Electronic Arts is shutting down Visceral Games. The news was first reported today by Kotaku, and later confirmed by the publisher.
Visceral had been working on a Star Wars project that was announced more than four years ago when EA signed a multi-year deal to make Star Wars games. In a statement announcing the closure, EA Worldwide Studios executive vice president Patrick Söderlund first addressed the game's development.
"In its current form, it was shaping up to be a story-based, linear adventure game," Söderlund said. "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."
As a result, Söderlund said the project has been moved to EA Vancouver while the Visceral studio "will be ramping down and closing." He added that the publisher will move "as many of the team as possible" to other positions within the company. The Star Wars project, which had been previously slated for the publisher's fiscal 2019, has been indefinitely delayed, with a new release timeframe to be announced. Söderlund did not address whether high-profile developers like Visceral creative director Amy Hennig or writer Todd Stashwick would continue to work on the project.
Visceral Games was previously known as EA Redwood Shores Studio, but the publisher rebranded it in 2009 after the success of its original IP Dead Space "to better reflect the studio's culture, identity and focus on creating intense action-oriented intellectual properties." Since the re-branding, its highest profile work has included three more Dead Space games (including a Wii spin-off), Dante's Inferno, and its final released game, 2015's Battlefield Hardline.