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#1 Edited by Boniti (131 posts) -

https://kotaku.com/ea-shuts-down-visceral-games-1819623990?utm_campaign=Socialflow_Kotaku_Twitter&utm_source=Kotaku_Twitter&utm_medium=Socialflow

Apparently Visceral is gone. Personally I'm pretty bummed.

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

"tracking fundamental shifts in the marketplace" is maybe the worst reason to give for changing the game's direction. That, especially considering their questionable policy regarding Battlefront 2's progression, sounds like they want to build the game around battle royale or loot boxes or some other big craze going on right now. Sucks.

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#2 Edited by liquiddragon (3290 posts) -

Amy Hennig's game dead?

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#3 Posted by Boniti (131 posts) -

An EA spokesperson said that "we are in discussions with Amy [Hennig] about her next move." Her game is being moved to a different studio, where, "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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#4 Posted by BaconHound (284 posts) -

What a bummer.

As you noted, business/marketing lingo is so awful. I'm glad that, due to "fundamental shifts in my free time," I've "pivoted my hobbies" away from games this year and "shifted my leisure activities to a be a broader experience that allows for more variety." Ew. Now I need to go take a shower or something.

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#5 Posted by jkz (4286 posts) -

"...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..."

What a depressing couple of sentences that perfectly sum up the majority of AAA development. And yeah, sucks to see Visceral go (and obviously hope everyone impacted finds work quickly).

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#6 Posted by Wandrecanada (1010 posts) -
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#7 Edited by pweidman (2845 posts) -

Damn, that's really too bad. I thoroughly enjoyed their Dead Space games. I wonder where this new game went so wrong to cause EA to shut them down. Another example of questionable decision making by this publisher perhaps.

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#8 Posted by Lazyimperial (486 posts) -

Fare thee well, Visceral Studios. Join your brothers and sisters in the EA graveyard. You've got some great company in that corpse pile, and you might have some more soon if Anthem doesn't do well. :*-(

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#9 Posted by Coolarman (1398 posts) -

Its clear that EA just wants a game where they can nickle and dime people with microtransactions rather than delivering just a solid game. I know that games cost a lot to make and we are getting a deal with games being $60 but maybe not make a game that costs $60 million

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#10 Posted by TheHT (15812 posts) -
  • closely tracking fundamental shifts in the marketplace
  • deliver an experience that players will want to come back to and enjoy for a long time to come
  • shifting the game to be a broader experience that allows for more variety and player agency

Oh boy. Those last two would seem positive if this was all in a different context.

Was really looking forward to a story-based, linear adventure game, but they say it almost like it's a bad thing. This all has me now expecting some games-as-a-service loot box premium store flim flam extravaganza that combined with the Star Wars Intellectual Property will monetize the fuck out of the world.

Amy Hennig's game dead?

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 2015. In an e-mail, an EA spokesperson said: “We are in discussions with Amy about her next move.”

Safe to say.

Pour one out for Visceral Games.

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#11 Posted by ArbitraryWater (15681 posts) -

EA doing what EA has always done, I see. The sterile corporate speak makes it way worse.

What a disappointing end to the studio responsible for Dead Space 1 and 2. Sure, it's also the studio responsible for Dante's Inferno and Dead Space 3, but those games smacked of corporate meddling more than a lack of talent. Hope people can find jobs quickly.

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#12 Posted by DrDarkStryfe (2493 posts) -

This is a big, flashing sign to where the industry is heading. Single player, narrative driven games are seen as too much a risk to these huge publishers.

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#13 Posted by Firepaw (3133 posts) -

So this game will be simplified and filled to the brim with microtransactions when it comes out I guess. Oh and bonus points for cramming in multiplayer that no-one will play, in an attempt to keep players coming back (to buy more loot boxes of course)...

