This time, the victim in question is Visceral, the studio behind Dead Space and Battlefield hardline, who was also hard at work on a single-player Star Wars action-adventure title. EAs Patrick Söderlund writes:
Our Visceral studio has been developing an action-adventure title set in the Star Wars universe. 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.
In light of their changing priorities, he announced that development of the game would switch to EA Worldwide Studios, who would pick up what was left of the project but turn it into something far more dramatic. Visceral themselves, meanwhile will be ramping down and closing, but the blog post made it clear they would move as many of the team as possible onto other projects and teams in EA.
Its pretty clear what it is theyre doing here: theyre doubling down on their effort to turn EA games into a service provider, rather than a mere product, which has been a design philosophy that has shaped many recent decisions regarding the design of recent games and their EA Origin service. A single-player game, like the one proposed by Visceral, doesnt fit that model very well.
So yeah. Its bad. And pretty messed up. Its not unusual for studios to be shut down like this, but this shows an increasing boldness on EAs end which, to be blunt, bodes poorly for future projects headed by them.
Revolutionary times ahead of us, I feel. For better or worse.