In a stunning move, EA has announced that they have decided to shut down developer Visceral Games.
It’s not clear exactly why EA decided to shutter the studio. However, EA did release a statement regarding the future development of Visceral’s high-profile Star Wars game.
“Our Visceral studio has been developing an action-adventure title set in the Star Wars universe,” said EA’s Patrick Söderlund. “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.”
There is an ominous tone to that message that suggests EA may completely redesign the game and perhaps even remove its narrative-based linear design. Some even suggest it will be retooled to meet EA’s “games as a service” mantra.
There’s no word on when the game will actually be released – it was scheduled to ship in 2019 – but an internal e-mail picked up by Kotaku suggests that Worldwide Studios will take over the development of the project (known as Ragtag) and that members of the Visceral may be shifted to other teams within EA.
Unfortunately, it’s also unclear whether or not Amy Hennig – formerly of Naughty Dog and now formerly of Visceral – and other high-profile Visceral members will be transitioning to other parts of EA.
Rumors regarding the troubled development of Visceral’s Star Wars game have been circulating for some time, but none of them really suggested that the studio itself may be in trouble. Aside from their exciting work on the Star Wars project, Visceral will likely be remembered as the studio behind one of the best horror games ever made, Dead Space. Their closure comes as a tremendous shock.
We wish everyone at Visceral the best of luck moving forward. We’ll be sure to bring you more information regarding this matter as it becomes available.
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