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Cancelled Star Wars Game: What Happened, Our Take & Former Developer Reactions

On October 18, EA closed down developer Visceral Games. The studio had been working on an upcoming Star Wars game that was to be heavily story-driven and offer a linear, single-player experience. This vision, steered by former Uncharted writer Amy Hennig, and backed up by various talents from Guerrilla Games and the new EA Motive Studios, has now been crushed.

Visceral Games’ closure and the shift in direction for the upcoming Star Wars game were detailed by EA executive vice president Patrick Söderlund in an EA 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. 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.

To me, it sounds like EA has lost faith in the single-player experience, and wants to instead compete with the likes of Destiny and other shared-world, open experiences. What’s more, EA’s desire to create a game that players will want to “enjoy for a long time to come,” screams the increasingly popular “games as a service” model. With that said, changes in targets and goals don’t usually mean the total closure of a studio, and I’ve got to wonder what else could have been happening behind the scenes.

Conspiracy theories aside, it’s incredibly disappointing to hear about the closure of a studio, and the loss of many jobs. While we don’t yet know what will happen to this Star Wars project, we can at least look at how the former developers have responded to the cut.

pic.twitter.com/gQ8ImScBof

— Visceral Games (@VisceralGames) October 17, 2017

For the record, it was beautiful, amazing, fun and funny. The ride for me was singular. Talented, passionate, folks, making something great.

— Toad Slash-witch (@ToddStashwick) October 19, 2017

Thank you fans, thank you coworkers and goodbye @VisceralGames pic.twitter.com/SkY6r4vKsp

— Zach Mumbach (@zachulon) October 20, 2017

It’s particularly sad that we’ll never get to show off the art created for the Visceral Star Wars project, we were pushing the bar.

— Sean VanGorder (@seanvangorder) October 19, 2017

The concepts, characters, creatures, droids, ships, environments, animations and tech were really next level.

— Sean VanGorder (@seanvangorder) October 19, 2017

And I really can’t stress enough just how badass our concept team is. The amount of quality content was amazing, I wanted that art book.

— Sean VanGorder (@seanvangorder) October 19, 2017

This is actually one of the first things we did, before we even had the art side of things “figured out” pic.twitter.com/Ay6jxzR1Ek

— Sean VanGorder (@seanvangorder) October 19, 2017