1 week ago, EA shut down one of my favorite studios–Visceral Games. The studio behind many quality titles–Dead Space series, Battlefield Hardline, Army of Two, Dante’s Inferno.
I really really have been always expecting a Dead Space 4. And to my research, that is going to happen, just not in a schedule. Until I heard from this bad news.
The shutdown of Visceral meaning DS is unlikely to ever get a sequel anymore. Although IP still belongs to EA, but we are very dubious on the matter. EA recent years trend is producing many massive multiplayer 3A titles, with micro-transactions ingrained.
Since DS has always been linear, it’s really hard to see it’s becoming an open world or even a multiplayer game.
Even in the closest horror hit Alien Isolation, the plot is linear, although the open world element would be you can freely walk around the Sevastopol station, under the constant threat of the Xenomorph.
I was so pissed when I heard the news. The staff of Visceral Games now are either sent to other studios or lost their jobs.
In the past 2 years, they have been working on a 3A title, and if it had been developed, it would be a huge hit. The project ragtag. A Star Wars single player game. And the lead executives of this project are renowned in the industry. Assassin’s Creed trilogy producer, Jade Raymond. Former Uncharted creative director Amy Hennig. Assistance from Portal creator Kim Swift.
Visceral Games is just good at making linear game, they are just good at making them. The plot and lore from Dead Space series are solid, attracting millions of fans keeping up with the franchise. Including me, urgently expecting the next DS game.
And that my friend, is sealed.
Fuck you EA. No, seriously, fuck you EA.
There are two things you shouldn’t touch, EA and EA.
EA has been doing this practice for a decade now. The strategy never really changed. The killed list is so long, that you can hear the cry from the graveyard of these studios.
Maxis Emeryville, the studio made SimCity. Bullfrog, Dungeon Keeper. Pandemic, Star Wars Battlefront, Lord of Rings. Black Box Studio, Need for Speed. Westwood, Command & Conquer. And the most recent one in August Bioware Montreal for Mass Effect: Andromeda.
Now Visceral Games is added to the list.
Shouldn’t be any surprise by now. EA’s been doing this since 21st century.
And most of reasons behind shutting down these studios are either studio had hit a fall, the product didn’t sell good, or simply EA management wants to make some changes.
This is the typical office politics, and it’s exhausting, for developers crammed in a building and rarely get out. Whoever on top’s orders once listed, you have to obey. These orders from top make drastic impacts on studios, unless they are EA favored. Like DICE.
The reason behind EA shutting down Visceral, is because after the market investigation, and “the feedback from playtest and community”. They decided, it’s not a good idea, to keep making a linear story driven game, BECAUSE, that ain’t gonna make them as much money as open world Destiny like grinding games. Those games fuck. Why? Because they keep players playing and playing and playing, stimulate them to buy more loot boxes, more in-game currency and the cycle begins.
These grindy games, I have played them, and I have deep experience with them. Most grind games are set open world, because it’s the only way, to keep you from bored. Warframe, Destiny are good examples of grindy games. After the launch of Warframe in 2013, it has been 5 years now, and the game still stays very popular. Destiny is the same case.
The either F2P mode or microtransaction mode is very very money-milking method for publishers. They are some consistent business models that can provide constant income.
Recent successful examples are GTA Online, Destiny, Minecraft, Fortnite, Overwatch, League of Legends, Rainbow Six Siege, The Division and of course Warframe. These are the top notch money making machines. They just keep players on and on and on, so the longer a player stays on a game, the more efforts he would invest, and of course the more money he would spend.
So, the original linear story driven Star Wars idea isn’t what EA looking for. And that, they decided to pivot. Yes, pivot = destroy Visceral Games and be done with it.
Right now the project basically needs to overhaul everything to suit the idea EA wants–the online sandbox grindy game. Redo everything, exaggeratedly.
Project ragtag has been transferred to EA Vancouver, well, who? And yeah, the 2-year run of this project is cancelled completely. What a sad, sad news.
As you may notice from the look of the studio picture, not many of the staff are female.
But that’s a persistent problem inside video game industry for a decade. I’ve delved into the female ratio of industries problem before. And, it doesn’t seem like it has changed ever since.
RIP Visceral, you will always have a position in my heart.