P., Patrick Söderlund, has posted the following to www.ea.com:
“Our industry is evolving faster and more dramatically than ever before. The games we want to play and spend time with, the experiences we want to have in those games, and the way we play… all those things are continually changing. So is the way games are made. In this fast-moving space, we are always focused on creating experiences that our players want to play… and today, that means we’re making a significant change with one of our upcoming titles.
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.
Bringing new Star Wars games to life for every passionate fan out there is what drives us as creators. It’s what has inspired us to deliver the massive new Star Wars Battlefront II experience launching in just a few weeks. It fuels our live service in Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes. Making games in the extraordinary Star Wars universe is truly a dream for so many of us at EA, and we have so many more experiences to come for players on every platform. We want to take the time to get each game right, to make it unique, to make it amazing.
We look forward to answering more of your questions, and sharing more on our plans and timeline for this new Star Wars experience, in the months to come.”
Well, at least it isn’t a cookie-cutter one sentence comment. Our very best wishes to those from Visceral Games who don’t find new work homes in the EA shuffle.