Interesting things are happening in the gaming industry. Yesterday, EA announced that they shut down Visceral Games, the studio behind titles like Dead Space series, Dante’s Inferno and Battlefield Hardline. Speculations circulate around and people try to understand what was the main reasoning behind this decision. However, no matter what people say, It is obviously clear that the main ‘reason’ was money.
As a former Visceral Games designer stated on his Twitter page, Dead Space 2 was not as successful as it should have been. The numbers are crazy. Four million copies of the game was sold so far. However, EA probably decided that it was not enough to cover the expenses or something like that. Here is the tweet which can explain the situation better:
cause you gotta spend 60 million dollars marketing it and you take a huge hit from MS and retailers taking their cut
— Zach Wilson (@covernode) October 17, 2017
It is an understandable statement, that’s for sure. But it is also striking to hear that four millions of copies is ‘not enough’. If a title is not good enough to make profit, companies will decide to shut things down for sure. But the biggest question is not this. The main problem here is the next part of the story actually.
A New Star Wars Game?
“Our Visceral studio has been developing an action-adventure title set in the Star Wars universe. In its current form, it was shaping up to be a story-based, linear adventure game.“ says Patrick Söderlund on a blog page. This is some good news right? A game which takes place in the Star Wars universe is a good reason to get excited. But what is said on that page afterwards is a little bit… sad.
“A development team from across EA Worldwide Studios will take over development of this game, led by a team from EA Vancouver that has already been working on the project.” and he continues, “Our Visceral studio will be ramping down and closing, and we’re in the midst of shifting as many of the team as possible to other projects and teams at EA.” What is interesting in this statement is that a game which was originally being developed by Visceral Games is going to become a project of another studio, thus, of other people. This will change big things.
This is a big step, that is obvious. And it is clear that the decision is based on an economical reasoning. Which is understandable and can be accepted as normal these days. The main problem, however, is that a company like EA decides to move towards a different destination where more money can be made in favor of many other important things.
There is But One Truth
Even though this is a normal move for a company, for fans and gamers it can have a different effect. This is something we can know better when the right time comes and the game in question is released. In any case, it is sad to hear that a studio like Visceral Games is no more. I can only hope that everything will get better even if I can’t say that I have hope.
The new Star Wars game is a mystery for now, “Lastly, while we had originally expected this game to launch late in our fiscal year 2019, we’re now looking at a new timeframe that we will announce in the future.” And that means that we will have to wait before we can be sure about the next move of EA regarding this new title.
No matter what, there is only one truth: weird things are happening in the gaming industry. The potential was discovered years ago and since then companies got bigger and greedier. This is a consequence of a natural process. But in a situation where games offer loot-boxes with random outcome instead of a stable and trustworthy content makes me worry. I really hope that it will get better than this in the future. Otherwise, this industry will become a huge monster. As for this big decision of EA, I have a feeling that if we had a chance to know what they were thinking, it would only confirm my thoughts. But who am I to know, right?