EA is shutting down Visceral Games, the studio best known for the Dead Space series and that one Battlefield spin-off Battlefield Hardline.

As you might know, Visceral Games has been working on a new Star Wars game. According to the official statement released by EA, it seems it is that game that sealed the studio’s fate.

To put it simply – EA didn’t like the direction the game was going. It was shaping up to be a “story-based, linear adventure game”, which apparently is a bad thing. EA has decided to shift the game towards a “broader experience that allows for more variety and player agency.”

“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,” EA wrote. “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.”

So linear storytelling out, greater depth and breadth in. What does that mean exactly, we’re not sure. It could mean a more open world, or maybe a bigger focus on multiplayer; it’s hard to tell at the moment. I’m guessing EA wants a game it can expand with paid DLC and new content, and a linear experience doesn’t exactly encourage players to keep coming back.

With Visceral Games closing down, development responsibilities shift to a larger team from across EA Worldwide Studios. EA Vancouver will take point, since it has already involved in the game’s development. Members of Visceral will be transferred to other EA teams.

Right now, it isn’t clear what role Amy Henning will play in this new version of the game, if any. Henning joined Visceral Games in 2014 to become the creative director of of the Star Wars game. According to Kotaku, EA is now “in discussions with Amy about her next move.”

All this mess also means that the new Star Wars game will miss its fiscal year 2019 release window. EA are “looking at a new timeframe” that will be announced in the future.

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