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EA Shuts Down Visceral Games, Shifting Development On Its Star Wars Game ( 75

Visceral Games, the studio behind games like Battlefield Hardline and Dead Space, is being shut down by EA. The Star Wars game in development at Visceral will be revamped and moved to a different studio. Kotaku reports: "Our Visceral studio has been developing an action-adventure title set in the Star Wars universe," EA's Patrick Soderlund said in a blog post. "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." Soderlund added that Visceral will be "ramping down and closing" and that "we're in the midst of shifting as many of the team as possible to other projects and teams at EA." "Lastly," he said, "while we had originally expected this game to launch late in our fiscal year 2019, we're now looking at a new timeframe that we will announce in the future."
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EA Shuts Down Visceral Games, Shifting Development On Its Star Wars Game

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  • by cfalcon ( 779563 ) on Tuesday October 17, 2017 @08:52PM (#55387051)

    This kind of thing makes me think that their next step might be to push it to some other studio, give them money, and shut down Star Wars: The Old Republic if it looks like whatever their new vision is might conflict with an existing MMO (not that the new game needs to be an MMO to meet this criteria: anything vaguely close enough would probably count).

    • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Tuesday October 17, 2017 @09:04PM (#55387091) Journal

      Better not!

      I still play it. Have you tried it again recently. You can buy your own bachelor pad for your inn/cantina for XP and there have been many many extra chapters and updates. You can start at level 60 too with the Eternal Empire and choose to side with the republic or empire afterwards.

      • It is still the MMO treadmill BS that most of us are escaping - but combined with the micro transaction most of us abhor - even if you are subbed (I was) it was in your face.
        • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2017 @05:46AM (#55388565)

          Unless they changed something since I quit, as a sub the only thing you "had to" buy for real money were cosmetic shit, nothing that influenced gameplay in any way.

          If you really need that scooter in purple that you got in white from some quest, well, that's your problem...

          • It wasn't just that....Bioware Austin had and still has an issue with locking certain saber crystal colors, etc behind a paywall. Also, it isn't just cosmetics, in particular with vehicles, as some are actually faster than what you can earn in game as well as having unique skins.

            • IIRC they changed it about 1.5 or 2 years ago so all vehicles had the same speed, based on your character level rather than the vehicle.

              And yes, I consider saber crystals and vehicle skin cosmetic. Pay for your black-tinged-swirly-purple-and-green laser sword if the red one isn't fancy enough for you.

      • by Kokuyo ( 549451 )

        What are the options for grey Jedi/Sith nowadays?

        I remember having to get a gifted Jedi für my Sith master, the old dear, to abuse. I went there and was all reasonable and nice, not at all confrontational and her Jedi master was like "Oh, wow, you're surprisingly nice and reasonable! I didn't expect that in a Sith. But alas, we must fight, 'tis our destiny!!!"

        So what the fuck? I go through all the trouble of not being a dick and they make me kill the dude because they couldn't be arsed to see the

        • The same they always were: none.

          You have no options. You have the illusion of having options. In fact, you have to do what your sidekick wants you to do. Why? Because you need their "loyalty". Because they fight better if they're loyal. And they are only loyal if they like the answers you give. So you better tell them what they want to hear, or be prepared to cough up a metric fuckton of credits for gifts.

          • I have never cared what my sidekick thinks. I am the great power in this universe!

            Their job is to shoot me with green stuff during fights.

            • Problem is that even that works better if they "like" you more. With some of the not-mandatory-but-effectively-mandatory story arcs and daily (or whatever frequency) quests, you simply could run them faster with pets that like you.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by lgw ( 121541 )

      A story-based single-player RPG would be hard to shove a cash shop with loot crates into, and that all EA or Ubisoft wants these days. An MMO, though, easy for a cash shop (SWTOR already has one of course).

    • More like they were working on a single player game that didn't have a lot of DLC potential. Let's shut that down, build a multi player game and chock it full of must buy DLC!

    • Oh, I wouldn't worry too much. MMO games aren't really competing with Pachinko machines.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        That's true. Pachinko machines have better gameplay

  • it's EA (Score:5, Funny)

    by Z80a ( 971949 ) on Tuesday October 17, 2017 @08:53PM (#55387055)

    A sacrifice of a studio or two is always required to appease the gods.

  • Their little waffle about game design sounded absolutely horrible. If you do not make games you want to play, don't expect to make games other people want to play. All you end up doing with formulaic game design is play catch up badly. Computer game production is becoming far more competitive and if you do not get gamers to design your games, you will lose.

  • Please oh please as the last of 8 people who play it still sigh.

