Despite being one of the upcoming Star Wars games we've heard the least about, Visceral Games' story-focused action-adventure game was one of the most anticipated. One of the reasons for this was that Amy Hennig, one of the creators of the Uncharted series, was writing the game's story. Notice that we refer to it in past tense? There's a reason for that.
Electronic Arts has announced that they've decided to shut down the well-known studio. The main reason for this is that they've decided to change the game's core concept, as they want to focus more on the increasingly popular "games as a service" trend. To quote EA's Patrick Söderlund directly:
"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".
The team at Visceral wasn't built with these kinds of concepts in mind, so we've heard that EA Vancouver and a few other studios took over the game's development a few months ago. This change is obviously a significant one and the new developers pretty much had to start from scratch, which has lead to the game being delayed from fiscal year 2019 to an unknown later date. Steve Anthony (the producer of Battlefield: Hardline, Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel, and a bunch of other EA games through the years) will now be the lead on the project.
Fortunately, many of the people at Visceral won't lose their jobs, as they're moved over to other EA projects and developer studios. It sounds like Amy Hennig will also move on, as sources close to the studio told us that there are a few other projects in the pipeline that have caught her interest. Hopefully, this means that we'll still get to see what the talented writer and developer can do with the Star Wars universe.