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Amy Hennig Is Headed to Visceral Games

The former creative director of the Uncharted franchise will now be working on the studio's upcoming Star Wars project

Amy Hennig is the new creative director on Visceral Games' upcoming Star Wars title.
Amy Hennig is the new creative director on Visceral Games' upcoming Star Wars title.

Amy Hennig has found a new home.

The former creative director and lead writer on Naughty Dog's Uncharted series has landed at EA's Visceral Games. She will once again assume the role of creative director, this time on the studio's upcoming Star Wars project.

"As both a colleague and friend, I’ve always admired [Hennig's] approach to creative development," said Visceral studio head Steve Papoutsis in a statement posted on EA's website. "Focusing on nailing down the soul of a game first, and then making sure the writing, the gameplay, the design and the art comes together to form a unified, interactive experience for the player. This fits in perfectly with what we’re trying to do here at Visceral and Amy’s going to help us continue in our pursuit to make the most thrilling, immersive games in the world."

This is actually a return to EA for Hennig. She once worked for the publisher as an artist and animator in the early '90s, before she eventually moved on to the jobs at Crystal Dynamics and Naughty Dog that would define her career.

Little is known regarding Visceral's Star Wars project. The studio will be developing it alongside multiple other games, which will come from DICE and BioWare, and though they're planned for release in the vicinity of the upcoming JJ Abrams-directed movie sequels, EA has repeatedly said that these new games won't be movie tie-ins.

Hennig has taken to Twitter today to talk about both her excitement to be "home" at EA, and the prospect on working on a franchise that heavily influenced her.

I began my career @EA almost a quarter century ago (I have the 1991 Rising Star award from @realtriphawkins to prove it - ha! ;) ...

— Amy Hennig (@amy_hennig) April 3, 2014

... It might've taken me 23 years, but I'm back - and it's good to be home @EA !

— Amy Hennig (@amy_hennig) April 3, 2014

It's a privilege to have the opportunity to contribute to the Star Wars universe, after it's had such a formative influence on my life.

— Amy Hennig (@amy_hennig) April 3, 2014

Alex Navarro on Google+
133 CommentsRefresh

Avatar image for jackg100
Posted By JackG100

Should just make a Kyle Katarn reboot-series imo! Or just a new Kyle Katarn-game, man Kyle Katarn is so great, Kyle Katarn! KYLE KATARN! *brain explodes*

Avatar image for wolfhazard
Posted By WolfHazard

Really glad she found work however I can't help but groan every time I hear "star wars project". But hey I like her work and maybe this will be the one.

Avatar image for poltergeist13
Posted By poltergeist13

New Star Wars, the next Dead Space...at the least stories will probably be well written.

Avatar image for jakob187
Posted By jakob187

1. Didn't know Visceral was making a Star Wars game.

2. Didn't know that Hennig went to Visceral.

3. Remembers the greatness of Dead Space. Starts getting excited.

4. Remembers how bad Dante's Inferno was. Starts getting skeptical.

HERE'S TO HOPING!

Avatar image for zolroyce
Edited By ZolRoyce

I'd like to see Giant Bomb have Amy Henning on the Giant Bombcast. :)

Oh gosh, I'd love that, or any segment on the site really but I'd love to hear the fellas interview/talk with her.

Anyways, besides that, fingers crossed for a good game like all hell, the last few 'big' Star Wars games were pretty mediocre, the last few I had like real fun with were all from the PS2 era or before, Jedi Knight 2, Battlefront, KOTOR. Since then it's all been fairly milquetoast besides one or two RTS that were alright. So man, with a new Battlefront in the works and whatever she is working on, here is to hoping for a batch of new good Star Wars games.

Now if only someone would give Star Trek some love, when was the last good Star Trek game, Bridge Commander? Elite Force?

Avatar image for geraltitude
Posted By GERALTITUDE

@hailinel said:

@korwin said:

@hailinel said:

@geraltitude: But how long has the game Breen in development?

No Caption Provided

Goddamn, autocorrect is weird.

@geraltitude said:

@hailinel said:

@geraltitude: But how long has the game Breen in development? 2015 is next year, after all. Was the game such a clusterfuck up to this point that they needed a new creative director? Did the project just not have one until now?

There's so much we don't know about this to be fair.. I don't think it needs to be a clusterfuck though.

EA only got the Star Wars license in May of 2013. So it hasn't even been one year of development if we assume they started the very next day.

As I remember you're a QA dude so I don't need to tell you 1 year is not a long time for a massive ass big budget, AAA Star Wars game.

I'm sure they've been concepting and cranking out 3D assets (buildings, ships, who knows) and - mostly - tuning Frostbite for the game. Like I said if they knew it was going to be a 3rd person shooter they'd have tons to work on with or without a creative director.

