EA is going to shut down Visceral Games, the studio that has brought gamers some excellent titles, such as Dead Space, Battlefield Hardline, and the classic 007: Agent Under Fire. The studio was already developing a new Star Wars game in the midst of this shutdown, so EA plans on moving the game to a new studio to finish it up. The game will be completely different than what Visceral Games had planned for it.
According to EA’s Patrick Söderlund, the new Star Wars game is currently a “story-based, linear adventure game,” but EA now has other plans for it. Söderlund continued to say that:
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.
Only an hour later, an email sent by Söderlund to his employees, obtained by Kotaku, revealed that a development team from Worldwide Studios would take on the development of the Star Wars game, which was given the codename “Ragtag.” EA Vancouver will lead the development. This makes sense, considering they had been working on the project with Visceral Game before they were disbanded. The executive producer of EA, Steve Anthony, will lead the charge by using much of the work that Visceral Games had put into the game by changing the focus of it to be more of a “games as a service” type of product. This shouldn’t be a surprise; that’s the direction EA has been going with a lot of their games for a while now (look at Star Wars: Battlefront).
With Visceral Games shutting down, it’s only natural that the game they were in the process of developing be changed a bit too. Expect for it to be less of story-driven game, and more of a title comparable to Destiny. How successfully EA ends up doing this will depend on how well they are able to pick up where Visceral Games left off. Luckily, the staff that made up the studio won’t be completely out of work. Söderlund went on by saying that many of the Visceral Games staff will be transferred to other EA teams and studios where they’re needed.
What are your thoughts on this move by EA? Are you worried about what this might mean for the new Star Wars title? Let us know in the comments below!