Bye bye Visceral Games

Makes sense. But then, if they could have made the same game for significantly less somewhere else, that’s kind of a problem.

Even the Vancouver studio is shockingly costly per head. At least by moving the project north, they’ll get the currency benefit.

Yeah, but a cardboard box sitting on a railroad track in Vancouver is going to be prohibitively expensive. Kind of comes with the territory.

You’ve also gotta be able to recruit and hang onto talent, in fairness.

I could build you a cheap-as-fuck games studio in Maurepas, Louisiana (pretty quick, too; I’m sure there’s at least one place advertising dirt cheap Quick Steel Structures Now!" on local TV there), but ain’t nobody with a degree in programming gonna wanna live in fucking Maurepas, Louisiana.

I know you know this, and I know that there is obviously some middle ground between “Financial District in San Fran” and “Steaming shithole of a town in a steaming shithole of a state,” but yeah. . . capable, educated folks wanna live in places that don’t blow, and get paid enough to live there.

Well, you just gotta work a little harder selling them on the cuisine and the ambience and the low cost of living and the unusually high cancer rates. Oh wait, maybe not that last one.

“We ain’t got gentrification, but we got BBQ!”

The “cuisine” of Maurepas primarily consists of a divey seafood bar that my meth-addicted cousin is currently a cook at, so, really, you’ve got your work cut out for you on that score.

Aw hell man, the best stuff in LA is in the mom and pop shops. And meth on the side? That’s just bonus.

Hey check it out, EA is already in Baton Rouge! At least they were three years ago -

I wonder how the general demand for skilled programmers are affecting the gaming industry as a whole - I know more than few former game devs who moved into the standard dev space to quadruple their annual earnings w/o worrying about layoffs.

I love EARS, but I always wondered how much that place must cost to run. Especially when you contrast it to someone like Activision, which is literally headquartered in a small office building tucked next to the Santa Monica Airport.

The lobby for Activision headquarters is hilariously tiny compared to the cavernous lobbies of EARS with their giant projection screens playing EA trailers 24/7. Seriously, you can’t stand 3 of 4 abreast in ATVI’s lobby.

Yeah it is quite a striking difference isnt it? :)

Game studios have to move to cheaper areas.

Jesus Christus, that’s brutal. Not just yanked away, but totally canceled and studio killed.

Now here’s what bugs me about this story - apparently DS2 cost a ton, didn’t make much back, yet they still went ahead with DS3. Not that I’m complaining necessarily, I’m in the minority that enjoyed that game. But would that ME Andromeda had received that kind of investment.

I suspect that EA was hoping they’d make up some of the difference with Dead Space 3’s in-game purchases. They didn’t, so that was that.

With Mass Effect, they’d already integrated the multiplayer/game as service model in ME3 and was quite successful. Andromeda sold so poorly that there was no way to make enough multiplayer revenue of its playerbase.

Sounds like the main reason the project wasn’t because it was single player:

Jason Schreier said the game was in trouble for months before this move, so I’m pretty sure EA was going to chop up Visceral no matter what they were making.

EA’s own statement says they’re “pivoting” on the game’s design. It may not be a 100% multiplayer game, but I’d be very surprised if it didn’t go deep into the Games as Service model.

In its current form, it was shaping up to be a story-based, linear adventure game. 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. 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.

Somewhat related…

EA Vancouver, a large studio that mostly handles support for a variety of the publisher’s games including FIFA and Battlefront , had been working on this open-world Star Wars game since October 2017, when EA closed Visceral Games. Until then, Visceral—best known for its popular Dead Space horror series—was developing its own Star Wars game. That project, code-named Ragtag, was a linear action-adventure game directed by Uncharted director Amy Hennig. EA Vancouver had been assisting on the project, and when EA closed Visceral Games on October 17, 2017, the Vancouver studio took it over.

I wonder how much money the Star Wars licence has cost EA to date? Battlefield 1 sold well, but the sequel missed sales targets by a big margin (not sure how it’s done since), and now that’s two other AAA SW games cancelled after multiple years in development with nothing to show. Certainly doesn’t seem like the pot of gold they or Disney were presumably hoping for.

At this rate, maybe THQ Nordic could soon pick it up at a bargain price and push a TIE Fighter sequel into development!