Considering the dates I feel it makes a lot of sense they were still early enough for a new Creative Director to come on board. I think of course it will be a little messy - it always is coming into a project that's already begun - but nothing to be concerned about.

The thing about software production, and this goes for any sort of software, not just games is that if you're churning out assets before you have a solid plan in place, you're putting the cart before the horse. If you want to manage a game of the size and scope that I imagine that this Star Wars game is to take, you have to start with a conceptualized idea of what sort of action game you're making and what it's about. You need to understand what sort of assets are required and how they'll be used before you start making them. If you've busied yourself for a year or so just cranking out stormtrooper models and the like before you have someone on board to direct in how they'll be used, you're either going to throw away a lot of unused work or shoehorn the director into using assets you've already generated. Assuming that the game is due for a holiday 2015 release, which would give them realistically less than a year and a half to get the game into an alpha state, if all they've been doing is generating graphic assets and coding the engine for a third-person shooter with no concept of how it's all going to fit together, that means that they would have even less time to design a scenario, build out how the game is going to progress, put the assets they've generated in place and determine if they need more, finalize how the game is actually going to play, get the script, voice acting, and cinematics done, and then put the game through its paces in testing.

That is a lot (and I mean a lot) of shit to get done before the game can ship for a theoretical holiday 2015 release. I would have to imagine that if the game were on track and Visceral weren't just sitting on their hands, they would have a lot more of the blocks in place at this point, and Hennig has fewer ways in which she could guide the design than she would have had if she had stayed at Naughty Dog for Uncharted 4.

100% !

My thinking was that because Visceral isn't building a universe from the ground up, or an engine, they can start prototyping early - not making gameready assets, but I imagine studying Star Wars architecture and prototype similar pieces, for example. I just figured EA/Disney had some loose guidelines with which Visceral could get to work with (It's on a known SW planet for example). Plus I get the impression Visceral builds the core game first, then builds in story, characters, etc.

In the quote from the Visceral dude:

"As both a colleague and friend, I’ve always admired her approach to creative development – focusing on nailing down the soul of a game first, and then making sure the writing, the gameplay, the design and the art comes together to form a unified, interactive experience for the player. This fits in perfectly with what we’re trying to do here at Visceral."

So he says 1) Soul of the Game (whatever that is really) 2) Writing, Gameplay, Design, etc. I would take this to mean that Visceral has been trying very hard to establish the Soul of the Game, and that Amy will come in to polish that off, and begin "True Development".

This game may not be 2015, 2015 is just the first year we're supposed to expect these EA Star Wars games to hit, as that's when the new movie hits. I feel you're right about their not being a lot of time for them to develop, but, I guess we'll see.

In the rest of the quote it seems pretty straightforward that she's joining a team in development. So probably they're further along than I think. He ends the post by saying "if you want to join our Visceral team click here!" which reads like "gearing up for major production" to me.

Avatar image for ultrapeanut
Posted By ultrapeanut
Avatar image for pirsig
Edited By Pirsig

It's great that she's working on star wars and all, but I have been burned by liking that franchise so much at this point I find it hard to give a shit new Star Wars games are coming until we can actually get our hands on them to find out if they're any good, or that they'll actually make it out at all (I miss you 1313). Also, visceral hasn't made a single game I enjoy, so yeah, not super confident with them either.

Avatar image for unilad
Posted By Unilad

"....and Amy’s going to help us continue in our pursuit to make the most thrilling, immersive games in the world."

IN THE WORLD

THE. WORLD.

No Caption Provided

Haha! Love it.

Avatar image for marchantia
Posted By Marchantia

Wait, Uncharted has a story?

Avatar image for singingmenstrual
Posted By SingingMenstrual

Anyone else planning to give Dead Space 2 and Uncharted 2 another go after seeing this?

I just finished uninstalling DS2 on PC, and got my PS3 ready with UC2.. I totally needed two perfect games to play after finishing Assassin's Creed 2, these games will be it.

I'll start when I'm done with this fucking ESSAY though.. Stupid university.

Avatar image for machofantastico
Posted By MachoFantastico

Have a lot of respect for Amy, always came across as super genuine in interviews so excited to see what she does at Visceral Games...

Please let it be Kotor 3, I think seeing a Visceral developed Kotor game would be cool.

Avatar image for ripelivejam
Posted By ripelivejam

man, people really seem to admire her/hold her in high esteem, and i wasn't aware she existed before she left Naughty Dog. maybe i should do more than watch the Uncharted games being played, or give Soul Reaver a chance...

Avatar image for blackout62
Posted By Blackout62

For the briefest of moments I read Visceral as Volition.

...The sweetest of dreams in that moment.

Avatar image for edeo
Posted By edeo

Blech, Why did it have to be Star Wars of all things?

Avatar image for fetchfox
Posted By fetchfox

The promise of a bitchin' Star Wars game? Color be exited!

Avatar image for probablytuna
Posted By probablytuna

I had assumed Hennig would want to take a break from big budget blockbuster type games, but I guess it makes sense why she would want to work on a similar (if not bigger) scale like her previous projects.

Avatar image for lava
Edited By Lava

I'm hoping this means we wont have more dumb things like The Force Unleashed. Looking forward to her involvement in the Star Wars franchise!

Avatar image for angrighandi
Posted By AngriGhandi

@korwin: I suppose you're right! It's certainly felt like decades.

Avatar image for korwin
Posted By korwin

Fuck. Yes.

Do you know what the biggest problem with Star Wars stuff has been for the past, like, two decades? It wasn't funny, endearing, or exciting, and every new character was a hollow boring shell not worth a damn.

Amy Hennig does the exact opposite of all of those things.

You know what the other problem has been? Everything got too clean and shiny.

Visceral literally do not know how to model a clean surface.

I know I don't speak for everyone, but to me, this might as well be some kind of goddamn karmic rebalancing, coming this soon after the Oculus news.

Awesome thing is unexpectedly ruined, awesome thing is unexpectedly announced.

Circle of life, mannn

Not quite 20 years :P JKII and KOTOR are both under the 20 mark.

Avatar image for dr_mantas
Edited By dr_mantas

Good.

Avatar image for angrighandi
Edited By AngriGhandi

Fuck. Yes.

Do you know what the biggest problem with new Star Wars stuff has been for the past, like, two decades? It wasn't funny, endearing, or exciting, and every new character was a hollow boring shell not worth a damn.

Amy Hennig does the exact opposite of all of those things.

You know what the other problem has been? Everything got too clean and shiny.

Visceral literally do not know how to model a clean surface.

I know I don't speak for everyone, but to me, this might as well be some kind of goddamn karmic rebalancing, coming this soon after the Oculus news.

Awesome thing is unexpectedly ruined, awesome thing is unexpectedly announced.

Circle of life, mannn

Avatar image for crithon
Posted By crithon

JESUS CHRIST..... I never liked anything by visceral, but like.... wow..... Soul Reaver style Star Wars game, YES PLEASE!!!!!!

Avatar image for sprode
Posted By sprode

Maybe this means Star Wars will finally get another game that isn't a blatant cash-grab.

Although I wish she and Visceral were doing something more original.

Avatar image for hailinel
Edited By Hailinel

@korwin said:

@hailinel said:

@geraltitude: But how long has the game Breen in development?

No Caption Provided

Goddamn, autocorrect is weird.

@hailinel said:

@geraltitude: But how long has the game Breen in development? 2015 is next year, after all. Was the game such a clusterfuck up to this point that they needed a new creative director? Did the project just not have one until now?

There's so much we don't know about this to be fair.. I don't think it needs to be a clusterfuck though.

EA only got the Star Wars license in May of 2013. So it hasn't even been one year of development if we assume they started the very next day.

As I remember you're a QA dude so I don't need to tell you 1 year is not a long time for a massive ass big budget, AAA Star Wars game.

I'm sure they've been concepting and cranking out 3D assets (buildings, ships, who knows) and - mostly - tuning Frostbite for the game. Like I said if they knew it was going to be a 3rd person shooter they'd have tons to work on with or without a creative director.

Considering the dates I feel it makes a lot of sense they were still early enough for a new Creative Director to come on board. I think of course it will be a little messy - it always is coming into a project that's already begun - but nothing to be concerned about.

The thing about software production, and this goes for any sort of software, not just games is that if you're churning out assets before you have a solid plan in place, you're putting the cart before the horse. If you want to manage a game of the size and scope that I imagine that this Star Wars game is to take, you have to start with a conceptualized idea of what sort of action game you're making and what it's about. You need to understand what sort of assets are required and how they'll be used before you start making them. If you've busied yourself for a year or so just cranking out stormtrooper models and the like before you have someone on board to direct in how they'll be used, you're either going to throw away a lot of unused work or shoehorn the director into using assets you've already generated. Assuming that the game is due for a holiday 2015 release, which would give them realistically less than a year and a half to get the game into an alpha state, if all they've been doing is generating graphic assets and coding the engine for a third-person shooter with no concept of how it's all going to fit together, that means that they would have even less time to design a scenario, build out how the game is going to progress, put the assets they've generated in place and determine if they need more, finalize how the game is actually going to play, get the script, voice acting, and cinematics done, and then put the game through its paces in testing.

