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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.

  • nitrium
    "Importantly, we are shifting the game to be a broader experience that allows for more variety and player agency, "

    In other words EA wants an open world Ubisoft collectathon with countless hours of grinding and pointless "side missions" (i.e. fetch quests) because that's what everyone wants apparently. Personally I prefer more focused story/gameplay, but whatever; EA knows best /sarc.
    Reply
  • eklipz330
    of course they did.
    Reply
  • 0InVader0
    Bioware's next.
    Reply
  • drtweak
    Man Bioware's practically gone already. RIP Mass Effect. And I think Andromeda had a lot of potential. Dead Space better not be gone! Damn you EA. DAMN YOOOOUUUUU!!!
    Reply
  • TMRichard
    "Importantly, we are shifting the game to be a broader experience that allows for more variety and player agency"
    Soooo Microtransactions right? I assume that's what they mean... Honestly EA "knows" it's audience and they do love money so....
    Reply
  • Lucky_SLS
    The canning of criterion games and reshuffling of the staff put an end to the burnout franchise, which franchise comes next?
    Reply
  • clonazepam
    20282595 said:
    "Importantly, we are shifting the game to be a broader experience that allows for more variety and player agency, "

    In other words EA wants an open world Ubisoft collectathon with countless hours of grinding and pointless "side missions" (i.e. fetch quests) because that's what everyone wants apparently. Personally I prefer more focused story/gameplay, but whatever; EA knows best /sarc.

    The "Shifting..." caught my eye.

    What EA and Patrick Söderlund did to Slightly Mad Studios over the Need for Speed Shift / Shift 2 titles* tells you everything you need to know about how they really feel about studios. Loan a lot of cash with an exclusivity deal attached, sign on for a sequel (Shift 3), let them spend the money, cancel the sequel to put them in jeopardy due to having nothing else in the pipeline, feed on team members' fear and uncertainty, and steal key members away to very nearly destroy the company completely.

    The silver lining is they recovered to bring us Project Cars and eventually got their whole team back away from EA after those that left realized how terrible it was there.

    Source (afaik EA hasn't responded to the accusation)

    Luckily EA didn't get their grubby paws on the beloved CDPR.

    I expect Bioware's 'Anthem' to employ a team of psychologists to steer development toward gambling and addiction. Check actual players' reviews a month or so after the honeymoon period wears off to see if its any good. I mean hopefully the gameplay feels rewarding, and not a slog meant to take advantage.
    Reply
  • nitrium
    20283188 said:
    I expect Bioware's 'Anthem' to employ a team of psychologists to steer development toward gambling and addiction. Check actual players' reviews a month or so after the honeymoon period wears off to see if its any good. I mean hopefully the gameplay feels rewarding, and not a slog meant to take advantage.
    I can't believe I forgot to mention lootboxes in my post. You obviously can't have "player agency" without lootboxes.
    Reply
  • ledhead11
    RIP Isaac!
    Reply
  • redgarl
    Basically open world >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Linear gameplay... (sarcasm)

    Yeah, the reason behind Naughty Dog games success... OPEN WORLD BABY!@!! :eyesrollingoutoforbitsandfallingonthefloorexploding:
    Reply