Maxis, Mythic, Bullfrog, Origin, Westwood, DreamWorks Interactive/Danger Close, Phenomic, Black Box Games, Pandemic, PlayFish, NuFX. There is one thing that these names all have in common and that is the acquisition and subsequent shutting down by Electronic Arts (EA). As it was announced 10/17/2017 a new name has joined this list and that would be Visceral Games, the studio behind the Dead Space series, Battlefield Hardline and Dante’s Inferno. So why is EA shutting down Visceral Studios?
As it has been known for some time now, Visceral had been working on an upcoming Star Wars game that really seemed to have a lot of speculation behind it. Little was known about what this new Star Wars game was going to be and with a blog post by EA’s Patrick Soderlund, we finally get a look at what was in the making. “It was shaping up to be a storybased, linear adventure game”, I read this and thought okay sounds like a fun experience to me, “We have been testing the game concept with players, listening to feedback about what and how they want to play, and closely tracking the 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.”
Most of the blog post is rather optimistic but as you reach the end your optimism changes to irritation and then pure aggravation. With the recent influx of in game purchases and loot boxes in damn near every game that is released now: Overwatch, Shadow of Mordor, Destiny 2, Battlefront 2 (the GWS Podcast Loot Boxes and Gambling discuss this even more). It’s really hard for me to believe “to deliver an experience that players will want to come back to and enjoy for a long time to come” means anything other than putting content into loot boxes, in-game purchases and DLC.
I really want to be optimistic about the future of this game but as far as I am concerned with EA’s track record and the way the market has been shifting in the gaming world I would not be surprised in the slightest if we see 6 different versions of this game with varying pre-order content, included in game purchases, loot boxes and a season pass. Until proven otherwise the only thing I can say is EA is shutting down Visceral Studios and ruining Star Wars.