October 18, 2017 // 10 a.m.
Game publishing giant Electronic Arts has shuttered Visceral Games, formerly known as EA Redwood Shores, best known for its Dead Space franchise and an upcoming Star Wars title.
Founded in 1998 as EA Redwood Shores, so named for its location in California's Redwood Shores near EA's headquarters, Visceral Games has been responsible for some of the company's biggest hits. Since its founding in 1998, Visceral's output ranged from sporting titles like Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2000 to action fantasy games including The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and its sequel The Third Age. It was the Dead Space third-person sci-fi horror franchise that will be best remembered, though, along with the 2015 multiplayer tactical shooter Battlefield Hardline.
Sadly for fans of Visceral's often visceral output, the company is no more. 'Our Visceral studio will be ramping down and closing,' explains EA's Patrick Söderlund in a blog post announcing the closure, 'and we’re in the midst of shifting as many of the team as possible to other projects and teams at EA.'
The biggest of these projects is an unnamed Star Wars action-adventure title, which was originally scheduled to launch in EA's 2019 financial year - a schedule which, the company admits, will now not be hit while the game itself is to be dramatically altered from the original vision. '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,' claims Söderlund. '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.
'While we had originally expected this game to launch late in our fiscal year 2019, we’re now looking at a new timeframe that we will announce in the future. Bringing new Star Wars games to life for every passionate fan out there is what drives us as creators. It’s what has inspired us to deliver the massive new Star Wars Battlefront II experience launching in just a few weeks. It fuels our live service in Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes. Making games in the extraordinary Star Wars universe is truly a dream for so many of us at EA, and we have so many more experiences to come for players on every platform. We want to take the time to get each game right, to make it unique, to make it amazing.'
EA has not shared the number of job losses expected to result from the closure of Visceral Games.