“In its current form, [Visceral’s project] was shaping in to be a story-based, linear adventure game,” said EA Executive Vice President Patrick Söderlun in the announcement. “Throughout the development process, we have been testing the game concept with players, listening to feedback about what and how they want to play, and closely tracking fundamental shifts in the marketplace. 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.”
Söderlund went on in the statement to reveal EA’s intentions to transition the game into a “broader” experience that focuses on player choice. Previously, the game had been compared to Uncharted, a largely linear, mission-based series. Fittingly, its development was led by Amy Hennig, who had previously worked on the first three Uncharted games.
The game will live on and is being developed by a team that includes EA Vancouver and the publisher plans to move many of Visceral’s employees to other roles within the company — but it’s unclear if Hennig will still be leading the game. She previously left Naughty Dog in the middle of Uncharted 4‘s development, at which point the game was rebooted and Neil Druckmann took over as creative director.
While initially slated for a release in early 2019, the game is now “looking at a new timeframe,” and will likely suffer a delay.
Motive Studios, an EA studio currently working on Battlefront II, was also assisting on Visceral’s project. It would appear that Motive will take a more active role in its development at this point. The studio recently merged with BioWare Montreal following the release of Mass Effect: Andromeda.
This isn’t the first time Visceral has suffered a closure. In 2013, its Montreal studio was shuttered after the release of Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel.