EA has announced that the Amy Hennig and Visceral Games’ Star Wars title will be “refocused” and developed by other EA studios while Visceral Games closes down. Making this something of a double header as far as bad news goes.
Executive Vice President Patrick Soderlund made the announcement in an EA blog post that Visceral’s linear, story-based action-adventure game will now be developed across EA’s Worldwide Studios with EA Vancouver on lead. And rather than make that linear, story-based game, the title will be reshaped “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.”
“The games we want to play and spend time with, the experiences we want to have in those games, and the way we play…all those things are continually changing,” Soderlund claimed. As if no one wants to play a linear action game any more, despite the continued success of linear action titles. Soderlund mostly insists that the reason for the change comes down to the shifting market of the video games industry, but I’m not convinced.
And because they’re completely obliterating Visceral’s game, thr origin fiscal year 2019 release date is no longer a factor. EA will announce a new timeframe of release in the future.
With Visceral shutting down, EA is reportedly “in the midst of shifting as many of the team as possible to other projects and teams at EA.”
No other details about the project, in its previously announced incarnation or this new, broader form, were offered in Soderlund’s post.
Hennig joined Visceral Games’ Star Wars project in 2014, following her departure from Naughty Dog. Later reports regarding the project suggested it would be a story-focused game in the style of Uncharted. Jade Raymond‘s Motive Studio originally opened to collaborate with Visceral on Hennig’s Star Wars game.
So when you look at all the minute details of the game, and this announcement running right on the heels of Battlefield II‘s beta, you start to think, are we back to believing that women don’t -and shouldn’t- exist in Star Wars? Just back in May, we got a whole lot of “why is Star Wars about Women now?” after all. Refocusing the game would be one thing, but the project being pulled from Visceral has shut down the studio and it appears like the new game won’t be following any of what Hennig’s team worked on. And it isn’t like Uncharted 4 didn’t do incredibly well as a linear action title. So the whole announcement seems less like the usual corporate love of profit and more of an attempt to keep Star Wars a good old boys club.
But maybe I’m just reading too much into this because I was incredibly excited about a linear Star Wars game directed by Hennig. Because that project sounded incredible.
And, as much as I’ve been enjoying running around, helping out my baby Gondor boys in Shadow of War, I don’t think an open-world adventure game is what Star Wars needs. So this whole announcement is just a series of disappointment after disappointment.