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EA is shutting down Visceral Games, the developers behind Dead Space

The news arrived via EA Executive Vice President Patrick Söderlund on the status of Visceral's upcoming Star Wars game, which has now been shifted to a new EA team.

Visceral's acclaimed Dead Space 1 and 2 helped revitalize classic survival horror during an era when Resident Evil began chasing more action-styled gameplay. Dead Space itself succumbed to the trend, sadly, with the franchise's poorly received third-instalment, which also contained early experiments in gameplay-modifying microtransactions in "AAA" premium games. Visceral also produced the tragically underrated slash 'em up Dante's Inferno, which featured some of the medium's most grotesquely awesome depictions of Hell.

Visceral lost many of its core staff over the years, with ex-GM Steve Papoutsis leaving back in 2015 after the Battlefield Hardline spin-off shooter failed to meet expectations.

Visceral's Star Wars project, touted as a linear action adventure game was originally slated for fiscal year 2019. It will now arrive at a later date, headed up by EA Vancouver and other EA teams. Söderlund says that EA will find placements for "as many as possible" Visceral staff within other teams.

Our industry is evolving faster and more dramatically than ever before. 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. So is the way games are made. In this fast-moving space, we are always focused on creating experiences that our players want to play…and today, that means we're making a significant change with one of our upcoming titles.Our Visceral studio has been developing an action-adventure title set in the Star Wars universe. In its current form, it 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.

It sounds as though Visceral's Star Wars game might have struggled in today's gaming landscape, which seems increasingly driven by service-based titles and more open-world style adventure games rather than the "linear" action described above.

It might seem to signal a deathblow for Dead Space, which many fans (myself included) hoped might be revived after Visceral was done with EA's Star Wars ambitious. There's a chance EA might revive Dead Space under another studio one day, but from the above commentary, it sounds unlikely EA would be interested in producing something that can't cater to a broader audience. Who knows.

Either way, I think I'll be dusting off Dead Space this weekend in honor of Visceral. You can grab it on Xbox One backwards compatibility and on Steam PC for around $20,

Jez Corden is a Senior Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

19 Comments
  • Reminds me of Danger Close.
  • Now Mass effect and Dead Space gone
  • Such a sad day.
  • Dead Space 3: flop.  Army of Two Devil's Cartel: flop.  BF Hardline: flop.  Good Riddance.  Someone else can do Dead Space (10 years from now probably).
  • It was a flop cuz EA had them put co-op and microtransactions into it, it's not like Visceral wanted it to be dumb, EA just forced them to chase a wider audience by turning it into Dead Space of War.
  • Micro transactions are going to ruin many AAA franchises... all because of greed ... what sad state of affairs. I miss the days when game developers made games to be enjoyed and replayed time and time again. Now the emphasis is on profits not gameplay.
  • They were obligated to do Hardline with strict guidelines. They had trouble switching to Frosbyte for the last Army of Two. Dead Space sold well, just not enough to provide shareholder confidence for a more expensive sequel. It was also handicaped by being only on Origin on PC and by all the crap early on with microtransactions, again pushed by EA. Same with the more action route. Also late last-gen game, when people wanted the new consoles already.
  • And personally, I'd be happy with a future gen Dead Space 4 by 2023 or even 2027, but you never know.
  • Ahh bummer I love that game😢. I hope dead space will make a comeback
  • Loved Dead Space. Picked it up for around £5 on disc. Amazing and had me jumping. Played it through, around 4 or 5 times. Just great.
  • I'm sad
  • Sounds to me like they're going to screw up the Star Wars game. A linear story based Star Wars game is exactly what I was hoping to get. Multiplayer sucks.
  • I played the first 2 Dead Space games. May have been the only person to enjoy the 2nd's multiplayer. Thought it was different and cool to play as the monsters. They were very tense games. I understand why EA did what it did. After all, I'm part of the problem...I spend enormous amounts of time on Gears, but usually only come back to single player games for nostalgia.
  • 3 why not?
  • No reason really. I had the chance to, but just never got myself to. I may do that EA access thing and finally finish the trilogy one day.
  • Sounds a good idea, go to play Dead Space too.
    Like I said many times: The more new games arrive the more I like the old ones
  • There goes my dream of seeing Dante's Inferno being brought to back compat. Loved that game's art direction..
  • Bleugh looks like EA will continue their streak of destroying classic AAA franchises.