Back in October this year, Electronic Arts announced it was shutting down Dead Space developer Visceral Games. Visceral Games was working on EA’s Star Wars project headed by Amy Hennig. However, major changes saw the game move to a different studio and Hennig no longer working on the project.
November revealed EA’s Star Wars game plan was changed due to internal testing of the game and an economic decision. Games are constantly changing and the Star Wars title’s original linear story style may not have worked. Surely fans have mixed feelings about this decision as many felt excited about a single player Star Wars game.
The announcement came via a blog post on EA’s website by Executive Vice President of EA Patrick Söderlund. In the blog post, Söderlund explains a development team from EA Worldwide Studios will take over the development. EA Vancouver lead the team and was already working on the project since 2013. While Visceral Games is closing, EA is working on moving as many employees as possible over to other projects and teams in EA. Another change the studio closure has caused is a change in the expected release date which was late in the fiscal year 2019. The Star Wars title’s new release timeframe is not announced yet. Further, Söderlund said
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.
Kotaku also obtained an email to employees from Söderlund speaking about the Star Wars project nicknamed Ragtag. The email indicated Steve Anthony, an Executive Producer based at EA Vancouver would lead the team.
A development team from across Worldwide Studios will take over development of Ragtag, led by the EA Vancouver team that has already been working on the project. Steve Anthony will lead this team, and we will use much of the work that has been done to date by Visceral — the assets of Ragtag that have already been built will be the foundation of this new game.
What project will EA’s Star Wars creative director Amy Hennig work on after Visceral Games?
Amy Hennig worked as Creative Director for Naughty Dog’s Uncharted series. Hennig also worked for Crystal Dynamics on The Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver before moving to Visceral Games in 2014. Hennig worked with EA back in the 90’s and seemed excited to work on a Star Wars project. When Hennig joined Visceral Games, the studio had a plan to make Star Wars games for the next 10 years.
While Hennig may no longer be on EA’s Star Wars game, it is still in development at EA’s Vancouver studio. EA Vancouver had been collaborating with Visceral Games on the Star Wars project as far back as 2013. Now, EA Vancouver will take over and revamp the game while keeping the original base. Fortunately, for us gamers that leaves the talented Amy Hennig up for grabs for another cool project. According to Kotaku, an email indicated Hennig and EA were in talks about her next project. In regards to Hennig, Visceral Games VP Steve Papoutsis said
“As both a colleague and friend, I’ve always admired her approach to creative development – focusing on nailing down the soul of a game first, and then making sure the writing, the gameplay, the design and the art comes together to form a unified, interactive experience for the player”