Today Electronic Arts announced that Dead Space series developer Visceral Games “will be ramping down and closing” following a fundamental change in the development of the Star Wars game directed by Uncharted veteran Amy Hennig.
Executive Vice President Patrick Söderlund explained that the game, which was shaping up as “a story-based, linear adventure game” was tested internally, and the company decided that it needed a change of direction.
It will retain “the stunning visuals, authenticity in the Star Wars universe, and focus on bringing a Star Wars story to life,” but the overall design will be changed to a “broader experience that allows for more variety and player agency” taking advantage of Frostbite engine. Central elements will be reimagined “to give players a Star Wars adventure of greater depth and breadth to explore.”
While Söderlund doesn’t say it explicitly, that sounds like a shift towards an open world design, even if we’ll have to wait and see.
Development will be taken over by another (not yet named) Electronic Arts studio, under the leadership of EA Vancouver, that has already been working on the project. The publisher is also working on moving as many Visceral developers as possible to other studios and projects.
Last, but not least, the game was supposed to launch in the fiscal year 2019 (between April 1st, 2018 and March 31st, 2019), but Electronic Arts is now “looking at a new timeframe” that will be announced down the line.
At the moment, it is unclear whether Amy Hennig will remain at the helm of the project.
Visceral Games (formerly EA Redwood Shores) was founded in 1998. During its nearly twenty years of history, it developed quite a few well-known games like the Dead Space series, Dante’s Inferno and Battlefield Hardline.
As usual, all we can do is hoping that the developers affected will find a new avenue to express their talent soon.