EA Shutters Visceral Games, 'Significant Changes' Coming to Star Wars Game

Visceral Games  Electronic Arts

Visceral Games Electronic Arts

Earlier today, video game publisher Electronic Arts (EA) surprised many by announcing that it would be closing EA Visceral.

For the past few years, Visceral has been working on a Star Wars title under the lead of creative director Amy Hennig.

Visceral, the team behind such games as Dead Space and Battlefield Hardline, is ramping down and closing after almost 20 years of making games, EA executive vice president Patrick Söderlund announced in a blog post.

While the Star Wars game is alive, it appears to be taking a fundamentally different form than its original pitch, which was linear and story-driven.

As we see it will be a long time since we'll be able to play this mysterious Star Wars title.

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Developers now working at Visceral Games are said to be transfered to other projects and teams at EA Games.

It sounds like the linear action game is getting broadened and expanded into a full-fledged open world title, though Soderlund writes that "we will maintain the stunning visuals, authenticity in the Star Wars universe, and focus on bringing a Star Wars story to life".

Games like Uncharted 4: A Thief's End receive a lot of critical praise, but their linear structures make it hard to monetize them post-release.

"EA's games today are live services - awesome experiences that we update and evolve to deliver ongoing fun that keeps players engaged, connects them to friends, brings them more content and grows our network", said Wilson during an analyst conference call. But that's little comfort to Star Wars and Uncharted fans that were looking forward to Visceral's game.

Visceral Games (formerly EA Redwood Shores) was the studio behind the beloved horror franchise Dead Space and had developed Battlefield Hardline, The Godfather games and The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King back in the PS2 era. Visceral will be ramping down and closing, and EA says it's shifting its team members to other projects. Motive have recently grown as the Mass Effect Andromeda team at Bioware Montreal were merged into this studio, and the team working on Star Wars Battlefront II's single player campaign will have recently or soon be wrapping up production on that game. Where the Visceral game presumably told an enclosed story based on characters, the new Star Wars game will offer players more freedom and reasons to "come back and enjoy for a long time to come". According to an email EA sent to its employees acquired by Kotaku, Steve Anthony is going to lead the rebooted Star Wars project. "We are shifting the game to be a broader experience that allows for more variety and player agency".

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