Thursday 19 October 2017

EA shutters Visceral Games and pivots Star Wars title

Following BioWare Montreal's closure in the wake of Mass Effect: Andromeda. EA has shuttered Visceral Games (formerly EA Redwood Shores), perhaps best known for the Dead Space survival horror franchise.

Visceral Games was working on an untitled Star Wars game, with Uncharted's Amy Hennig as project lead, scheduled for release in 2019 to coincide with Star Wars: Episode IX directed by JJ Abrams.

The reason for the shift in the untitled Star Wars project's focus is that EA feels 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."

EA, like several AAA publishers, is seemingly moving towards monetised loot boxes at the expense of single-player storytelling. For example, the upcoming Star Wars Battlefront II forgoes a season pass in favour of paid-for loot, which has left a bitter taste in the video game community weeks from release.

As a Star Wars fan, I was really looking forward to Star Wars Battlefront II this November. However, I've cancelled my pre-order for the Xbox One X enhanced title for now.

Is a fixation on loot to the detriment of storytelling in modern video games? Let me know in the comments below.

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