Visceral’s Star Wars Project Endured A Troubled Development – New Details Emerge
EA recently announced the closing of Visceral Games, the studio best known for the Dead Space series. Upon hearing the news, fans were upset because that meant Visceral’s Star Wars project was likely not going to see the light of day. When it was revealed that the expansive single-player title was going to be repurposed into yet another multiplayer adventure, things only got worse. Now that the dust is beginning to settle from the elimination of Visceral Games, more info regarding the shutdown is emerging.
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.”
The statement above was provided by EA about Visceral’s Star Wars project, codenamed “Ragtag”. With Uncharted‘s Amy Henning at the helm, Ragtag was meant to be a story-driven, single-player adventure focusing on a band of rogues set between Episode IV and V. When the announcement was made about Visceral’s closing, EA stated that it was due to them wanting the game to follow the current trends of online multiplayer and money-making microtransactions, but the studio was sticking to their linear story. However, a recent report by Kotaku has dug a bit deeper into the situation, revealing that a troubled development may have been the leading cause of the studio’s dismantling.
Speaking to a handful of unnamed former Visceral employees that worked on Ragtag, Jason Schreier uncovered the conditions that ultimately led to the current situation. Instead of it solely being EA wanting the studio to hop on the online multiplayer bandwagon, it turns out that the development of Visceral’s Star Wars project has been troubled for quite some time. “Ragtag was a project sunk by many factors, including a lack of resources, a vision that was too ambitious for its budget, a difficult game engine, a director who clashed with staff, a studio located in one of the most expensive cities in the world, a reputation for toxicity, multiple conflicts between Visceral and EA, and what can only be described as the curse of Star Wars,” Jason states.
One employee even mentioned that due to EA seemingly abandoning the single-player model, “It felt like we were always under the threat of closure. It was a really unhealthy place.” When posed with the bounty of questions that Schreier’s interviews led to, EA’s executive vice president Patrick Söderlund had the following blanket statement to offer:
Making games is hard. That’s not new, but it bears saying again because if anything, it’s getting more complex. But that’s what gets us up in the morning, we love it. We have amazingly talented people making games, and very powerful tools… but expectations are going up at an even faster rate. We see it when we talk to players. We see it in our own games, in the feedback people give us, and how they play. We see it from what other games people love…and which ones they don’t. There are a ton of factors.
This truly isn’t about the death of single-player games—I love single-player, by the way—or story and character-driven games. Storytelling has always been part of who we are, and single-player games will of course continue. This also isn’t about needing a game that monetizes in a certain way. Those are both important topics, but that’s not what this is. At the end of the day, this was a creative decision. Our job is to give people a deep enough experience and story, and it’s also to push the boundaries forward. We just didn’t think we were getting it quite right.”
With the likes of The Witcher series and Horizon Zero Dawn being released into the wild and becoming incredibly popular, single-player action certainly isn’t going away any time soon. Unfortunately, it doesn’t mean that some developers won’t put it on the back burner to focus more on microtransactions, DLC, and story-less online multiplayer.
If you’d like to check out the full report, that can be found right here. Keep it tuned to Don’t Feed the Gamers as this story develops, and for other gaming news, check out the following:
- New Xbox One S Bundle Coming Soon Includes Call Of Duty: WWII
- Latest Dying Light Update Pays Tribute To George A. Romero (VIDEO)
- Decades Old Wolfenstein Debate Settled – B.J. Blazkowicz Is Jewish
What say you, gamers? Do you believe the single-player, story-driven model is a dying genre, or is it that some developers would rather make money through microtransactions? Will you forever wonder what Visceral’s Star Wars project could have been? Sound off in the comments section below, and be sure to follow DFTG on Twitter for live gaming and entertainment news 24/7!
Eric Garrett2219 Posts
Eric is an editor and writer for Don't Feed the Gamers. When he is not staring at a computer screen filled with text, he is usually staring at a computer screen filled with controllable animations. Today's youth call this gaming. He also likes to shoot things. With a camera, of course.