In a blog post released by EA during the week, it was announced that EA has shut down Visceral Games. The studio was behind such titles as Dead Space and Battlefield Hardline, as well as the likes of James Bond 007: Agent Under Fire and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (video game) under their former EA Redwood Shores name.
(Image via Visceral’s Twitter)
What happened to Visceral?
Visceral were working on a new single player focused Star Wars game, code named Ragtag, which was being helmed by former Crystal Dynamics and Naughty Dog lead writer Amy Hennig. EA’s Executive Vice President Patrick Söderlund stated:
Our Visceral studio has been developing an action-adventure title set in the Star Wars universe. In its current form, it was shaping up to be a story-based, linear adventure game.
Söderlund goes on to explain the new direction of the game and who would be taking over development:
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.
A development team from across EA Worldwide Studios will take over development of this game, led by a team from EA Vancouver that has already been working on the project. Our Visceral studio will be ramping down and closing, and we’re in the midst of shifting as many of the team as possible to other projects and teams at EA.
Finally, news of the release window was given, with a push back from its original 2019 window, stating:
Lastly, while we had originally expected this game to launch late in our fiscal year 2019, we’re now looking at a new timeframe that we will announce in the future.
Although several key members of the team, such as Glen Schofield, had left Visceral to form Sledgehammer Games in 2009, Visceral had some immense talent and created some great titles over the years. There is no news yet on Amy Hennig‘s role with EA, but it is reported by several outlets that EA are in talks with Hennig.
What will come of this Star Wars game? Will it be more multiplayer focused game, in the guise of Destiny? Only time will tell. We wish all the best for the former staff of Visceral.