EA Executive Vice President Patrick Söderlund announced the closure of Visceral Games today. Visceral, formerly known as EA Redwood Shores, is best known for the Dead Space series and Battlefield: Hardline. The studio had been working on an, as yet, unnamed action title set in the Star Wars universe.
Söderlund has advised that development of the Star Wars title will be moved to various EA studios worldwide. Visceral “will be ramping down and closing.” In an email obtained by Kotaku, Söderlund has given more details about the fate of the Star Wars title, codenamed Ragtag,
A development team from across Worldwide Studios will take over development of Ragtag, led by the EA Vancouver team that has already been working on the project. Steve Anthony will lead this team, and we will use much of the work that has been done to date by Visceral – the assets of Ragtag that have already been built will be the foundation of this new game.
What happens to Star Wars?
Söderlund’s statement is somewhat vague when it comes to just what lead to the closure of the studio and the change in developers. He states, “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.”
Reading between the lines, it seems as though there were differences in opinion between the developer and publisher. EA has long maintained the ethos that games should be a service. That means online, long-term engagement with players, i.e microtransactions, loot-boxes, DLC and multiplayer.