    I am still geek enough to hope Disney will launch a new Star Wars series based on the old republic era after the next wave of garbage finishes

  • I read this as EA saying something like:
    "Our head decision maker likes playing first person shooters and doesn't give a toss about games with well thought out storys. This game is being pivoted from the single player story line based game play to online first person shooter team combat"

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Odd, I read it as:

      "Our CEO has recently learned that today's kids are extremely dissatisfied with pre-orders, quick time events, and loot boxes micro-transactions, and they relentlessly make fun of our brand for using those universally-hated tactics, but they still buy our products every time. In response, he decided to double-down on all three, and added 'I am altering the deal, pray I don't alter it any further.''"

    • Sorry, to me it sounds more like

      "We noticed with Mass Effect that people get too pissed when we charge 60 for a game and another 60 so they can actually finish it, well, ok, we don't give a fuck whether they're pissed, but they went and didn't even pay those other 60, and we do care about that! They might have paid if the story was better, but for that, we'd actually have to hire good story writers.

      So we looked and noticed that people are dumb enough to keep buying new weapons for the FPS titles we sell, at

  • Good call, EA. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Leuf ( 918654 ) on Tuesday October 17, 2017 @09:59PM (#55387331)
    No Star Wars fan would want to come back to and enjoy a story-based linear adventure for a long time to come.
  • EA is a great place to work, if you're into the bondage, submission and masochism side of BSDM.

  • It will be just another First Person Shooter.

    Story need not apply for a job here.

    • Content need not apply. What we'll get is the same formula as usual.

      A bunch of maps so formulaic that they could be computer generated, and probably are.
      A handful of weapons, one sucking worse than the next.

      At release, the first weapon DLC for only another 20ish bucks with the actual guns that are pretty much a requirement if you don't just want to be a target drone with a slightly improved AI.

      And in bimonthly cycle more 20ish bucks DLCs that make anything that came before fully redundant and obsolete, forc

  • Don't ever make anything like those games again. I played them for years after I bought each one, so you should probably make more Star Wars based racing games.

    Also, don't make any more games in the KOTOR continuity, cuz, you know, everyone liked those a lot too.

  • EA is being EA and snubbing a studio for not doing well at making games outside its expertise, after being bled dry. (Again) Also now the promising new starwars game that has been in development is now 'Call of Duty Starwars Edition'. Seems par for course for EA.
  • by MrKaos ( 858439 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2017 @01:15AM (#55387961) Journal

    You completely destroyed the gameplay of Battlefront that made it compelling.

    You limited the maps so it was pay pay pay instead of action action action.

    Keep the new graphic engine however go back to the fast moving strategy game that made BF1 and BF2 great in their own right, both still highly playable (if I didn't enjoy EAW so much).

    • Sad.

      I tried out the beta of Battlefront 2 and while I was hopeful and excited, and it was fun for a bit, I soured on it pretty quickly.

      As you mentioned, the trend to micopay the crap out of every new game and suck every dime of profit they can siphon from a release is brutal. I refuse to keep paying to play a game I've already bought.

      Luigi: "Hey, it'd be a real shame if something were to happen to your game there. Might be some of your opponents will all get perks that will make them destroy you every game.

  • by The Cynical Critic ( 1294574 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2017 @03:57AM (#55388349)
    Now is it just me, or does the talk about focus group testing sound an awful lot like the publisher decided to convert the game from something designed by professionals to something designed by committee?

    I mean the game was being directed by Amy Henning of Uncharted fame and seemed to be much in the same vein as the games she'd worked on before being ousted from Naughty Dog so it's pretty clear that EA's management was originally looking to make a Star Wars themed Uncharted game, but it seems like they decided to go with what the committee said instead.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Engineers/developers want to make the best product they can.
      Marketing/sales want to make the product everyone will buy.

      I've seen it in all the design meetings and product plans I've participated in. There's never really a balance, it's the side that controls the money that wins. EA is a marketing and distribution company; a game 2 million people will buy that builds a franchise is a better game than one only a few thousand will enjoy in their eyes. Look at the progression of the Dead Space games for an idea

  • by sad_ ( 7868 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2017 @06:31AM (#55388641) Homepage

    ... are dead in the eyes of EA.
    That is what i make out of this.

    • by chrish ( 4714 )

      That really doesn't bode well for BioWare ever getting to produce a new RPG. I was really hoping for a new Dragon Age title after Dragon Age: Inquisition didn't suck.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Bioware jumped the shark long ago. For good RPGs look to Obsidian, InXile, Larian...

  • Linear games don't offer the kind of customer retention that multiplayer online games do. If you can't make your customer base pay for win, over and over and over again, a game is not considered worth developing any more. Today's publishers don't want good games. They want the equivalent of a Las Vegas casino.

If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments. -- Earl Wilson