A report filed by Kotaku reveals that Electronic Arts has closed Visceral Games, the publisher's studio located in Redwood Shores, California. Formerly known as EA Redwood Shores (EARS), Visceral was behind the making of games such as Dead Space and Battlefield Hardline.
Visceral's current project was a Star Wars game directed by Uncharted scribe Amy Hennig. In a blog post, EA executive vice president Patrick Söderlund admitted that the title's design direction wasn't working and will be refocused. "In its current form, it was shaping up to be a story-based, linear adventure game," explained Söderlund. "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."
Söderlund went on to say that while Star Wars project will continue to aspire to "stunning visuals" and a high level of authenticity within Star Wars canon, the game will be shifted "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."
Visceral's Star Wars title was expected to launch during the company's 2019 fiscal year. The studio's closure has scattered those plans; EA will reveal a new release timetable at an undisclosed date in the future.
A development team from EA's worldwide network of developers will take the reins on the project. Söderlund's blog made no mention of Hennig's status with the company. Kotaku reached out to EA for comment and received an email reply stating that "We are in discussions with Amy about her next move."