Online
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#14 Posted by KingBonesaw (1380 posts) -

Visceral also made the surprisingly good LotR: Return of the King game on PS2 so they weren't tied to just Dead Space when it comes to quality products. I like Star Wars and I like Uncharted so hearing that the game was shaping up to be a single player story driven game sounds pretty good to me, especially in a world where Anthem was just announced and looks like the game that EA wants people to play.

Watch out Respawn, you're next.

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#15 Posted by ATastySlurpee (646 posts) -

Bummer

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#16 Posted by MonkeyKing1969 (7509 posts) -

It sucks that people lost their jobs. It sucks we lose yet another studio, and one of the last in the medium tier.

If we look at the current generation time period 2013 to now, they got some hard punches. Dead Space 3 came out in 2013 and was not well received, from that they made a DLC pack for BF3. Then from that DLC pack to Army of Two The Devils Cartel. Then they rolled from AoT: Devils Cartel into the disaster of Battlefield Hartline. They were given some real setbacks and sadly they last four years have been setback after setback for the studio. Ist easy to see a narrative where they just hit a rough patch that weakened them enough that getting this SW game made was hard. I assume trying to make a new Star Wars game in an era of Disney micromanagement is going to be very, very hard for everyone.

I wish everyone there good luck and hope they all land on their feet. It stinks when another studio succumbs to these market forces.


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#17 Edited by conmulligan (1894 posts) -

Fuckin' EA, man.

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#18 Posted by Sam_lfcfan (300 posts) -

Amy Hennig's take on Star Wars was one of the most exciting ideas in gaming for me. To see that it's probably dead because it wouldn't make room for more loot boxes is fucking depressing. Every game shouldn't try to be Destiny. Big, bad EA strikes again.

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#19 Posted by OurSin_360 (6131 posts) -

Another potentially incredible story focused single player game focused tested into mediocre open world/ multiplayer always online loot crate driven game that nobody cares about. I'd love to see who they use as focused tests groups.

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#20 Posted by chilibean_3 (2369 posts) -

They're going to repackage the assets into something they can pack full of paid loot boxes.

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#21 Posted by ZolRoyce (1589 posts) -

Gotta love corporate speak, just for once it would be wild for a company to be honest. No “fundamental shifts in the marketplace” bullcrap, just straight up say. "We wanted another cash cow, we love money, money money money, we love it so much, we stick it up our butts, money."

We all know why there are doing this. Try being honest assholes instead of just assholes.

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#22 Posted by BradBrains (2258 posts) -

They're going to repackage the assets into something they can pack full of paid loot boxes.

I'm usually the first to rail against this kinda "ciclejerk" like talk regarding lootboxes but thats sure as hell what that statement sounded like.

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#23 Posted by mellotronrules (2567 posts) -

@drdarkstryfe said:

This is a big, flashing sign to where the industry is heading. Single player, narrative driven games are seen as too much a risk to these huge publishers.

yeah, it's a bummer. hopefully the gap between AAA and indie team production-values closes sooner than later. who knows- maybe this will drive legitimate innovation amongst smaller teams willing to take risks that larger teams can't/won't.

still a tremendous bummer though.

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#24 Posted by Boniti (131 posts) -

@bradbrains Yeah I'm with you, speculation isn't good and it's easy for a discussion like this to quickly become hyperbolic, but it's almost like they're straight up telling us this... 'shifts in the marketplace'? In recent weeks there has been a TON of talk about very specific 'shifts', and none of them are particularly good. And one of them is focused on EA already

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#25 Posted by Fezrock (720 posts) -

Gross.

Single-player, linear, story-driven AAA games are exactly what I want.

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#26 Edited by mortonan (60 posts) -

Sigh. I think I still held out some hope that after their Star Wars game they'd eventually come back with a worthy successor to Dead Space 2, one of my favorite games of last gen. I'm sure they've had tons of talent turnover since then, but it's still a shame to see the studio go out like this.

And yeah, it seemed like they were working on a linear action game, and somebody decided they could make more money with something grindy-er. As someone who prefers meticulously crafted single player games it sucks to see things shifting this way.

