Following EA’s closure of Visceral Games, more details about the studio’s past performances have started to emerge, and it’s beginning to sound like the writing was on the wall for Visceral’s shutdown.
Zach Wilson, a former level designer at Visceral, recently tweeted that the developer’s third-person sci-fi horror sequel Dead Space 2 failed commercially, at least from EA’s viewpoint, despite selling 4 million copies.
That’s because, according to Wilson, not only did the game cost $60 million to make, but the marketing budget matched the production budget. Add to that the percentages that retailers and console-makers took from the game’s overall revenue, and EA was left with a game that didn’t meet its profit-margin expectations.
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
Of course, despite EA’s commercial disappointment, Dead Space 2 went on to get a sequel in Dead Space 3, which also ended up falling short of EA’s sales expectations. Add to that Battlefield Hardline falling short of previous Battlefield game sales, and it looks like EA’s confidence in Visceral providing a best-seller had been waning for years.
EA announced yesterday that the publisher was shutting down Visceral Games and “shifting as many of the team as possible to other projects and teams at EA,” according to EA executive vice president Patrick Söderlund.
Adding insult to injury, EA revealed that the Star Wars game that was in production at Visceral and creatively directed by Uncharted director Amy Hennig was going to see major overhauls, moving away from a linear adventure to a “broader experience” that will aim to better fit “fundamental shifts in the marketplace.” In other words, it’s probably going from being a great single-player experience to another Star Wars game beset by microtransactions and loot boxes.