The launch of a game usually comes with a feeling of excitement or, at the very least, relief. Everyone on the development team puts years of their lives into the creation of a game, which includes beta testing, live demos, hearing feedback from fans, and criticisms from the press. After going through all that, the game finally releases, and things calm down a bit. But only for a relatively brief amount of time, because then comes the process of working on patches, updates, and DLC.
Visceral Games went (and is still going) through this with Battlefield Hardline, which just launched last month (here’s our review). The game saw a decent amount of success from its beta and first week of launch, and its first big patch is on the way. However, despite that, something is changing over at Visceral, and it’ll be interesting to see what happens in the future, as General Manager Steve Papoutsis has left the studio.
Reasons for Papoutsis’ departure from Visceral are currently unknown but, according to Kotaku, the situation has been described as a good thing for the studio. Scott Probst (son of former EA executive Larry Probst) will succeed Papoutsis, and while some may want to speculate on why Probst was chosen, it should be noted that he’s been with the company for quite a while – which goes a long way when picking a new GM.
An Electronic Arts rep (via Eurogamer) had the following to say about the matter:
“We are thankful for Steve’s many contributions to EA and wish him the best.
“The Visceral team continues to be focused on new game content for Battlefield Hardline including expansion packs, as well as new development projects.”
Papoutsis leaving Visceral so soon after Battlefield Hardline’s launch is certainly peculiar, and after EA closed down SimCity developer Maxis Emeryville last month, fans of the Dead Space studio could be worried. Speaking of the horror franchise, it wasn’t too long ago that the former GM said it was something he’d “love to look at again.” It’s possible that EA is more concerned with other franchises like Mass Effect 4 and Star Wars: Battlefront, and has put a “Dead Space 4” on the bench. Dead Space 3 wasn’t exactly a smash hit release.
We’ll have to wait and see what comes from the management shift, while also hoping a series of layoffs isn’t in Visceral’s future. Battlefield Hardline isn’t a bad game, but it may not have been what Battlefield fans were looking for, or perhaps it just came out at the wrong time – the police aren’t everyone’s favorite group at the moment.