Back in October, EA officially closed down Visceral Games and announced that it would be ‘pivoting’ and handing over the studio’s Star Wars game to a new team in order to ‘broaden’ it. Since then, EA’s CFO has shed some additional light on why this happened, claiming that the game was too linear for modern tastes.
Speaking at the Credit Suisse Technology, Media and Telecom conference (via gamesindustry.biz), EA CFO, Blake Jorgensen claimed that the publisher wanted to push gameplay “to the next level”, adding that Visceral’s game felt dated due to its linearity.
“Visceral was down to about 80 people, which is sub-scale in our business. And the game they were making was actually being supported by a team in Vancouver and a team in Montreal because of that sub-scale nature. We were trying to build a game that really pushed gameplay to the next level, and as we kept reviewing the game, it continued to look like a style of gaming, a much more linear game, that people don’t like as much today as they did five years ago or 10 years ago.”
It seems that EA didn’t want to create a linear game that players may only go through once and then move on. With that in mind, it seems odd that EA made a big deal about bringing Amy Hennig on board several years ago. Hennig is famous for directing the original Uncharted trilogy, which are some of the most loved linear adventure games of recent years. Beyond that, Visceral Studios made a big name for itself with Dead Space, which was also a somewhat linear experience that told an excellent story.
Jorgensen ended his comments on Visceral by saying: “I’m a believer in sunk costs. You’ve got to cut the bridge when you realize you can’t really make a lot of money on something, so that’s the decision we made.”
KitGuru Says: As we’ve heard, there were plenty of other issues going on behind the scenes at Visceral, so the studio’s focus on linear game design wasn’t the only reason for its closure. However, it is sad to hear that EA just doesn’t see linear story-focused games as being a worthy investment these days.