EA CFO Blake Jorgensen has shed more light on Visceral Games' recent closure, explaining the studio had been shrinking over the past five or six years, and that its now cancelled Star Wars title was too linear for modern tastes.
Speaking at the Credit Suisse 21st Annual Technology, Media, & Telecom Conference (as reported by GamesIndustry.biz), Jorgensen claimed EA wanted to push gameplay "to the next level," but that Visceral's project displayed dated, linear sensibilities.
"[Visceral] was down to about 80 people, which is sub-scale in our business. And the game they were making was actually being supported by a team in Vancouver and a team in Montreal because of that sub-scale nature," commented Jorgensen.
"We were trying to build a game that really pushed gameplay to the next level, and as we kept reviewing the game, it continued to look like a style of gaming, a much more linear game, that people don't like as much today as they did five years ago or 10 years ago."
It's interesting to hear EA suggest the game was too linear, when over three years ago it made a point of bringing in Amy Hennig to take charge of the project as creative director. Hennig, of course, previously oversaw the development of the action-packed (and decidedly linear) Uncharted franchise during her time at Naughty Dog.
Although EA didn't have any interest in letting Visceral take its project further, the publisher says it isn't tossing everything overboard and will see what it can do with "parts of the game." Ultimately, Jorgensen says the shuttering was purely a business decision -- and one that was probably made a little too late.
"We haven't had to do this very often," continued Jorgensen. "We try to do it as early as possible in game design, and we probably let this go a little further. But I'm a believer in sunk costs. You've got to cut the bridge when you realize you can't really make a lot of money on something, so that's the decision we made."