Here we go again. The list of game studios closed by major game publisher Electronic Arts is disturbingly long as evident in this Kotaku article. Today, we sadly have to add yet another studio to the list and it’s a big one. Kotaku is now reporting that Visceral Games, the studio behind the sci-fi horror video game franchise Dead Space, will be shut down.
Dead Space was a franchise that took inspiration from movies like Alien, John Carpenter’s The Thing, and Event Horizon. Look around this site and you’ll Dead Space mentioned on numerous occasions. That’s because the first two games in the series rank up in my top ten horror games of all time. While it was popular with the people who played it and was a monetary success for a horror franchise, it was never the mainstream moneymaker EA wanted it to be.
With the third installment in the franchise, Dead Space wandered too far into the action genre and lost a lot of what drew people into the franchise to begin with. EA even went so far as to state that the game would need to sell five million copies just to break even and once the game sold below expectations, we stopped getting Dead Space games.
From that point, the writing was on the walls. Visceral would go on to make Battlefield: Hardline, another game that sold below expectations and divided its fan base. Visceral was working on a single player, narrative-based Star Wars game before the news of the studio’s death dropped today. Not a lot of news had come out about the game since its initial announcement and it seems the reason why was a troubled development and shifts in market trends.
Essentially, EA wants to keep pushing their multiplayer, games as a service strategy and this game didn’t fit so well into the niche. Hopefully everyone at Visceral lands on their feet or better yet we see a new indie studio free from corporate intrigue rise out of the ashes. Even if we never get another Dead Space game, maybe the people at that studio can return to form or put their creative energy into whatever project their heart’s desire.
Click here for Kotaku’s article.
The following video is from Youtube critic, Jim Sterling, and it pretty accurately describes how I feel right now.