Last month, EA surprised many by announcing that it would be closing Visceral Games. The shuttering of the studio also meant that Visceral's Star Wars game, which had been described as a story-focused adventure game, would be changing its scope too.
EA has now shed more light on why it decided to move the in-development Star Wars game from Visceral Games to EA Vancouver and Motive and why the game had to change its vision. Speaking during the Credit Suisse 21st Annual Technology, Media & Telecom Conference, EA's chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen said, "As we kept reviewing the game, it continued to look like a much more linear game [which] people don't like as much today as they did five years ago or 10 years ago."
The EA executive also described Visceral Games as a "sub-scale studio" that only had 80 people, which is why EA enlisted EA Vancouver and Motive to work on the game. Jorgensen said that the Star Wars game "really pushed gameplay to the next level," which is perhaps why the 80 developers could not do it alone. However, reports have suggested that mismanagement and the need to work with other developers also contributed to the game's rocky development.
During the conference, Jorgensen also explained that the decision to close Visceral Games was "an economic decision at the end of the day." EA didn't think that it would be able to sell the necessary amount of copies of the game and, according to Jorgensen, "You gotta cut the bridge when you realize you can't make a lot of money on something."
While some players may be glad to hear an official statement on the situation, Jorgensen's latest comments probably won't make most players feel better. Visceral's Star Wars game was said to be fun and funny and would be similar to Naughty Dog's iconic Uncharted franchise. Jorgensen's comments will likely do little to convince fans that the game will still appeal to them and deliver on their hopes and dreams.
Moreover, Jorgensen's speech will only exacerbate fears that story-focused games are dying off. EA has stated before that Visceral's game was not canceled because it was a single-player game but because many single-player story-focused games are linear, which doesn't instill fans with much hope.
The revamped Star Wars game will not be released for some time yet, though, meaning that EA still has time to get fans back on-board. The company may not have done a great job of that so far, but that could change ahead of the game's release.