Dead Space

EA is shutting down Visceral Games, the studio behind games like Battlefield Hardline and Dead Space, the publisher said today. The Star Wars game in development at Visceral will be revamped and move to a different studio, EA says, although it will now be something completely different.

“Our Visceral studio has been developing an action-adventure title set in the Star Wars universe,” EA’s Patrick Söderlund said in a blog post. “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.”

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Söderlund added that Visceral will be “ramping down and closing” and that “we’re in the midst of shifting as many of the team as possible to other projects and teams at EA.”

“Lastly,” he said, “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.”

UPDATE (3:37pm): In an e-mail to employees obtained by Kotaku, Söderlund offered more details on the Star Wars game, which was codenamed Ragtag:

A development team from across Worldwide Studios will take over development of Ragtag, led by the EA Vancouver team that has already been working on the project. Steve Anthony will lead this team, and we will use much of the work that has been done to date by Visceral – the assets of Ragtag that have already been built will be the foundation of this new game.

(Steve Anthony is an executive producer at EA.)

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It’s safe to presume that the new incarnation of this Star Wars game will involve “games as a service” elements, as has been EA’s mandate for quite some time now.

EA was not clear about the status of longtime Uncharted director Amy Hennig, who joined Visceral to direct this Star Wars game after she left Naughty Dog in early 2014. In an e-mail, an EA spokesperson said: “We are in discussions with Amy about her next move.”

I’d been hearing rumors for quite some time now that Visceral’s Star Wars game was in trouble, and that studios across EA were brought in to help give it vision and direction. Now, that game is no more.