EA today announced that it would be closing Visceral, the developer of the Dead Space series and Battlefield Hardline. Visceral were also working on an untitled Star Wars game, which EA have said will now be reworked. The full statement from EA makes for interesting reading.
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.
Sadly there is little new or surprising in this story. History is littered with developers who have been bought up by EA only to be shuttered a few years later. Bullfrog, Westwood Studios and Maxis all met the same fate. Interestingly, Visceral was being headed up by Amy Hennig, as close to royalty as it gets in gaming circles. She had a long career with Naughty Dog, and heavy involvement with their Uncharted series. She left the company in 2014 specifically to head up Visceral for EA.
It’s never nice to see a studio closing down, especially one that gave us the excellent Dead Space games. We here at TL;DR hope everyone at Visceral lands on their feet.