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#27 Posted by AlvaroFAraujo (364 posts) -

Man seeing that Quote on the Kotaku made me wonder about EA franchises for this year, since they haven't been cancelled that might mean those games are up to the EA "demonetization" plan. So it should be fair to say the new Need For Speed that actually looked "Burnouty" enough to peak my interest might just have the same BS loot cars that Forza has.

I can't take it, Good Single player games keep being replayed and bought after years. I started replaying MGS5 last month just after going through another run of Witcher 3. And after curiously browsing the mod scene for skyrim, yesterday, I'm wanting to install it once again.

I feel like EA spent the last 2 years trying to show it was a new EA and not the old shit who kept closing dev companies, but i guess Its back to its traditions

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#28 Posted by Boniti (131 posts) -

Thanks somebody for filing this under the Visceral topic, forgot!

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#29 Posted by Relkin (1142 posts) -

This is a bummer. Just got around to playing Dead Space 3 earlier this year, and was really looking forward to their next thing.

Do they really want a second Destiny-esque game? Anthem is on its way, and honestly, it's anyone's bet whether this type of game is still in vogue or not by next year. You know what would've probably been an incredibly safe bet? A big-budget Star Wars adventure released around the time of one of the movies.

That jpeg of all the great dev's they've shut down over the years is getting pretty cramped at this point.

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#30 Posted by whitegreyblack (1950 posts) -

I was finally hopeful for a single-player focused Star Wars game after the huge disappointment of the cancellation of Star Wars 1313, which was looking so promising.

What I was hoping would be a tight, focused single player game will now be an always online "game as service", possibly be sold as "seasons", likely have a bland and empty open world, and be filled with microtransactions, loot boxes, and season pass DLC. Damn it.

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#31 Edited by Marokai (3711 posts) -

The increasing domination of Games As A Service is breaking my heart.

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#32 Posted by pjburrage (19 posts) -
@relkin said:

This is a bummer. Just got around to playing Dead Space 3 earlier this year, and was really looking forward to their next thing.

Do they really want a second Destiny-esque game? Anthem is on its way, and honestly, it's anyone's bet whether this type of game is still in vogue or not by next year. You know what would've probably been an incredibly safe bet? A big-budget Star Wars adventure released around the time of one of the movies.

That jpeg of all the great dev's they've shut down over the years is getting pretty cramped at this point.

Exactly. The one thing I took from the Battlefront II beta was that I want a Star Wars game that's not a shooter. There is so much scope for a single player Star Wars based game, with or without a tie-in to the current movies.

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#33 Posted by BradBrains (2258 posts) -

Will people react better if they increase game prices rather than lootboxes? or will just less people in general buy?

I think there is a balance between cosmetic purcahses and making the game feel slow without giving them extra.

It was a longtime coming. Games are more expensive and there is a group of people who think ANY dlc is bad and just go back to the witcher 3 or whatever. So they had to have a way to almost "trick" people into not thinking of it as DLC. I dont want to blame that group but I really think that was the start of it.

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#34 Posted by Jarno (96 posts) -

It sounds like EA is committed to equating a studio with a single franchise. If a game is cancelled, the studio is cancelled. It must get a bit depressing for the developers to realize their studio will only ever do one game.

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#35 Posted by hmoney001 (1249 posts) -

Amy should GTFO and start her own little studio.

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#36 Edited by hassun (9915 posts) -

Story-driven single player games?

EA:

No Caption Provided

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#37 Posted by Goboard (290 posts) -

I'm getting vibes from when tons of studios were trying to chase after the MMO money before that well ran dry. If they really are going all in on loot boxes and games as a service then they're already well behind that curve just like they were with MMO's. With so many studios and publishers going this route there will eventually come a point where there won't be enough people to play and sustain all the service based games. I'm pretty sure the last EA game I bought was DA: Inquisition so it seems like that won't be changing anytime soon. On the up-side that means my current trend of buying more indie games will continue.

