EA has announced that it’s shutting down Visceral Games, the studio best known for developing the Dead Space series of games and Battlefield Hardline. Visceral was in the middle of work on an upcoming Star Wars title, which EA says will live on in some form, with EA Worldwide Studios and EA Vancouver taking over development.
According to EA executive vice president Patrick Söderlund, Visceral’s take on the Star Wars title would have been a “story-based, linear adventure game,” which the company has decided needed to be shifted toward a “broader experience.”
EA isn’t elaborating too much on what the reimagined title will look like, but the brief description it gave about rebuilding the game to keep players occupied longer, while offering an “adventure of greater depth and breadth to explore” sounds similar to what Activision and Bungie have accomplished with Destiny and Destiny 2. This is different from the more traditionally linear project Visceral was reportedly working on. EA has already accomplished a similar transition with Anthem, the next game from BioWare, which seems to be changing from the more story-driven games the studio has developed in the past to a more open, Destiny-like experience.
There’s no mention at all, though, of the other Star Wars game EA had in development over at Respawn Entertainment, which hasn’t seen any news or information since the initial announcement back in May 2018.
Also unclear is whether or not Amy Hennig, who served as a writer and director on the Uncharted series of games before joining Visceral to work as creative director on the new Star Wars title, will continue to be a part of the upcoming game. EA has commented to The Verge the company is "...in discussions with Amy [Hennig] about her next move."
EA spokesperson tells me: "We are in discussions with Amy [Hennig] about her next move."— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) October 17, 2017
The way Visceral’s Star Wars game is experiencing trouble brings to mind the turbulent development of the now-canceled Star Wars: 1313, which was lost in the shuffle when LucasArts was shut down and the Star Wars video game development was handed over to EA.
Along with the shift in direction and shut down of Visceral, the Star Wars game — which was originally slated to launch late in 2019 — now no longer has a release window, although Söderlund’s announcement post says that the company will be announcing a new time frame sometime in the future.
Update October 17, 5:15pm: Updated post to include statements from EA.