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EA Shuts Down Visceral Games

Another long-running game studio is no more. EA’s Visceral Games is closing its doors today, according to an announcement by company executive vice president Patrick Söderlund.

He mentioned that the decision to close the studio was in part due to its ongoing work on an unnamed Star Wars title, which had Naughty Dog veteran Amy Hennig as its creative director. He wrote that the company needed to “pivot the design”—in this case, put the development process in the hands of another studio—in order to make the game a success.

“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.”

The work is now in the hands of a new team of developers from across EA’s multiple studios, along with a smaller group from EA Vancouver that was already working on the game with Visceral prior to its closure. This change also means a delay in the release date. The initial plan was to launch the title sometime in 2019. Söderlund didn’t provide a new date, but the company plans to announced a “new timeframe” in the future.

Prior to its rebranding as "Visceral Games," the studio was called "EA Redwood Shores." Its most famous creation to date was the
Dead Space series, a sci-fi horror franchise that followed Isaac Clarke as he fought the terrifying Necromorph aliens. Most recently, it created Battlefield: Hardline back in 2015. Since then, the developers worked on the mysterious Star Wars game.