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#38 Posted by Shindig (4878 posts) -

Makes you wonder if AAA will have any tangible identity in a handful of years.

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#39 Posted by Capum15 (6006 posts) -

Fare thee well, Visceral Studios. Join your brothers and sisters in the EA graveyard. You've got some great company in that corpse pile, and you might have some more soon if Anthem doesn't do well. :*-(

Reminds me of that drawing of EA walking Bioware to a grave of other developers. Another one for the pile.

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#40 Posted by MachoFantastico (6678 posts) -

EA is an absolute joke, deserve all the crap that they get. I don't think they know what the feck they are doing, especially the robotic twat you see at E3 press conferences. Hopefully the talent at the studio find their feet, especially the likes of Amy.

EA represents everything wrong with the games industry.

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#41 Posted by MachoFantastico (6678 posts) -

Looking at the great developers EA as destroyed over the years is downright depressing, Visceral, Bioware, Criterion Games and Maxis to name just a few.

Seeing the Criterion Games logo on Battlefield 2 beta just bummed me out, they're so much better than that.

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#42 Posted by NTM (11642 posts) -

The thing that comes to my mind is, that sucks for Dead Space. And yeah, that doesn't sound good for the new Star Wars game.

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#43 Edited by soulcake (2706 posts) -
No Caption Provided

Destroyer of Worlds, EA Next stop Criterion

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#44 Posted by Liam_Flannery (11 posts) -
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#45 Posted by mrcraggle (3075 posts) -

EA represents everything wrong with the games industry.

This right here. I know it was stupid that for several years they kept being voted the worst company in the world but you would've thought that would've been their wake up call but instead they double-down on being shitty. They shit all over Mass Effect, they basically own the market when it comes to sports titles so they can do as little as they please, they refuse to give customers what they want (Skate 4) and they take some of their best and most beloved developers and shut them down.

I feel absolutely gutted for Amy Hennig and the rest of Visceral. You're now apart of an exclusive club along with Maxis, Bullfrog, Mythic, Origin, Blackbox, Pandemic, Westworld and a few others. In the past 5 years, EA have shut down 7 studios (now including Visceral). So basically, if you're a game studio, don't even think about letting EA buy you as it's only a matter of time before they shut you down. You might get lucky and last 18 years like Maxis or you might be like Pandemic and get shut down within a year.

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#46 Edited by GERALTITUDE (5989 posts) -

Oh wow, didn't really see that coming..

@boniti said:

An EA spokesperson said that "we are in discussions with Amy [Hennig] about her next move." Her game is being moved to a different studio, where, "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."

errrrr

That definitely sounds like... A) multiplayer B) microtransactions C) both

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#47 Edited by KingBonesaw (1380 posts) -

@liam_flannery:

EA is publishing a Respawn developed Star Wars game that has been described as a third person action adventure game.

EA just cancelled a Visceral developed Star Wars game that had been described as a third person action adventure game.

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#48 Posted by Tom_omb (1073 posts) -

I'm buying Battlefront 2 because it's the first damn single player AAA Star Wars game we've had in years. We would have played 1313 by now if it wasn't for corporate interests getting in the way of game development.

I don't know what this project is going to be now, but I'm not thrilled with modern online multiplayer games and I'm still pretty burnt out on open world games. A focused, well made single player Star Wars game that I can put down when it's done sounded like a breath of fresh air.

All I know now is we'll all be waiting longer for whatever this is.

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#49 Posted by deactivated-5a00c029ab7c1 (1777 posts) -

Looking at the great developers EA as destroyed over the years is downright depressing, Visceral, Bioware, Criterion Games and Maxis to name just a few.

Seeing the Criterion Games logo on Battlefield 2 beta just bummed me out, they're so much better than that.

You mean Battlefront 2 right? Man I love Battlefield 2 the good ol' day's before lootboxes, microstractions, day 1 DLC ect..

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#50 Edited by Solh0und (2170 posts) -

*Pours out a 40 in honor of Visceral Games*