In a shocking and disappointing move (at least according to the internet at large), Electronic Arts has decided to shut down Visceral Games. This comes as a blow to many Star Wars fans who have been eagerly awaiting news of the Amy Hennig (of Uncharted fame) led Star Wars adventure game.
Visceral had been working on the Star Wars adventure title, said to be similar to Uncharted in gameplay, since 2013. With the news of Visceral’s closure, EA executive vice president Patrick Söderlund has announced that “significant changes” are coming to the game. While it’s good news that the game isn’t cancelled outright, I fear for what these changes could be (I think a little thing called Destiny 2 might have a bit of influence here…). His full statement can be seen below.
“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.”
Along with this statement, it has been revealed that the game has been indefinitely delayed, pushed back from a slated release window of the 2019 fiscal year (April 2018 through March 2019). When asked about Any Hennig’s future with EA, a representative stated that they are “in discussions with Amy about her next move”.
EA’s next Star Wars title is the upcoming Star Wars Battlefront II, which just saw a popular but heavily critiqued open beta period. The game has been slammed by gaming media and fans for pushing a pay-to-win lootbox model, which you can read more about here. Titanfall developer Respawn is also said to be working on a Star Wars title, but there is no news on that venture at this time.
Star Wars aside, the closing of Visceral means there is little-to-no hope of another Battlefield game in the style of Hardline, let alone a Dead Space revamp or another Army of Two title. The closure of a studio is almost always a sad thing, and I for one am disappointed to hear the news. Hopefully the staff at Visceral land on their feet elsewhere and continue to pump out quality titles.