Electronic Arts will “ramp down and close” its Visceral Games studio, EA Worldwide Studios vice president Patrick Soderlund announced, and is currently in the processing of shifting “as many of the team as possible” to other projects and teams within the company.
The Star Wars action adventure title that was in development at Visceral Games, code-named Ragtag, will be taken over by EA Vancouver, and led by a team within EA Vancouver that has already been working on the project. Electronic Arts will also shift from its current “story-based, linear adventure” form to “a broader experience.” Here is the full statement from Soderlund:
In its current form, [the Star Wars title] 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.
While the game was originally expected to launch in fiscal year 2019, Electronic Arts is now expecting a new time frame that it will announce at a later date.
In an e-mail to employees obtained by Kotaku, Soderlund said:
A development team from across Worldwide Studios will take over development of Ragtag, led by the EA Vancouver team that has already been working on the project. Steve Anthony will lead this team, and we will use much of the work that has been done to date by Visceral – the assets of Ragtag that have already been built will be the foundation of this new game.
Kotaku got in touch with Electronic Arts regarding the status of Uncharted director Amy Hennig, who joined Visceral Games in 2014 as creative director of the Star Wars project. In an e-mail, an Electronic Arts spokesperson said, “We are in discussions with Amy about her next move.”