Despite a rocky launch, for all intents and purposes, Battlefield Hardline has been a success. While it has reportedly not been able to maintain the same online player count as its predecessor, Battlefield 4, it has still sold well, as it was the best-selling game of March.
Overcoming a lukewarm critical reception, Battlefield Hardline managed to beat out the highly anticipated PS4 exclusive Bloodborne in that month, to the surprise of many. Since Bloodborne managed to sell over 1 million units at least, that means that Battlefield Hardline also sold quite well, but even so EA has made the decision to layoff an undetermined number of people at Visceral Games.
EA has described the situation as “a small staffing change”, but readers should consider that a PR-centric way to say “layoffs”. EA says they are working to help the transition of the employees that they have decided to layoff from Visceral, but didn’t clarify what this means exactly. They did ensure that leadership at Visceral will remain unchanged, with Scott Probst remaining the studio’s General Manager.
In the meantime, Visceral Games will continue to support Battlefield Hardline with DLC, as well as offer content for Premium subscribers. The first major DLC pack for the game was just recently announced, called the Criminal Activity pack. Though it has no release date yet, the Criminal Activity pack will add four new maps to the Hardline multiplayer experience, all with a greater focus on destructibility.
Their other main development priority is an unannounced Star Wars project. EA shocked the industry when it was announced that they would have exclusive licensing rights to develop games based on Disney’s newly acquired Star Wars license, with the first major project being DICE’s (the other Battlefield studio) upcoming Star Wars: Battlefront.
No information has been given about Visceral’s Star Wars project beyond that Amy Hennig, a former writer for Naughty Dog that worked on the original Uncharted trilogy, is involved with the project. Many have speculated that due to the development history of both Hennig and Visceral Games that their Star Wars title will be a third-person action game, perhaps in the spirit of the cancelled Star Wars 1313.
As for the far future of the studio, nothing is certain, but one would assume that EA is planning on continuing the Dead Space series, a franchise that Visceral created and really put them on the map. With these layoffs and Visceral having their hands full supporting Hardline and making a new Star Wars game, perhaps the game will be developed by a different studio. At least we know Visceral hasn’t forgotten Dead Space, including a number of Easter Eggs related to it in Hardline.
Battlefield Hardline is currently available for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.