That is a lot (and I mean a lot) of shit to get done before the game can ship for a theoretical holiday 2015 release. I would have to imagine that if the game were on track and Visceral weren't just sitting on their hands, they would have a lot more of the blocks in place at this point, and Hennig has fewer ways in which she could guide the design than she would have had if she had stayed at Naughty Dog for Uncharted 4.

Avatar image for landonrobinson
Posted By LandonRobinson

@arrested_developer: Sledgehammer had folks from Visceral, I believe, but Visceral has been around much longer.

Avatar image for arrested_developer
Posted By Arrested_Developer

Is Visceral a break off from Sledgehammer or is Sledgehammer a break off of Visceral? If only there was some kind of game wiki I could check.

Avatar image for me3639
Edited By me3639

Im just glad she is STAYING in the games business. On side note, that to me makes her exit from ND even more interesting.

Avatar image for str33tph4rm
Posted By str33tph4rm

@aaron_g: Yeah man I was really bummed out when they scrapped that.

Avatar image for str33tph4rm
Posted By str33tph4rm

Guys, this is exactly why I switched to Giantbomb from Gamespot.. there was an article about Amy on GS awhile back and 85% of the comments were dogging her out either because she was female or because she had "no talent" which is ridiculous. It's nice to see gamers that appreciate somebody that makes playing our games so much better.

Avatar image for climax
Posted By climax

Welp! This is incredible news! Congrats!!

Avatar image for flameboy84
Posted By flameboy84

I'm more interested in what Amy Hennig does with Star Wars than what JJ Abrams does.

yep exactly what I was going to post...

Avatar image for rekt_hed
Posted By Rekt_Hed

If Visceral games and Amy can find a way to make me care about story in Star Wars again I will be the first in line on the day of release.

Avatar image for smellylettuce
Posted By smellylettuce

This is a great fit, I am excited to see what she does with Star Wars.

Avatar image for korwin
Edited By korwin
Avatar image for somberowl
Posted By SomberOwl

Man in about two years or so the world is going to be so packed with Star Wars. Someone should make a thread of all they upcoming star wars games. Personally I'm really excited for Battlefront 3. Hopefully EA doesn't force it out in time for the movies or something dumb as fuck like that. They can't have another Battlefield 4. But since the first new Star Wars movie comes out in the holiday season of 2015 that seams like something EA would do.

Avatar image for aaron_g
Posted By Aaron_G

I am very excited to hear this. She could bring some Uncharted magic to a Star Wars game. Hmm, anyone remember Star Wars 1313?

Avatar image for nadafinga
Edited By Nadafinga

Even though there wasn't a doubt in my mind that she would land herself a sweet job somewhere, this is nonetheless pretty impressive. Good for her.

Avatar image for sooty
Posted By Sooty

After Dead Space 3 and Uncharted 3 I will wait and see what happens because I didn't think either of those games were very good.

Avatar image for grixxel
Posted By Grixxel

Talk about landing on your feet, good job!

Avatar image for bobstar
Edited By Bobstar

Uncharted in Star-Wars-like scenarios seems super rad, this is great.

Sounds a lot like what Star Wars 1313 was supposed to be.

Avatar image for kanerobot
Edited By KaneRobot

Iron Sheik's Twitter had the most relevant comments:

@the_ironsheik: "The Amy Hennig never be Mr Perfect Curt Hennig I love him and miss him forever"

Avatar image for humanity
Posted By Humanity

@humanity said:

The people that brought us amazing sci-fi aesthetics, gory decapitations and awesome atmosphere team up with someone that thoroughly understands a good story and engaging narrative.. to make a Star Wars game?

This is the best news I've heard in a long while.

I really like the way you put that.. Alright I'm excited.

@monkeyking1969 said:

A star Wars game with someone behind it that can WRITE A STORY? I'm gobsmacked...what a good idea.

Then again.. this is a story based on enormous lore. Do you think she has a good chance of writing a Star Wars story that won't put off the fans?

Those books by Timothy Zahn about Admiral Thrawn (yes I read some Star Wars books!) were actually pretty good for the most part - showing that a decent writer can make something out of that universe I guess.

Avatar image for coldwolven
Posted By Cold_Wolven

Very cool and I'm interested in what her input towards the Star Wars brand will be now that she'll be the creative director for this game.

Avatar image for jay_ray
Posted By jay_ray

EA's first Star Wars game will probably fall in November 2015 given they'll want to use Episode 7 as co-marketing. So if this is that game then there is still a ton of time for Amy Hennig to help creatively on the project.

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