The mega-publisher is also “making a significant change” to their upcoming Star Wars title, Visceral Games’ final project.
Star Wars Battlefront was good and all, but it was basically Battlefield in Star Wars cosplay. It was critically lacking in single-player content and, most importantly, a story campaign. EA have listened to fan pressure – and John Boyega – and stuffed a campaign mode into Battlefront II, but they also have another story-focused Star Wars game in the works, written by industry legend Amy Hennig and developed by Visceral Games.
Sorry. That might now need to be a past-tense statement – they had another story-focused Star Wars game in the works. We’re not entirely sure what the status is at this stage.
Patrick Söderlund, executive vice president of EA since 2013, has today published a statement that throws uncertainty on the future of that Star Wars game, but leaves little doubt about the future of Visceral Games.
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.
He begins, promising that the story-focused Star Wars game will continue in some form, before delivering the upsetting news about Visceral Games.
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.
That statement effectively brings Visceral Games to an end. The California-based studio, formerly known as EA Redwood Shores, was best known for developing the Dead Space series. They also developed 2015’s Battlefield Hardline – a cops and robbers take on EA’s classic military shooter – and a wide range of other games, from NASCAR and golf to Bond, The Godfather, and the PS2-era Lord of the Rings games.
A studio shutting its doors is always sad news, and while we’re sure EA will do their best to retain a number of displaced staff at their other studios, let’s all rally behind the #VisceralJobs hashtag on Twitter to try and get those folks back into work.
It doesn’t matter a jot compared to the loss of employment, but Visceral’s Star Wars game – their final game, which was originally slated for 2019 – has been delayed as a result.
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